An Oregon City couple who tried to heal their dying daughter with prayer walked hand-in-hand into a crowded Clackamas County courtroom Monday and pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and criminal mistreatment.
Carl Brent Worthington, 28, and Raylene Marie Worthington, 25, are the first parents prosecuted since Oregon cracked down on faith-healing deaths nine years ago, according to legislators and legal experts. If convicted, they could spend more than six years in prison.
National advocates for religious freedom and child welfare have been following the Worthington case, and reporters shadowed the defendants from the moment they arrived Monday at the Clackamas County courthouse, flanked by attorneys.
Their 15-month-old daughter, Ava Worthington, died at home March 2 from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection. Both conditions could have been treated with antibiotics, according to Dr. Christopher Young, a deputy state medical examiner. Her breathing was further compromised by a benign, four-inch cyst on her neck that had never been medically addressed, Young said.
Six years is not enough. And, what's more, freaks like this should probably be sterilized so they don't bring any more children into this world to be tortured and abused by their backward, stupid beliefs.