Skeptic News: Faith healer parents avoid jail

From: Daily Mail

Two parents have avoided jail after admitting they let their son, 16, die in horrible agony because they chose to ‘pray away’ his burst appendix and refused to take him to the hospital.

Russel and Brandi Bellew, age 39 and 36, of Creswell, Oregon, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide on Tuesday and were sentenced to five years probation after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

The couple, who had seven children before Austin Sprout’s death, are members of the General Assembly and the Church of the First Born in nearby Pleasant Hill, which shuns modern medicine and teaches parishioners that faith healing and prayer will cure disease.

It was also revealed on Tuesday that Austin died in December from a burst appendix after he suffered from appendicitis for a week, the Eugene Register Guard reported.

Appendicitis, the inflammation of the appendix, often results in excruciating abdominal pain that requires heavy doses of morphine to keep under control. However, it can be easily treated with routine surgery that removes the appendix.

Social workers have removed the other six children, who range in age from infant to 17, from the Bellews home it is unclear whether they will be returned to their parents, though a case worker said she believes they are ‘safe’ in the home.

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