- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 29, 2008

Oregon prosecutors review death, law

OREGON CITY, Ore. — Prosecutors are reviewing the death of a 15-month-old girl who a medical examiner says could have been saved if she had been treated with antibiotics.

If prosecuted, the child’s parents would be the first members of Oregon City’s Followers of Christ group to face charges for failing to seek medical treatment for a gravely ill child.

“We are reviewing the case, and our investigation is progressing,” said Greg Horner, Clackamas County chief deputy district attorney. He did not release the parents’ names.

Dr. Christopher Young, a deputy state medical examiner, said the baby, Ava Worthington, died March 2 at home from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and infection.

He said both conditions could have been prevented or treated with antibiotics. The child’s breathing was further compromised by a benign cyst that had never been medically addressed and could have been removed from her neck, the doctor said.

The Followers of Christ Church came to Oregon early in the 20th century. According to church tradition, when members become ill, fellow worshippers pray and anoint them with oil. Former members say those who seek modern medical remedies are ostracized.

Prosecutors could charge the baby’s parents under a law enacted in 1999 after several faith-healing deaths of children.

The statute eliminated Oregon’s “spiritual-healing defense” in cases of second-degree manslaughter, first- and second-degree criminal mistreatment and nonpayment of child support.

The Legislature passed the bill after months of debate over religious freedom, parental rights and the state’s responsibility to protect children.

Disgraced governor talks of values

NEW LONDON, Conn. — Former Gov. John G. Rowland, in an Easter morning speech, told a church audience of the virtues of faith, family and friends.

Mr. Rowland, who served 10 months in federal prison on a corruption conviction, spoke on Sunday at Connecticut College services hosted by the Calvary Chapel of Southeastern Connecticut of Montville.

The ex-governor addressed what he called his “fall into grace” after resigning in 2004. Mr. Rowland, who was elected governor three times, said he was humiliated and disgraced.

“It’s a work in progress for me each and every day,” he said. “I thought at age 50 it was too late, but no.”

He said he is so excited about the second half of his life that he “can’t see straight.”

Mr. Rowland is economic development coordinator for the city of Waterbury.

School’s tuition free to all

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Zion Lutheran Church in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls is offering to let families send their children to the church’s school for free regardless if they are members of the congregation.

Pastor Tim Lamkin said the congregation wants to do something to stimulate enthusiasm and excitement for enrollment. Church members voted overwhelmingly to support the idea.

Mr. Lamkin said the school, which teaches 4-year-old kindergarten through eighth grade, has 47 students — down from about 130 in the early 1990s.

Mark Bahr is principal of Lake Country Lutheran High School in Oconomowoc and vice chairman of the Association of Lutheran Secondary Schools. He said many parochial schools offer free or reduced tuition to members of their churches, but few if any have ever offered free tuition to nonmembers.

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