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Creswell, OR – Brandi and Russel Bellew have pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the death of Brandi Bellew’s 16-year-old son, Austin Sprout.

Sprout, who is Russel Bellew’s stepson, died of a burst appendix in December.  After a seven week investigation into the death, Lane County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Brandi and Russel Bellew.  They originally pleaded not guilty to the charges and the trial was set to start this week.

The Bellews are members of the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which teaches that prayer, not medical care, will cure their sick members, no matter how grave the circumstances.

Now, I know it’s probably going to come as a shock to you, as it did to me, but bacteria, viruses, and cancer couldn’t give two craps about what you’re asking your god to do.  That also goes for serious bodily injury.  Scrapes, minor cuts, bruises, and headaches, however, are under strict orders to eventually scram when ordered by God, it would seem.

“That is what the arrests are based on, is the withholding of medical care in this case that allowed Austin to die.” Capt. Trapp said.  Doctors have testified that Austin’s condition was entirely treatable and his death would have been prevented had his parents decided to seek medical attention for him.

Oregon passed a law last year which states that faith-healing beliefs may not be used as a defense in manslaughter cases, and the district attorney has worked closely with church leaders to educate them of ramifications of the new law.

Assistant District Attorney Eric Hasselman said that, as part of the plea, the couple are ordered to follow an in-home safety plan set up by the Department of Human Services to ensure their other children’s safety.

Hasselman also worked with General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn is ensure that members of the congregation would not be ostracized for seeking medical care for conditions specifically laid out by the district attorney’s office.

The Bellews were sentenced to five years probation and will be required to work with a probation officer to ensure that their other children are given medical attention should they require it.

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  • Jennifer

    It always seems to come out in these type of “pray it away” cases that one or both of the parents have sinned before when it was “convenient” for them but when it comes to the children, let ’em suffer.

  • darsa

    I think that the thing that bugs me most about this form of belief is one major thing… if there IS a God, then didn’t he also create the doctors, and the scientists, who have made all of these medical advances and discoveries? Do they maybe think that doctors and scientist were created by… something else? O.O

  • Transducer

    Appendicitis ain’t so bad, it’s the eventual Peritonitis that kills you.

  • Sam

    How can you just ignore your child, your own flesh and blood, screaming in what must have been excruciating pain?? If either of my kids are ill i would do ANYthing and EVERYthing to make them feel better. These people do not deserve to be called parents.

  • Transducer

    The “no medical care” religious people are almost a dumb as the religious people who handle poisonous snakes and drink strychnine.

  • come_and_see

    Jesus did it.

  • OutOfBubbleGum

    At sentencing by the judge, Brandi smiled. She knew that her new horse and buggy with the orange warning triangle on dirt roads could out run any Oregon State Trooper. Once again, she’d let God save any of her children in Washington.

  • Zazen

    Speaking as an atheist who nearly died from a burst appendix, the best thing to do if you want to be all thankful and prayerful is thank the doctors and nurses who saved your ass.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mikhail-Kolitwenzew/100001461591216 Mikhail Kolitwenzew

    The Bible even says (at least my Orthodox / Catholic Bible. the Protestants removed the book of Sirach from the Bible). This is what it says,

    38 Give doctors the honor they deserve, for the Lord gave them their work to do.[a] 2 Their skill came from the Most High, and kings reward them for it. 3 Their knowledge gives them a position of importance, and powerful people hold them in high regard.4 The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible person will not hesitate to use them. 5 Didn’t a tree once make bitter water fit to drink, so that the Lord’s power[b] might be known? 6 He gave medical knowledge to human beings, so that we would praise him for the miracles he performs. 7-8 The druggist mixes these medicines, and the doctor will use them to cure diseases and ease pain. There is no end to the activities of the Lord, who gives health to the people of the world.
    Wisdom of Sirach 38:1-8

    Had the Protestants not removed this book in the 17th century we would never have to deal with this.

  • Parrot Toes

    Very sad for the boy. His parents were stupid fucking lemmings and he paid the price. They should be in prison.

    Just another example of the danger of religion.

  • Athena

    Washington doesn’t allow faith healing either. It does, strangely enough, allow treatment in lieu of medical care by a “duly accredited Christian Science practitioner”.

  • NY_Mommy

    I imagine that the younger children are probably scares shitless. 1st they lost their brother and now they have to ‘pray’ no medical emergencies happen to them or they too might suffer the same fate.

  • Zazen

    Amen. >.>

  • David

    The thing is, a lot of these simpletons just decide that “it was time” and that their God “just wanted little Austin back”. The entire world would be much better off without religion. While atheists are gaining ground (I think 15% of the world population considers themselves atheist or agnostic), the events taking place around the world right now over that dumb movie show that reason has a HUGE upward battle against ignorance.

  • curiousalways

    The danger of religion or the danger of stupidity?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trisha-Doran/1055147616 Trisha Doran

    Christianity does not equal ignorance LOL. I’m a Christian, and it angers me beyond belief when this kind of thing happens. It’s all well and good to let yourself die while you’re “praying it away” or to die from a snakebite, but to put that mess on your kids is inexcusable. I’m glad Oregon passed that law!

  • newstarshipsmell

    The dangerous combination of both.

  • Chinchillazilla

    Yeah, I had what they thought was appendicitis twice. CT scans revealed it was most likely mesenteric lymphadenitis, which is harmless, but it was the worst pain I have ever experienced. I can’t imagine feeling that pain (or worse – I’m sure actual appendicitis hurts even more than what I had, although frankly I almost can’t see how it could) and not even being allowed to see a doctor. Not only did they murder their son, they did it in the cruelest way.

  • Parrot Toes

    The danger of religion IS that it preys on the really stupid. No offense to anyone who believes. The stupid ones are the ones that follow it to the letter.

  • RachelAnnPrince

    Where in the hell do people like this get there idiotic fucking logic. Idk what God they’re worshipping but I hope they’re brand of religious dogma doesn’t spread.

  • UniqueMommy1984

    Sad, his life could have been saved. :-(

  • EveryVillainIsLemons

    If your church calls for you to not seek medical attention when one of your loved ones is critically ill, it’s time to find a new church.

  • JGo555

    The “testing” part that God was putting them through is to see if they believed that God granted humans enough brain to develop the “science of medicine” and the doctors to CURE ILLNESSES!

  • newstarshipsmell

    That’s an interested point, if for no other reason, the fact that until now I’d never heard of the book of Sirach (I was raised Lutheran.) But I’d call it a stretch to say that the Protestants retaining the book would’ve prevented “this,” either this particular case, or the aversion to the medical profession in general, found amongst various fringe Christian faiths.

    The couple in this story, after all, are from a recent splinter sect of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, i.e. Mormons, that left the Mormon Church proper in 2001, founded by Terrill R. Dalton, who “purports to be the Holy Ghost and the Father of Jesus.” Their sect practices polygamy, and two years ago Dalton was arrested/charged, and convicted on two counts of rape this past March:

    I’m not out to bash the Mormons in particular, just pointing out this wasn’t some strange branch of one of the more traditional Protestant faiths. Anyways, about that Sirach, too bad he didn’t praise contraception. I can think of one particular recurring news story that would be a non-issue, if he had.

  • captaingrumpy

    Not much of a punishment for a death.

  • captaingrumpy

    It’s a rather LOOSE term to call THIS a religion. The head says HE is the Holy Ghost. ha ha ha ha .

  • captaingrumpy

    The problem being that the numbers of cults are increasing with the number of the agnostics.

  • http://www.dreamindemon.com Morbid


  • http://www.dreamindemon.com Morbid

    I almost hate to ask this, but where did you get that info from?

  • Canuck Gramz

    I’m a Christian and I believe in miracles but I also believe I’m absolutely NOT God and I know that I can’t tell Him what to do. I pray but I don’t see prayer as this magical machine dispensing whatever thing we decide we want at any given moment. Three of our 7 children are alive today because of emergency surgery when their appendixes ruptured! My oldest daughter almost died because idiot incompetent doctors misdiagnosed her , but I am thankful to have her alive, after they finally removed the appendix and pumped her full of antibiotics. I had a dear friend who died of liver cancer who refused treatment because she had gone to a faith healer and she thought Jesus had healed her. She was in her 70s but spry and full of energy and wit and an amazing sense of humor and it was a shock to lose her, especially that way. Our church isn’t the type that advocates that – the leadership begged her to get treatment. In the last days she was at peace with God and she said it was her time to go. Was it? We’ll never know. She was an adult and able to make her own decisions. But a child? I know how much pain our children were in and I can’t fathom a parent letting their child suffer, without doing everything they can to help them. That said I also know that some extreme and fanatical religious groups practice an alarmingly effective form of brainwashing.I know it and in my childhood, and part of my adult years, I lived in it. It’s horrifying the way people can mess with other people’s heads! I don’t excuse these parents one bit-especially if they are still living that lie after losing their son like this.
    Did these parents get off with no jail time? Were they sent home to their remaining children to continue living this lifestyle? Are their other children even safe?

  • neenaP


  • onlyme356

    Sad that this boy had to be the guinea pig for faith.

  • polomint38

    I think he probably pulled it whole cloth out of his arse

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaryBowers87 Mary Bowers

    That poor child I can only imagine the suffering he went through before he died. It doesnt matter what religion I am health comes first especially my child I hope they are found guilty they are at fault religion or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Leashaness Alicia Lynee’

    PROBATION for KILLING their son via medical negligence? AND they’re allowed to keep their other kids?! You’ve got to be kidding me…

  • Mrs. Ferguson

    and they still got their other children… what type of laws do we have in certain situations ….

  • dd

    Basically, brainwashing and lack of common sense killed this teen. This
    is unfortunate as it was preventable. I remember my friend’s mom who was
    a religious nut-job and believed the same thing. Once, he broke his
    wrist from his bed, and some sort of pressure formed causing a big bubble in the
    process. I mean, it was a big ass bubble just growing. I got his mom and told her what happened and she settled him in
    his bed, got her book and some sort of liquid and poured it on his
    wrist. He wrapped a cross around his neck. She looked up and started
    talking to ‘someone’ she called her savior, which I was 7 at the time
    and I just thought she lost her freaking mind. I asked her “take him to
    the hospital he is screaming” I was scared shitless. I called my mom to
    come over. Eventually, the dad with common sense luckily was around in
    time and took him to the hospital and helped him out. I never was aloud
    to be around his mom ever again, which sucks as it was hard to keep in
    touch but we manage until he did move though. He was not religious at all so I hope he did not follow his
    mom…so yeah this shit is probably common but under-reported.