Oregon parents convicted for shunning doctors, death of son

by Correy Stephenson

The Daily Record Newswire

After praying over their ill son instead of seeking medical help, an Oregon couple was convicted recently of criminally negligent homicide.

Jeff and Marci Beagley, members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, had a 16-year-old son named Neil who died of complications from a urinary tract blockage in 2008.

Their church believes in faith healing and shuns conventional medicine.

In 1999, Oregon passed a law that removed faith healing as a defense in some criminal mistreatment and manslaughter cases.

The Beagleys were the second couple prosecuted under the law but were familiar with the first case, which was brought against their daughter Raylene, and her husband, Carl Brent Worthington.

The Worthingtons were charged with manslaughter after their 15-month-old daughter, Ava, died from pneumonia and a blood infection.

Carl Brent Worthington was convicted of misdemeanor criminal mistreatment but both were acquitted of manslaughter.

The Beagleys were present at the death of their granddaughter, and the prosecutor in their trial told jurors that the Beagleys therefore should have been cognizant of the need for medical help despite what were perceived to be mild symptoms.

The Beagleys told jurors that their son's symptoms were similar to a cold or the flu.

As first reported by the Washington Post in the article, "Oregon parents found guilty of neglecting ill son," church members in the courtroom gasped when Judge Steven Maurer read the guilty verdicts.

Sentencing is set for later in the month.

A Wisconsin couple was recently sentenced to prison after they failed to seek medical treatment for their daughter who died of complications from diabetes.

Published: Fri, Feb 19, 2010


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