Religious leader facing charges

WBIR News, Aug. 6, 2002

Authorities have arrested Ariel Ben Sherman of the New Life Tabernacle and he now faces charges of endangering the life of a 15-year-old girl.

Back in June the 15-year-old girl’s mother, Jacqueline Crank, was charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect for not seeking medical attention for her daughter, who has a tumor the size of a basketball on her shoulder.

According to police documents, 71-year-old Ariel Ben Sherman brought the girl to a Lenoir City chiropractic clinic in February.

Doctors there told Sherman the girl’s condition was serious and needed immediate attention. Sherman later called back and said he was taking the girl to a doctor in Boston and not the local emergency room.

Police say that did not happen.

One month later, Crank took her daughter to a second clinic where staff again urged emergency treatment. Police say the recommendations were again ignored.

These latest charges against Sherman are not the first he’s faced.

Sherman led the Good Shepard Tabernacle Commune in Oregon in the 1980’s. He was charged with five counts of child abuse.

Social workers testified children at the commune were bound with ropes and suspended from the ceiling for hours on end. They were also forced to squat in an empty pool and sprayed with cold water if they soiled themselves.

Sherman fled Oregon during this investigation but was caught three years later in Indiana.

Sherman and Crank were served with an eviction notice because they’re were more people living at the house than were on the lease. The group was to move out by next week, but it appears the eviction is on hold.

The next step for Sherman is a preliminary court hearing August 28th.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday August 29, 2002.
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