A couple of religious fundamentalists were found guilty of criminal negligence for letting their 14-month-old son die by failing to get him proper medical treatment.
Jennifer and Jeromie Clark, who were arrested for failing to take their son John to the hospital until he was actually near death, were convicted by a jury in Calgary. They were found guilty of “found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessaries of life,” according to the Toronto Star.
The Crown argued that John was on the verge of death when he arrived in hospital on Nov. 28, 2013, and that his parents played with his life by not seeking treatment sooner.
Jurors were shown pictures of John after he died. He had blackened toes and a red rash that covered almost three-quarters of his body.
The forensic pathologist’s report said John was malnourished and died from a staph infection.
The trial heard that John died the day after he was brought to hospital, where he had a seizure and two cardiac arrests.
Despite all the evidence against them, the Clarks actually tried to argue that it was the doctors who were to blame for his death.
The Clarks’ lawyers argued doctors at the Alberta Children’s Hospital were to blame because they raised the boy’s sodium and fluid levels too aggressively. They also argued he was neither malnourished nor septic.
[Crown prosecutor Shane] Parker said it is a tragedy that doctors at the Alberta Children’s Hospital were blamed for his death.
“They’re the heroes in this file and to portray them as the villains really was quite unfair for their efforts to try and save that 14-month-old baby,” Parker said.
The evidence in this case is pretty clear, but in case you’re still wondering about the details, it is strikingly similar to a case involving David Stephan. Stephan is the anti-vaxxer father who let his son die of meningitis after treating him with maple syrup and garlic instead of giving him the available vaccine.
In fact, Stephan promised to provide fair and balanced “reporting” in the Clarks’ trial in part because he saw the similarities and thought the family was receiving unfair treatment by the court and media.
While Stephan was following his anti-vaxxer views when he killed his child, it appears the Clarks were following their religion. When Jennifer Clark first appeared in court, she refused to remove a “religious head covering” that she said was part of her Seventh-day Adventist faith.
At the time of the couple’s arrest, police said the family followed a strict vegan diet based on an extreme interpretation of the Seventh-day Adventist religion.
This is exactly why extremist dogmas of any kind should be avoided. They don’t contain all the answers, and people can get hurt if not killed. For the sake of John, I’m glad his parents were convicted, and I look forward to the sentencing phase of this important trial.
(Screenshot via CTV News)