photo: iStockPhoto The parents of an 18-month-old girl are set to go on trial soon, charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment. If convicted, they could face a maximum of five years in prison.
They are not being tried over what they did, but rather what they did not do: take their daughter to a doctor.
Tim and Rebecca Wyland belong to the Followers of Christ Church, a religious sect whose members refuse modern medicine and instead rely on prayer and faith healing. Their daughter, Alayna, had a large benign tumor over her left eye that went untreated until last summer, when she was placed in temporary state custody and began receiving medical treatment. Called a hemangioma, the tumor could have caused Alayna to become blind in the affected eye.
This is of course not the first time that parents have gone on trial for child abuse or neglect for refusing their children medical attention. Though freedom of religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the practice of that religion does not give followers license to break the law - especially when the result is injury or death to a child.