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Faith Healing : Amanda Bates - Pair get probation for death

Pair get probation for death

Daughter died in agony because couple thought prayer would bring cure

Denver Rocky Mountain News, Nov. 9, 2001
http://www.insidedenver.com/ Off-site Link

faith healing, amanda bates, general assembly church of the first born, religion news report provides news of interest to those who work in Christian apologetics and countercult ministries.  It includes information about religious cults, sects, new religious movements, and related issues, such as religious freedom, religious tolerance, and cult crimes.

GRAND JUNCTION -- In a courtroom packed with members of their church, a couple whose daughter died because they relied on prayer instead of medical help were sentenced Thursday to 20 years' probation.

Colleen and Randy Bates, members of the General Assembly and Church of the First Born, escaped jail time in large part because of the need to care for their 12 children, District Judge Amanda Bailey said.

Bailey also ordered a strict schedule of home visits by county nurses who are to monitor the health of the children, a first-aid course for the parents and 1,300 hours of community service for each parent.

Amanda Bates, 13, died Feb. 5 of complications from diabetes. Her last days were horrifying, a forensic pathologist testified Thursday.

Dr. Rob Kurtzman, Mesa County's coroner, said Amanda suffered from visible sores, high fever and gangrene. She was in excruciating pain, he said, and medical treatment would have saved her life.

Instead, Amanda spent her final days lying on a living room couch, wearing diapers because walking to the bathroom was too painful.

Mesa County District Attorney Frank Daniels had sought 90 days of jail time for each of the Bateses, but he ultimately agreed to the unusually long probation term and medical safeguards for the children.

Daniels said he has grown weary of child deaths connected to members of the Church of the First Born.

"Their church believes in faith healing, to call for the elders if anyone is sick," Daniels said. "We've lost three children from this small church in the last three years. In each case, 911 wasn't called until the child was dead."

Neither Randy nor Colleen Bates made any statement during sentencing, despite being given a chance to do so. They had pleaded guilty to criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death, a Class 3 felony that carries a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison.

Bailey noted that the Bateses had entered an "Alford plea," which acknowledges that they might be convicted, but does not admit to any act. For sentencing, however, it's equivalent to a guilty plea.

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