Father at center of faith-healing case released from jail this morning

The Oregonian/September 22, 2009

Oregon City - Carl Brent Worthington, the man who failed to provide medical care to his dying child, will walk out of the Clackamas County Jail this morning a free man.

Worthington was sentenced to two months but is getting out six days early since he did not have disciplinary issues while in county jail. Inmates may earn three days of "good time" for each month served.

Worthington was sentenced July 31 and was originally scheduled to be released Sept. 28. He is expected to get out at 9 a.m., said Clackamas County sheriff’s Detective Jim Strovink.

Judge Steven L. Maurer also sentenced Worthington to five years' probation. Worthington, who treated his dying 15-month-old daughter with faith healing rather than taking her to a doctor, was convicted of second-degree criminal mistreatment.

In the long history of child deaths associated with the Followers of Christ church in Oregon City, Worthington is the first church member to be convicted for shunning medicine in favor of faith healing.

Ava Worthington died in March 2008 while church members gathered around her for prayer, "laying on of hands," anointing her in oil and administering small amounts of wine.

She had a softball-sized cyst on her neck that may have interfered with her breathing and swallowing, then contracted a blood infection and pneumonia.

Worthington, 29, an Oregon City painting contractor, was convicted on the misdemeanor criminal mistreatment charge but acquitted of the more serious charge of second-degree manslaughter.

His wife and co-defendant, Raylene Worthington, was acquitted of all charges.

In January, Raylene Worthington's parents, Jeff and Marci Beagley, are scheduled to go on trial. They are charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of their 16-year-old son, Neil Beagley, who died in June 2008 of an untreated urinary tract blockage. A state medical examiner said a simple surgical procedure could have saved his life.

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