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Parents Charged, Opted for Prayer Over Doctor

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Jeffrey and Marci Beagley prayed while their son died ... and are now facing criminal charges.

woman praying

A 16-year-old boy in Oregon died of bladder complications this summer. Officials say his death would have been easily preventable if he'd seen a doctor, but his parents allegedly wouldn't allow it. The family's church, Followers of Christ Church, relies on prayer instead of medical care. Yesterday, his parents turned themselves in and are now facing charges of criminally negligent homicide.

Shockingly, Neal Beagley, wasn't the only child in the family to die due to lack of medical care this year. His 15-month-old cousin Ava died in March of bacterial pneumonia. In that case, too, the medical examiner ruled that death could've been prevented with a simple medical procedure.

Do you think the parents are guilty?

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28 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous October 3, 2008, 7:59 PM

Yes. And the church should be brought up on charges as well.

Anonymous October 3, 2008, 10:13 PM

Religious people are nuts.

ame i. October 3, 2008, 10:52 PM

I love God and Jesus. They tell me to take my meds when needed.

trinaclaren October 5, 2008, 7:46 AM

This is so nuts! I mean God knows best for us and i know God must have told them to take their child to the doctor but ignored God’s advice. Secondly, they must be some kind of Paegans. Their religion must be part of being a paegan, you know, worship their made-up God from a fairytale world and do rituals.

Anonymous October 5, 2008, 3:06 PM


There are a few sects of Christianity that do not allow for medical or psychiatric advice, and an even higher (and more alarming) rate don’t allow their followers to get procedures like blood transfusions.

Far be it from me to criticize someone’s faith, but doesn’t that seem a tad, erm crazy?

Oh and fun fact: Hippocrates (Father of Medicine) = Pagan.

Becca October 6, 2008, 6:04 AM

This one is tough because to say they are guilty is to take away their religious rights! If you like their religious idea’s or not I can’t see telling them that because they believe in God their son died! While I feel they had made bad judgments and should have let him have medical care I don’t believe I have the right to tell someone what to do medically if their belief is against it!Unfortunately I can see them getting off because of religious freedom’s!
This is a weird movement hitting our country and our courts need to make big decisions on whether they prosecute death do to lack of medical care if it is from religious belief!If they are prosecuted then it would set a president for doctors being able to call CPS if you refuse care to your child do to religious idea’s!Personally I believe god gave us the ability to learn and create methods of treating sick people! Why would he give the ability to create a cure and not use it? I believe he wants us to use these medical advances! These people need to relies god didn’t kill their child, they did!God gave the medical possibilities that could have kept their child alive!

Gilly October 6, 2008, 7:37 AM

LOL - they must be Pagans? Sorry but Pagans know enough to seek medical treatment when needed. I get the thing about putting your faith in God, God will heal and all of that. But this makes me think of that joke where the man was stranded on the roof in a flood and prayed for God to save him so when first a boat and then a helicopter come to rescue him he turns them down saying “God will rescue me.” Well, he dies. Gets to heaven and says “GOD! Why didn’t you save me?” To which God replies “Hello?? I sent you a boat and a helicopter what more did you want???”
People have all kinds of gifts from God, the gift of music or art or … healing! There is never any reason to NOT go to the doctor. One could argue modern medicine is a gift from God and so are the gifted men and women in the medical community that dedicate their lives to caring for others. These parents should absolutely be charged in their child’s death. It’s shameful.

Dorothy October 6, 2008, 8:31 AM

They are absolutely guilty of neglect!!!

These people need to wake up and realize that they can mess with their own lives but not the lives of their children! This is another one of those crazy cult churches that think they have all the answers. They think God is going to save them… Come down from the Heavens and lay hands on these children to save them…Ya Right…When has anyone actually seen that happen in this day & age?
The cults in this world take peoples minds and screw them up more then they were to start with. The pastor of this church should also face charges if you ask me! He is the one who is making these people nuttier then they were before he met them!

Kelly October 6, 2008, 8:33 AM

similar case in Colorado ended in the conviction of the parents for not seeking treatment for their child. While I would not deny my children needed medical care, I really think that a persons religious beliefs should be respected. If we are to remain a free country, with the freedom of religion, then we should be able to practice that religion without fear of interference from the government. Perhaps our forefathers did not intend for religions like this to exist, but they did give us that right, and it would be wrong for our current government to take that away.

kassie October 6, 2008, 12:09 PM

I won’t take my daughter to the doctor for small things that can be taken care of with diet and herbs, but when/if it gets to the point where she could die, shes at the doctor.

Vicki October 6, 2008, 2:30 PM

I believe in pray, but I also believe that God, in his wisdom, made some people smart enough to be doctors. Thank you, God, for good doctors.

Rikki October 6, 2008, 5:03 PM

To Anonymous #2 poster-
Religious people are not nuts. It is sad that you make that generalization. There are a select few who disregard the medical community believing that God will heal all things.
I am religious and I believe that God gave doctors the wisdom and knowledge they have in order to help myself and my family. Next time, try not to make such a broad generalization.

connorsmama October 7, 2008, 3:27 AM

they absolutely should be prosecuted. i would never put my religious beliefs over the health and safety of my child and to think this had already happened in their family is just ridiculous.

Anna October 7, 2008, 9:38 PM

I dont particularly agree with their point of veiw, as a Christian, I believe that God gives us means in order to do his will. God doesn’t always perform in miraculous ways.

As for where the law is concerned I don’t think these parents should be jailed, because they thought they were doing the right thing. They will also continue thinking that they made the right desition even when they are incarcerated and released. The best move would be to take away their parenting rights. This way the children are safe and we give them full liberty to follow their religious practices.

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