Alayna May Wyland’s Parents Convicted of Felony Criminal Mistreatment

Due to her only-god-will-save-you parents, this is what happened to 8-month-old Alayna May Wyland:

Timothy and Rebecca Wyland’s daughter Alayna, born in December 2009, developed an abnormal growth of blood vessels that covered her left eye and threatened her vision.

The Wylands belong to the Followers of Christ, an Oregon City congregation that relies on faith healing. Rather than taking their daughter to a doctor, they relied on prayer, anointing with oil and laying on of hands.

There’s finally some justice, though.

After only an hour of deliberation, an Oregon court convicted Alayna’s parents this week of felony criminal mistreatment:

Sentencing was set for June 24.

The penalty for first-degree criminal mistreatment is a maximum five years in prison but the Wylands are considered likely to receive probation or possibly some jail time.

… lead prosecutor Christine Landers told jurors in her closing argument that the defense was just a smokescreen.

The couple had 6 ½ months to seek medical attention before the state intervened but they did not, Landers said. Because of their faith, “they never would have,” she said.

When you’re suffering, you’re welcome to pray for yourself. When your kids are suffering, you better damn well take them to a qualified medical professional.

(Thanks to J B for the link)

  • Bones

    What the…..

  • Steve

    If a couple physically abused their child they’d be put away for some time, but because they did it out of religious conviction they’ll get away with a slap on the wrist.

  • SkeptiMommy

    THIS is one of the main reasons I find religions to be dangerous. When your sect is telling you to deny yourself or your children medical care because “God will take care of it”, you need to leave.

  • Michelle

    Until they start holding those peddling this nonsense accountable it will not change. We should be able to draw a line between responsible religious practice and abuse of power that leads to abuse of members.

  • Kat

    What will happen to Alayna? Is she being treated and taken care of now?

  • http://agoldstardad@wordpress.com Fozzy

    I’ll bet they take their pets to the vet and their automobiles to the shop.. any takers?

  • DEE VAN HORN

    a room mate in college had psoriasis over his entire body, but both he and his family prohibited any treatment. he took showers, but that only exacerbated the situation. the other three of us held him down (we let him keep on his underwear to everyone’s relief) and we slathered him with body lotion. he was very happy for a couple of days. we continued doing this at least once a week.

  • http://www.ooblick.com/weblog/ arensb

    @Fozzy:

    I’ll bet they take their pets to the vet and their automobiles to the shop

    In one of Terry Pratchett’s novels, a very important person falls ill, so the main character calls for a vet rather than a doctor. The reasoning being that when you take granny to the doctor and she dies, well, it was the will of the gods. But when you take your cow to the vet and she dies, the vet gets an earful of “Now how am I going to sell enough milk to pay the mortgage? You didn’t try hard enough, you bastard!” So vets tend to be better.
    Granted, the vet started by asking whether the Patrician had been eating his bedding, and asked to look at his teeth, but the patient did pull through.

  • Stephanie

    And what of Alayna? Has social services stepped in? Where is the victim in all this?

  • Justin Miyundees

    As fish don’t know they’re wet, assholes don’t know they’re assholes.

    How cruel, how utterly cruel. What’s that old quote? People may be bad and people may be good but to be truly evil, you need religion.

    But they don’t see it and the chances of them seeing themselves for what they are are slim to none. It is how we deal with cognitive dissonance. The thought process is “I’m such a good person that I’m incapable of being evil, so this cannot be evil.”

    But you tell me – what else is this?

  • http://n/a Dustin Finney

    The baby’s back home, but she’s being checked up on by the state and has been undergoing medical treatment. It’s not known if she will regain sight in the left eye.

  • http://gratefultobeofthisworld.blogspot.com Dea

    Thank goodness for the court decision but it is so sad that this child had to wait so long for medical treatment. Where is “the milk of human kindness” in this thinking? How could they watch their child suffer for months and do nothing but pray? I was once religious, but I NEVER, EVER would have let my child suffer for it.

  • Annie

    I wonder why the courts gave the parents 6 1/2 months to seek medical help in the first place?

    When my daughter was 9 months old, she was diagnosed with a rare cancer and given a 15% chance of survival. I can’t tell you how many otherwise seemingly intelligent people suggested I take her to a foreign country, give her homeopathic “treatment”, etc. When it’s a child, there should be zero tolerance for noncompliance to medical treatment, and huge penalties for not seeking medical treatment in the first place.

  • Erp

    @Annie, I suspect part of it was the state finding out the child was ill and needed treatment she wasn’t going to get. This is a community of people who don’t go to doctors (and have the cemetery to show for it) so who was going to report them? Someone eventually did and after that intervention was fairly quick.

  • cat

    @Annie, while this case is cut and dry, not every situation is such. Zero tolerance policies are not a good idea, because they group clear cases like the one here with things like me being seventeen and refusing to take a medication that had bad side effects and was not working (my mother let me make my own decision and I was already living away from home on my own half of the year). A parent refusing to vaccinate is not the same as a parent refusing to allow mutilation of their intersex infants genitals. Zero tolerance policies ignore very real differences in situations that are ethically important.

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    @Michelle,

    “Until they start holding those peddling this nonsense accountable it will not change.”

    I agree, but I have a feeling that most secularists on the left would only apply this type of thinking to Christianity. Other religions would get a free pass from them due to fear of being labeled as intolerant bigots.

  • Annie

    @ Erp and Cat- I agree… and failed to make my thoughts clear. My apologies. I was referring to once there is an obvious medical condition that needs care, especially one that has a scientifically proven form of treatment available. It doesn’t matter what happens in this case, that little girl loses all around. She will now receive care, but at this stage, will it be enough? She will possibly lose her parents, which may be the “right” thing, but will surely be traumatic, and she may later return to their home and possibly face a situation like this in the future. It breaks my heart.

  • gwen

    The “6 and a half months” they refer to, is the time BEFORE the problem came to their attention. As soon as social services were aware of the problem with the eye, the treatment was started under a court order.

  • J

    And they call us sinners.

  • J

    i think the parents didnt want the child and were hoping god would take it. Abortion wasnt an option so they felt they got lucky. I think these people might be even more messed up than you already think. If they truly believed their BS and saw no results from prayer for that long and still kept it up we should neuter both of the bastards.

  • Litesp33d

    Unfortunately there are at least 3 victims here. The child and the 2 parents. Until the state starts chasing preachers who promote this BS for negligence in the same way medial malpractice suits are, there will be no end to this. The weak and credulous should not be called assholes. They are just as much victims of their own upbringing as will the child be, as she gets older. This is how the foulness that is religion perpetuates.

  • http://www.ericwichman.com Eric Wichman

    I feel terrible compassion for this child. Having a daughter that’s only 1 year old, I could never fathom not taking her to the doctor when she needed medical treatment.

    It’s incomprehensible to me how these parents could do this and it angers me greatly. However, I also feel a slight bit of empathy for the parents, maybe pity is a better word. Their naivety and ignorance cultivated their belief which is the root cause of this negligence. The foolishness and danger of this I hope is not lost on them.