Religious Vegan Parents Convicted in Starvation Death of Son

Religious Vegan Parents Convicted in Starvation Death of Son October 22, 2018
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Nearly five years after religious parents starved their toddler to death, a jury found Jennifer and Jeromie Clark guilty of criminal negligence causing death. The jury in Calgary, Canada also convicted the parents with failing to provide the necessities of life-related to the child’s death. At the time of death, the child suffered from a rash, gangrene, hypothermia, and a staph infection. Jennifer and Jeromie Clark, Seventh Day Adventists, had never taken the child to see a doctor. They only brought 14-month-old John to the hospital the day before he died. The parents starved the child to death with a strict vegan diet.

According to multiple reports, in November 2013, Jennifer and Jeromie Clark brought their son, John, to a local hospital. Doctors that treated John testified he had blisters on 70% of his body, gangrene on four toes, hypothermia, and a staph infection.

During the trial, a pediatric doctor specializing in infectious disease, Dr. Tajdin Jadavji, told the jury the 14-month old boy didn’t crawl or pull himself up. John had numerous developmental delays, but the parents never took him to see a doctor.

After the boy arrived at the hospital, the staff transferred him to Alberta’s Children’s Hospital. When John came to the hospital, Doctors that met him described him as “at death’s door.”

In court, prosecutors revealed that the couple took steps to conceal John’s condition from friends and family. When John’s condition declined, the parents completed internet searches for treating gangrene at home.

When John did not improve, the parents sought medical help from the hospital. However, by the time he arrived, the child was in grave condition. At the trial, a paramedic that transported John said he looked like he was burned from head to toe.

Within 21 hours of his arrival at the hospital, John died from his illness. An autopsy confirmed he died from a staph infection related to malnutrition. The autopsy also confirmed the boy was only in the 1% for height and weight for his age. According to doctors, he weighed 20 pounds at the time of his death.

The defense attempted to argue that John died from sodium toxicity as a result of the care he received in the hospital. They also suggested the equipment used at the hospital contributed to the infection of the boy.

Doctors that treated John said that by the time he arrived little could be done to save his life. They told jurors they gave the child sodium because his sodium levels were dangerously low. Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim, a medical examiner said toxicology did not contribute to his death.

The medical examiner confirmed in her testimony that the boy had a severe rash that covered 70% of his body. She said much of the tissue was in a state of necrosis or dying of the skin.

Through the investigation into the death of John, authorities learned the Clarks followed a strict vegan diet. The couple said they followed the diet due to their religion. They told authorities they were part of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Multiple reports indicate the diet they followed was part of an extreme interpretation of the religion.

Jeromie and Jennifer admitted that John was delivered at home in 2012. After his birth, the parents never took John to see a doctor for pediatric care. The only time the parents brought the child to see a doctor was the day before he died.

John developed a rash due to his malnutrition. Doctors said had the parents taken to a doctor sooner, John could have been treated for the skin infection. They also said he could have received treatment to improve his nutrition.

Ultimately, the Clarks failure to provide adequate nutrition and medical care for John resulted in his premature death doctors told the court. After a three week trial, the jury took only 6 hours to convict the parents on both charges.

Jennifer and Jeromie will face sentencing for the conviction in February 2019. According to the criminal code in Canada, the couple could be sentenced to life in prison.

The conviction of the Clarks is another example of religious parents taking their beliefs to an extreme. By following an extreme interpretation of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Clarks starved their son with a nutrient-poor vegan diet. Additionally, their religious beliefs caused them not to seek out any medical help for the child.

Jennifer and Jeromie were released on their own recognizance. They will learn their fate in February.

Stay tuned.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tawreos

    That poor kid, he never had a chance in life because his parents thought that god could overcome reality. The truly sad part is that they will, most likely, never understand that what they did was wrong and will claim all of the justly deserved punishment is all just persecuting them for their beliefs.

  • Yep, I agree.

  • Rann

    Sad thing is, the Seventh Day Adventists actually built and run hospitals in Canada! The local hospital was run by SDA and gave excellent service. I had a broken arm and head concussion treated by them in the ’60s and even let a few visitors in outside of the posted hours (very unusual back then). My only complaint was, after a week of set menus, I finally got to choose my lunch….. an open face chicken sandwich. With all the gravy slathered on it, I have no clue if it was actually chicken or bread!

  • Jennifer Vapes

    That poor child. Anyone sticking up for these two is just as sick. That child suffered pure hell. You have to be one sick individual to not feel sympathy for that poor child. He never had a chance. In his short time here he lived in a hell with these two monsters.

  • Laurie Forbes

    That will certainly be the case if they are similar to another recent case here in Alberta of a couple who refused to obtain proper medical care for their deathly ill child (they treated him with smoothies containing garlic, horse radish, hot pepper and onion for severe meningitis). The father in particular displayed nothing but smug arrogance and a complete lack of remorse for what they had done.

    The article BTW also explains the difference between “necessities” and “necessaries”.

  • Kevin K

    In the US, too. The closest “hospital” to me is run by the SDAs. It’s awful. Almost killed my mother … twice. But on the way to the all-vegan “cafeteria”, there are wonderfully illustrated displays of bible stories, including the Flood! Win-win!!

  • I re-posted this on my blog because I think it deserves as wide of play as possible, Katie. Hope you don’t mind. Gave you credit, added a video.

  • Rann

    Not here….. but I think that has to do with the fact they are getting paid by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. (That’s the formal name for the province of Ontario’s single pay health insurance). They have to tone it down a bit. That, and they were in an area known for a high concentration of Jewish Canadians as well.

  • not just god , ideological centred diet of any kind is not good for us

  • CJP

    I am an evangelical born-again Christian. I am horrified by what these people did to this child in the name of God. I read about another case many years ago, where a Christian couple withheld insulin from their T1 diabetic boy because they were “believing” for God to heal their son. He died. “God” is no excuse to withhold help and medicine. I think these brain-dead people should be sterilized.

  • Contractions of Fate

    They could get life for this? Maybe Canada needs to send a message to the world…

  • Laurie Dee

    I understand that the parents needed to take their child to the doctor and get vaccinations and checkups, but a vegan diet can be perfectly healthy with a few added supplements. I don’t know what a “strict vegan diet” consists of for this family, but they were doing it wrong. We don’t need animal products to survive.

  • ReligionIsPoison

    Despicable. Throw the book at these brainwashed imbeciles.
    Religion is poison.

  • HumboldtRick

    Lock up the brain-dead morons for life. It should be against the law for religidiots (religious idiots) to force their false mythologies on children—even their own. religion should be a personal decision, not an indoctrination from birth.

  • Kasia Bartel

    They were crazy for not going to the doctor when something wrong was happening. They probably fed this kid a diet that was not well balanced. Taking care of another being is no picnic. You need to do your research and base your actions on proof and science. It goes to all. Vegan, vegetarian and omnivore diets. Feeding your kid meat and dairy is super irresponsible as well.
    I find putting it all on a ‘vegan’ diet very misleading and basically puts on vegans an image of crazy people that do not believe in doctors and in general are super hipsters.
    Well balanced whole foods plant-based diet is proven to be suitable for all ages and to be the healthiest diet there is. There is plenty of kids being fed vegan since they are born and they are super healthy. It is a bit like saying that the kid died because the parents feed the kid very strict omnivore diet not mentioning what exactly was in this diet.
    Same when there was a big article about the girl that diet on her way to Mount Everest saying ‘VEGAN girl died … (blah, blah)’ indicating that a vegan diet will get you killed. Not mentioning that guy on the omnivore diet that died the day before and vegan couple that managed to climb Mount Everest with great score a week ago.
    I mean, really. I know people want to believe that meat and dairy are needed in our diets as they just simply like it and can’t say no, so they need an excuse to continue the slaughter of millions of animals for a sandwich. But please, be a bit smarter rather than just manipulating people into thinking what you want to believe.
    If that was not your goal and you know that a vegan diet can be healthy, I am very sorry, and maybe consider adding this to the article as it is very misleading and unprofessional.

  • Matej Smolić

    Its not vegan diet. The problem was unknowledge and some beliefs. Vegan diet is good if you learn about diet. Religion is good if you know about it. They are just crazy people. They need help. Not prison for life.

  • Just because to many fanatics have religion does not make religion bad. there are tons of studies and examples that a people of faith do better in all aspects of life and death.

  • They need help and prison both but not for life

  • April Davidson Hollingsworth

    Why would god need doctors, medicine, or science? Why couldn’t he have helped the poor boy?

  • MystiqueLady

    I wonder what their stance on abortion is.

  • ReligionIsPoison

    Hogwash. In death? Really? Prove it.

  • Agreed we demand proof.