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Regional & National

Tennessee loophole that holds faith-healing harmless under court microscope

February 24th, 2009 12:00 am by Staff Report

Tennessee law protects praying parents, but what happens when faith fails?

According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, for the first time since lawmakers passed a faith-healing exemption child abuse and neglect laws, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals is being asked to take a closer look at loophole using the case of an apparent failed faith healing of a 15-year-old Loudon County girl.

Attorneys Gregory P. Isaacs, on behalf of mother Jacqueline Crank, and Donald A. Bosch and Ann Short-Bowers, on behalf of "spiritual father" Ariel Ben Sherman, have filed emergency appeal requests that could not only determine the outcome of the criminal cases against their clients but shape state law on faith healing.

"Research discloses no Tennessee decision interpreting or discussing the statute," Bosch and Short-Bowers wrote. "How the statute operates in the context of a prosecution for child abuse or neglect is a question of first impression in this state."

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