Oregon is preparing to try yet another child death case related to the Followers of Christ in Oregon City, a group of faith healers with a long record of dead children. The group was part of the focus of a recent column on the prosecution of parents for faith-based neglect. Jeff and Marci Beagley are mentioned in the column and are now challenging the criminal neglect statute as vague and raising free exercise of religion claims to block their prosecution for the death of Neil Beagley, 15.
What makes this case a bit different is that the state gives children over age 15 the right to independently seek and receive medical treatment. However, a juvenile is not allowed to refuse medical treatment under state law.
Neil Beagley had never been to a doctor and therefore was never made aware that he had a serious condition. Yet, the original condition was easily treated. He ultimately died of heart failure caused by a urinary tract blockage.
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