Parents Charged For Praying For Dying Son Instead Of Taking Him To Hospital

Two parents in Minnesota could face jail time after they allegedly tried to
save their dying son with prayers instead of taking him to a hospital.
Authorities charged Timothy and Sarah Johnson last week with child
neglect over the March 2015 death of their adopted son Seth. The 7-year-
old came down with pancreatitis and acute sepsis, but the parents opted
to treat him themselves because they had “issues going to doctors” and
were concerned about the medications they would prescribe, according to
news station KMSP.
Based on their own research, the couple instead diagnosed Seth with post-
traumatic disorder, a brain injury and fetal alcohol syndrome.
“The parents admitted to police that his behavior had changed, that he
wasn’t sleeping, was throwing himself down stairs and was taking hours to
eat Yet, they refused to do what most parents would have done and take
him to a doctor,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a
In March, Seth was left in the care of his 16-year-old brother at their
Plymouth, Minnesota home, while his parents headed out of town for a
When they were away for the weekend, their older son called to say that
Seth would not talk or eat. The Johnsons claim they planned to leave to
attend to their son, but then received another call that he had managed to
eat some cheerios.
Upon returning that evening, they found Seth laying on the floor. However,
they did not immediately seek medical attention and decided to pray for
his recovery, according to authorities.
The couple told authorities they planned to wait until morning to make a
decision about contacting doctors, but the next day they found Seth
unresponsive and covered in vomit.
Timothy then performed CPR on his son, while Sarah contacted 911.
Paramedics arrived to the scene, where they pronounced him dead.
An autopsy has not been completed, but the 7-year-old was found to have
bruising all over his body and two large lesions on his back.
“We cannot comprehend how a parent would leave a very sick seven-
year-old to the care of a 16-year-old so they can go away for a weekend,”
Freeman said in statement. “Nor can we comprehend how the parents
refused to come home Sunday morning to care for their sick child when
they were notified of his serious condition. Nor can we comprehend why
the parents did not call an ambulance Sunday night to immediately obtain
medical help when they finally got home.”
The couple has been charged with neglect of a child resulting in
substantial physical harm, which is a misdemeanor.
“The Johnsons, of course, are presumed innocent. But we are going to
use all of our resources to prove them guilty of neglect of a child resulting
in substantial physical harm and ask for the strongest penalty allowed
under the statute and sentencing guidelines,” Freeman said.
Soon after Seth’s death, a YouCaring page was created to raise money for
funeral costs. The page has since been deleted.
“This fund was created to help ease the financial burdens associated
with the funeral costs and leave from work so that Tim and Sarah can
focus on getting their family through this difficult time,” the page said.
The NY Post


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