Ava Worthington’s Parents Found *Not* Guilty of Manslaughter

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Ava Worthington had died just months after her first birthday… because her parents “didn’t believe in doctors” and they thought a god would heal her.

They prayed, fasted, put their hands on her, and anointed her with oil… which to me sounds like they knew something was wrong but actively chose to deny her real help.

In another case with similar details, the mother was found guilty of second-degree reckless homicide.

What happened to the Worthingtons?

The father, Carl Brent Worthington, was found guilty of “criminal mistreatment” but not guilty of manslaughter.

The mother, Raylene Worthington, was found not guilty on both charges.

So neither parent was convicted of manslaughter.

The presiding juror’s explanation doesn’t help:

“Granted, they didn’t take her (Ava) to the hospital, but it was truly because they thought she was getting better,” [presiding juror Ashlee] Santos said. “That was the best epiphany moment.”

“It might be that a reasonable person might wait until Monday to take their kid to the doctor,” she said. “It came down to being the perfect storm of events that ended in where we are now, with her death.”

“They’re good parents who tried everything they knew in their heart. … They thought what they did was working,” she said.

Why didn’t the Worthingtons call 9-1-1 or attempt to revive her?

“Maybe it didn’t cross their mind, because that’s their life,” Santos said.

“We all know they (the Worthingtons) didn’t do it on purpose, that they had no intention of harming their child,” Santos said.

Under Oregon law, manslaughter is not defined as an intentional killing but as accidental death that the defendant has a legal responsibility to prevent.

No one’s doubting they didn’t do it on purpose. But their reckless actions killed their daughter. They had the ability to stop that and they chose not to.

If this case becomes precedent, more children will die because of the delusions of religious parents who don’t “trust” science.

If you are looking for any upside to this case, it may be that the Worthingtons were “legally prohibited from offering a religious defense.” Their lawyers successfully showed that the parents thought Ava was getting better and that’s why they didn’t take her to the hospital.

I’m sure Ava is thrilled about that.

The Good Atheist adds:

I wouldn’t have cared if either of these two morons had died of medical complication themselves. After all, I do still agree that individuals should be free to do what they want with their own bodies. What I strongly disagree with is the idea that their beliefs should carry over to others. Their responsibility was towards the welfare of their child, one that they were unable to perform because of their idiotic religious convictions.

It seems religiously-inspired negligence runs in the family, too:

The church and prosecutors will meet again in court early next year.

Raylene Worthington’s parents, Jeff and Marci Beagley, go on trial in January. They are charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of their 16-year-old, Neil Beagley, who died last June of an untreated urinary tract blockage.

Reader Bobby offers this thought via email:

… I hate to needlessly pile on to these people and the tragedies their family is going through (due to their own negligence, but sad nonetheless). But with two children dead in your family within months, isn’t it about time to start asking your god some tough questions? At the very least, “what have you done for me lately?”

(Thanks to Bobby and Ryan for the link!)

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