An Albany couple has been charged with manslaughter in the death of their 12-year-old daughter.
Travis Rossiter, 39, and Wenona Rossiter, 37, were charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter.
Police responded to a call on Feb. 5 that the couple’s daughter Syble had died.
“They belonged to a belief system called the Church of the First Born,” said Capt. Eric Carter of the Albany Police Department. “I’ll let you do your own research.”
The police note that they have had detectives investigating for several months and determined that the parents withheld medical care for their daughter for a treatable condition that was not specified.
It’s not stated in this piece but the obituary notes that Syble had two siblings.
Their church, Church of the First Born, is a fundamentalist Christian sect that believes in the power of healing prayer rather than medicine. This is appalling. There was a case in 1996 of a child that died from leukemia when the father, a member of the church refused treatment.
Oregon has been a focus of faith healing deaths. Another church, Followers of Christ, in Oregon City is another faith-healing church in the spotlight for unnecessary deaths of children when medical treatment was withheld.
From the NY Times (2011):
The church first came under criticism in 1998 after the local news media reported that of the 78 children buried in the church’s graveyard, at least 21 could have survived if they had received medical attention.
At the time, Clackamas County prosecutors said they were prevented from intervening by Oregon laws that gave legal protection to parents who refused because of their faith to seek medical care for their children.
The next year, the state Legislature repealed this exemption.
But the parents may avoid jail time if they plead guilty to a lesser offense. Am I the only one who thinks something FAR more serious needs to be done? This is a pattern.