READING, Pa. – The pastor of a congregation that exists in the modern medicine, was acquitted of the indictment, that he should have notified authorities of possible child abuse at his 2-year-old granddaughter was dying of pneumonia.
A judge on Monday dismissed the charge of failure to report a suspicion of abuse of Rowland G. Foster, 72, of Lebanon, in the death of Ella Grace Foster of last year.
Berks County Judge Theresa johnson ruled in a pro forma session, there was not sufficient evidence to support the allegation, The Reading Eagle reported .
Foster is pastor of the Faith Tabernacle of the Congregation, which invites the members to avoid doctors and pharmaceutical drugs. A forensic pathologist had testified that Ella would almost certainly have survived if she had been given antibiotics.
The newspaper said Foster did not make any statements during the hearing. Phone messages left at his home and his lawyer’s office were not immediately returned on Tuesday.
The parents of the girl, Jonathan D. Foster, 35, and Grace A. Foster, 33, are accused of involuntary manslaughter and endangering children. Their trial is set for March.
Under Pennsylvania law, Foster had a duty as a pastor to the report of her illness as a case of suspected abuse, prosecutors said.
According to the police, Rowland Foster was summoned to the girl’s home and anointed her head with oil. A funeral home notified police, her fully clothed and partially covered with a blanket.
Rowland Foster told a researcher he has never been to a doctor.
Foster’s lawyer said that his client was not equipped to diagnose the condition of the girl and not acting with evil intentions, but believed he did what was best for her.
The judge dismissed the indictment after reviewing the contact Rowland Foster had with Ella before she died, and to compare these with the autopsy report, Berks County District Attorney John Adams said.
The case against Foster had been rejected by a district court judge following a preliminary hearing in April, but county prosecutors re-filed the charges.
Information from: Reading Eagle, http://www.readingeagle.com/