'Faith-Healing' Pastor Won't Face Trial Over Granddaughter's Death

Apr 20, 2017 by Will Maule

A judge on Wednesday ruled that there is no chance a faith-healing pastor will be charged in the death of his 2-year-old granddaughter, reports U.S. News. Rev. Rowland Foster, 72, serves as pastor of Faith Tabernacle Congregation, part of a fundamentalist Christian sect that instructs members to reject conventional medicine in exchange for prayer. 

Prosecutors argue he should have reported the girl's condition to authorities because state law requires ministers to report suspected abuse. She was suffering from pneumonia. But defense attorney Chris Ferro said after the hearing that "there's just a lack of evidence all the way around." "This is a grieving grandfather, not a criminal," he said.

However, Prosecutor Jonathan Kurland told District Judge Andrea Book that the Fosters "failed to provide adequate medical care for Ella Foster when it would have been apparent to a reasonable person that she needed that medical care." "And she died as a result," he said.

The girl's parents called elder Foster to their home whilst their daughter was dying, asking him to anoint her head with oil. The girl subsequently died. A funeral home alerted police, who found her body fully dressed, partly covered with a blanket. Dr. Neil Hoffman, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, said the death was easily preventable. 

"The treatment could have been started within an hour or so of death and still had a high likelihood of being effective and saving the child," Hoffman testified.

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