Skip to comments.Judge allows photos of girl in Oregon City faith healing trial: Updated
Posted on 06/15/2009 3:53:29 PM PDT by jazusamo
Oregon City couple charged in their daughters death wants the case thrown out
An Oregon City couple on trial for the death of their 15-month-old daughter unsuccessfully tried to have their case tossed out of Clackamas County Circuit Court during a pre-trial hearing Monday morning, claiming similar cases involving other children had not been prosecuted.
Carl and Raylene Worthington, parents of Ava Worthington, who died March 2, 2008, of bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection, also asked the court to bar photographs investigators took on the night of the childs death and during an autopsy the following day.
The medical examiners office said the childs illnesses combined with a cyst on her neck could have been treated by antibiotics. But because the family believed in faith healing, no one sought medical help.
The Worthingtons face second-degree manslaughter and criminal mistreatment charges in their childs death.
They are members of Oregon Citys Followers of Christ church who believe in faith healing. The case brings into question the point at which a parents responsibility to protect his or her child trumps a persons right to religious freedom.
A trial on the charges is scheduled to begin on June 23.
On Monday, Worthington defense attorneys John Neigid and Mark Cogan presented six other instances in Clackamas County in which children died from apparent negligence and their parents were not charged. The attorneys also argued that the Worthingtons were being treated differently because of their religious beliefs.
If any of these (six other deaths) had been Followers of Christ members they wouldve been descended upon by hordes of investigators, Neigid said. But they were not Followers of Christ and consequently were treated a whole lot better.
Judge Steven Maurer denied the defenses motion, saying that the instances and related legal principles were vastly different in the Worthingtons case and so the cases couldnt be considered parallel.
The defense also argued that photos taken on the night of Avas death were highly prejudicial and that the first round of photographs wasnt taken until two hours after Avas death.
Our position is that even then would be too late because theres changes that take place between the time of death and when the photos were taken, Cogan said. Youll see certain signs of decomposition are evident.
But Maurer said that was something the attorneys would have to present to a jury the degree to which the photos were accurate depictions and not aspects to be wholly dismissed beforehand.
Though not presented as any kind of formal motion, the defense also made numerous references to Clackamas County sheriffs Capt. Bruce Pearson, who, according to witnesses, stumbled and slurred his speech at the scene. Cogan and Neigid said Pearson had admitted to being under the influence of a prescription drug and that he said he had no recollection of being at the scene the following day.
They argued that the scene changed after the time Pearson reportedly arrived, and say he may have contaminated the investigation.
According to the article — Though not presented as any kind of formal motion, the defense also made numerous references to Clackamas County sheriffs Capt. Bruce Pearson, who, according to witnesses, stumbled and slurred his speech at the scene. Cogan and Neigid said Pearson had admitted to being under the influence of a prescription drug and that he said he had no recollection of being at the scene the following day.
Well, ain’t that special, the Sheriff sent to the scene who can’t remember being there... LOL..
Yep, thought was was pretty strange and the first I’ve read about it, have read other articles earlier.
So what does that have to do with this case, or the fact that this child was allowed to die very horribly in my view, and why is any of it worth an “LOL”??
What’s funny here? I don’t get the joke.
Do you watch Letterman by chance??
Well, the funny thing to me is having a Sheriff sent out, obviously to investigate, and he can’t remember being there.... Now if that doesn’t strike you as funny, I guess nothing will...
As far as what it has to do with the case, I would say a lot — in that if a Sheriff can’t remember being there, I don’t know how he’s going to testify on some of those things that he was supposed to have seen... :-)
And watching Letterman... nah... never watch him....
Here's a comment from the article in The Oregonian and it makes an excellent point, IMO.
Why aren't they relying on their faith in God and prayer for their legal defense rather than use lawyers?
The defense does have a point.
If you don't take your child to a doctor because you don't think it is serious or because you don't want to spend the money on a doctor you will not be prosecuted. If you don't take your child to a doctor because you believe that prayer is the best way to help your child you will be prosecuted.
There’s a history with this church, they’re the reason the law was changed in OR and it’s been controversial. A number of people in this church have died for lack of treatment over the years and many have been infants and children.
I did have a folder with the history but lost it when my computer crashed last year and haven’t googled to get the info again.