Faith healing trial in closing arguments

July 15, 2009 at 3:34 PM
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OREGON CITY, Ore., July 15 (UPI) -- Prosecutors say an Oregon girl's death last year was a case of irresponsible parenting, not one of following faith healing convictions.

Clackamas County Deputy District Attorney Steven Mygrant told jurors during closing arguments in the manslaughter trial of Carl and Raylene Worthington Tuesday that their 15-month-old daughter's death isn't excusable by the fact their fundamentalist Christian beliefs include faith healing, The (Portland) Oregonian reported.

The case, he said, is about a parent's "legal duty to take a kid to the doctor" and the standard to be applied is "what would a reasonable person do?"

The Worthingtons' attorney, Mark Cogan, however, responded by telling jury members, "This is a case of sadness, and this is a case of loss," but adding it wasn't a criminal case, the newspaper reported.

Prosecutors say Ava Worthington died of respiratory failure stemming from an untreated neck cyst, while defense attorneys contend she was killed by a fast-acting bacterial infection.

Analysts say an Oregon law that restricts legal protections for parents who withhold medical treatment for religious reasons is getting its first test with the Worthingtons' case.

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