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12/12/2014 11:30 pm  #1


Oregon - Church of the First Born

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'We live to die so we can go to heaven'
By Lauren Lee KVAL News │ Published: Feb 11, 2012

CRESWELL, Ore. -- On Friday, Lane County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested the parents of 16-year-old Austin Sprout who died in December. Deputies said Brandi and Russel Bellew didn't take Sprout to a doctor because of their faith. They face manslaughter charges. The arrests come after a seven-week investigation by the Lane County Sheriff's Office.

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"The investigation has determined that medical professionals believe that the illness he suffered was treatable if he had been provided medical care," said Capt. Byron Trapp from Lane County Sheriff's Office. "That is what the arrests are based on, is the withholding of medical care in this case that allowed Austin to die."

Authorities would not say what Sprout died of, but they said his medical condition was highly treatable. "They failed to seek appropriate medical care to resolve that, then that's contrary to state law," Trapp said. Last year, the Oregon legislature changed the law regarding faith healing. Now, faith-based healing can no longer be used as a defense against manslaughter charges.

KVAL spoke with Sprout's uncle, Shawn Sprout. The family is part of the General Assembly Church of the First Born in Pleasant Hill. Shawn said the church believes in prayer and healing.

"We trust in God for everything. We trusted him to take care of our illnesses and heal us," Shawn Sprout said. "They all loved him dearly, and obviously it wasn’t our wish to have him pass away obviously, but it wasn’t in our hands," he said. Shawn Sprout said Austin loved playing basketball and hunting, and he was very close with his family.
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Shawn Sprout said Austin's parents gave their son the option to seek medical care when he was sick, but that it was Austin's choice not to see a doctor. "It was his choice to trust in God. And obviously, if he wanted to call the hospital, it was up to him and we gave that option to him so it was his choice to trust in God," said Shawn Sprout. 

Sprout said he believes Austin passed away because it was God's will. 

"It's what we live for. We live to die so we can go to heaven." 

 

12/12/2014 11:57 pm  #2


Re: Oregon - Church of the First Born

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Faith healer parents avoid jail after son, 16, dies in horrible pain after they tried to 'pray away' his burst appendix
18 September 2012

Two parents have avoided jail after admitting they let their son, 16, die in horrible agony because they chose to 'pray away' his burst appendix and refused to take him to the hospital.Russel and Brandi Bellew, age 39 and 36, of Creswell, Oregon, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide on Tuesday and were sentenced to five years probation after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors. 

The couple, who had seven children before Austin Sprout's death, are members of the General Assembly and the Church of the First Born in nearby Pleasant Hill, which shuns modern medicine and teaches parishioners that faith healing and prayer will cure disease. 

It was also revealed on Tuesday that Austin died in December from a burst appendix after he suffered from appendicitis for a week, the Eugene Register Guard reported. Appendicitis, the inflammation of the appendix, often results in excruciating abdominal pain that requires heavy doses of morphine to keep under control. However, it can be easily treated with routine surgery that removes the appendix. Left untreated, the inflamed organ can burst and spew bile into the body, which results in dangerous infections that often prove deadly. 

The couple were charged with second-degree manslaughter after authorities learned the Austin's death could have been prevented if his parents had simple taken him to the hospital.  Austin's father, Anthony, died in 2007 of sepsis, after he refused to seek treatment for an infected injury to his leg. His mother, Brandi, later married Russel Bellew -- who was also widowed.      [NO SURPRISE THERE]

At the time of Austin's death, his uncle Shawn Sprout, defended the congregation's practice of faith healing. 'We trust in God for everything. We trusted him to take care of our illnesses and heal us,' he told KVAL. 

Social workers removed the other six children, who range in age from infant to 17, from the Bellews home. It is unclear whether they will be returned to their parents, though a case worker said she believes they are 'safe' in the home.

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