Pastor charged in connection with his granddaughter’s death

Pastor charged in connection with his granddaughter’s death

In what is thought to be the first prosecution of its kind, Pennsylvania pastor Rowland Foster, above left,  has been charged in connection with the death his own granddaughter who died from medical neglect.

According to this report, Foster is pastor for the fundamentalist Faith Tabernacle Congregation which insists that adherents place their trust in God alone for healing.

As a result, dozens of children, mostly in Pennsylvania, have died of preventable and treatable illnesses.

This prosecution is raising hopes among some advocates that it might effect changes in a church that has long resisted it.

Church members reject modern medicine as a bedrock tenet of their faith, even as some have faced manslaughter charges in child deaths dating back 35 years.

Until now, though, no leader in the sect has ever faced charges.

With a routine course of antibiotics, two-year-old Ella Foster would have almost certainly beaten the pneumonia that took her life last November.

But her parents refused medical care, and she succumbed shortly after they asked Foster to anoint her.

Foster has been charged charged with a felony under a state law requiring clergy members, teachers and other “mandated reporters” to turn the names of suspected child abusers over to authorities for investigation.

The law makes no exception for clergy who happen to be related to the abused child, as Foster was to Ella.

Most states have similar laws that require clergy to report abuse.

Berks County District Attorney John Adams, whose office is prosecuting Foster, said:

He was well aware of the fact that this child was in need of medical treatment and he never reported it, nor do I believe that he ever had the intention to report it.

Cathleen Palm, of the Pennsylvania-based Center for Children’s Justice, said she hopes the prosecution, at a minimum, will spur action in the Legislature to protect children whose parents don’t seek necessary medical care based on religion.

Neither Foster nor his attorney returned calls for comment.

Ella’s parents, Jonathan and Grace Foster, were charged earlier with involuntary manslaughter and await trial. Police have said Jonathan Foster attributed Ella’s death to “God’s will”.

The reclusive sect, founded in Philadelphia more than a century ago, does not give media interviews.

At the Faith Tabernacle church and school campus in Mechanicsburg, where Rowland Foster is the pastor, an Associated Press reporter who entered the building was quickly ordered to leave. An older man who accepted a letter seeking comment from church officials promised to shred it.

11 responses to “Pastor charged in connection with his granddaughter’s death”

  1. Playonwords says:

    Someday these vile laws will be outlawed

  2. Censored says:

    Anyone expecting this to be fixed by political whores is delusional and naive.

  3. 1859 says:

    Presumably these people think that the most grotesque, painful and lethal diseases to afflict humanity and, in particular, humanity’s children, are all ‘gifts’ from their god.Logically, if they renounce life-saving medical treatment, they must believe such treatment is evil, sent by the devil to lead them astray. And so this ‘pastor’ can sit back and watch his own granddaughter suffer and die while he could potentially save her life – this is tantamount to murder on religious grounds. Sorry to be so blunt but there is something very psychopathic in this.

  4. Newspaniard says:

    I hope he gets 50 years in gaol although I suspect, as he is a US citizen, his religious “beliefs” will give him a free pass.

  5. Dr. Rossi says:

    Religion is a unique disease in that it kills those not infected by it.

  6. barriejohn says:

    This prosecution is raising hopes among some advocates that it might effect changes in a church that has long resisted it.

    I wouldn’t put money on it; they’ll just keep quiet about what they are doing. Anyway, I challenge any Christian to deny that what they are doing is according to what is clearly taught in the New Testament:

    “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:14-15 KJV)

    I trust that Justin Welby has never darkened the door of a doctor’s surgery!

  7. Brian Jordan says:

    The reclusive sect, founded in Philadelphia more than a century ago, does not give media interviews.
    No wonder. Trying to hide from the light.

  8. lonbo says:

    Children must be protected from religion as minors incapable of consent.Religion is child abuse.

  9. sailor1031 says:

    His superstitious beliefs won’t give him a pass. Pennsylvania law explicitly states that there is no religious exemption for ‘mandated reporters’, those such as doctors, nurses, ministers of religion etc. who must report suspected child abuse.

  10. John says:

    What is more important now is that all the members of this group with children have their children taken into care as their present parents are unfit persons to be proper parents.