Ariel Ben Sherman, the leader of New Life Tabernacle in Tennessee, may not get away with child abuse after all, regarding the death of a teenage child in his obscure group.
Sherman and the mother of a Jessica Crank, a 15-year-old girl who died during September, have now been indicted by a grand jury, reports WATE Channel 6 News in Knoxville.
Previously charges had been dismissed against the pair, due largely to a provision within Tennessee law that allows religious groups to choose prayer over medicine.
Proper medical care was not given to Jessica Crank, who must have died painfully due to a grossly enlarged tumor.
Early treatment might have prolonged the girl’s life, or at least diminished her suffering.
Sherman has been charged before with child abuse.
Social workers in Oregon testified that he had children “bound with ropes and suspended from the ceiling for hours on end [and they were]…forced to squat in an empty pool and sprayed with cold water if they soiled themselves.”
Sherman fled those charges and eventually re-established his “ministry” in Tennessee.
Hopefully, he won’t get off as easily this time.
Sadly, Sherman does not face felony charges due to an apparent loophole in Tennessee law and is now only facing possible misdemeanor convictions.
The Crank case certainly points out the need for Tennessee to follow the example of Colorado, which passed a law protecting children from the consequences of their parent’s religious choices, if those choices might lead to death.