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PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) Lawyers for two Oregon City parents charged in the faith-healing death of their young daughter will ask a judge next month to dismiss the case.
Lawyers for Raylene and Carl Worthington cite several reasons for requesting a dismissal, including the Oregon Constitution, which they claim protects the Worthington’s right to religious freedom.
The Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office may still file a response. Chief Deputy District Attorney Greg Horner declined to comment on the Worthington’s motion.
Medical examiners say the couple’s 15-month-old daughter, Ava Worthington, died last March of treatable pneumonia. Her parents never sought medical treatment because they belong to a church that relies on faith healing instead of doctors and hospitals.
In June, the little girl’s uncle, 16-year-old Neil Jeffrey Beagley, died of complications from a urinary-tract blockage. A deputy state medical examiner said the boy apparently suffered for years from the intensely painful but medically treatable condition.
The teen’s parents, Jeffrey Dean Beagley and Marci Rae Beagley (who are also the parents of Raylene Worthington), are facing charges of criminally negligent homicide.
A hearing on the Worthingtons’ motion is scheduled for Jan. 7.
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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