Oregon Couple Who Prayed Instead of Seeking Medical Attention For Child Get Probation


An Oregon couple, members of the General Assembly and Church of the First Born that eschews modern medicine, were sentenced to five years probation for the negligent death of their 16-year-old son, who died of an infection following a burst appendix.

As part of the sentence, Russel and Brandi Bellew of Creswell, Ore., were also ordered to contact a doctor when any of their other six children are sick for more than one day.

The Bellew's son became ill just before Christmas 2011, but instead of getting him medical attention, the couple chose to pray.

The couple's attorney said despite their beliefs, they are "committed to complying with the conditions of probation."

Lane County prosecutors said in August that they had met with members of the Bellews' church to discuss child neglect laws and said the congregants "seemed to be receptive."

According to the Eugene Register-Guard, the General Assembly and Church of the First Born has been linked to a number of deaths related to its spiritual healing practices.