Parents convicted in faith healing death

The parents of a 2-year-old Pennsylvania girl who died of pneumonia have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors said they declined to seek medical care for the child on religious grounds.

Jonathan Foster, 35, and Grace Foster, 34, also were convicted Friday in Berks County court of child endangerment in the November 2016 death of daughter Ella Grace in Upper Tulpehocken Township, The Reading Eagle reported.

The Fosters, who remain free pending sentencing in April, attributed their daughter’s death to “God’s will,” according to a police affidavit. They told authorities that Ella began showing symptoms of a common cold two days before she died, including lethargy and a sore throat, but her breathing eventually became labored, then rapid, and she died in her father’s arms.

The defendants belong to Faith Tabernacle Congregation, which instructs members to avoid doctors and pharmaceutical drugs. Medical personnel testified that the child likely would have survived had she been given treatment.

Defense attorneys declined comment but vowed to “pursue all appropriate avenues” possibly including appeals. They argued that their clients thought their daughter only had a cold. Attorney R. Davis Younts asked the jury to focus on the facts about what the parents knew, not the opinions of expert witnesses or any feelings about the Fosters’ religious beliefs.

Read the full story at the Fairmont Sentinel

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