Pas­tor won’t face trial in girl’s faith-heal­ing death

The Washington Times Daily - - NA­TION -

BERNVILLE | The leader of a Penn­syl­va­nia church that re­jects mod­ern medicine won’t stand trial af­ter a judge dis­missed a novel case that sought to hold the pas­tor re­spon­si­ble for fail­ing to re­port sus­pected abuse

when his own grand­daugh­ter died of pneu­mo­nia.

A dis­trict judge found in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to sup­port the felony charge against the Rev. Row­land Fos­ter in the Novem­ber death of 2-year-old Ella Fos­ter.

Mr. Fos­ter serves as pas­tor of Faith Taber­na­cle Con­gre­ga­tion, part of a fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­tian sect that in­structs mem­bers to es­chew treat­ment by physi­cians and the use of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drugs.

The church’s stance against mod­ern medicine has re­sulted in the deaths of dozens of chil­dren from pre­ventable or treat­able ill­nesses, most in Penn­syl­va­nia, ac­cord­ing to an ad­vo­cacy group that tracks faith-based med­i­cal ne­glect. Their mem­bers hoped the pros­e­cu­tion of the pas­tor might spur change in a church that has re­sisted it.

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