Alternative health advocate David Stephan was convicted of “failing to provide the necessaries of life” for his dying son less than a year ago. He and his wife treated his now-deceased 18-month-old son Ezekiel’s meningitis with “natural remedies,” such as hot peppers, garlic, onions, horseradish, and a product from a naturopathic “doctor” that claimed to boost the immune system.
According to the Calgary Herald, the Alberta father is now back to promoting pseudoscience and appeared in an alternative health store in Prince George B.C. this Tuesday, hawking a “nutritional supplement” he claims can treat mental illness. Stephan is also a promoter of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
“Come listen to David Stephan talk about how his family members suffered from mental illness and were made well,” a flyer promoting Stephan’s appearance at Ave Maria Specialties read.
According to the Herald, a wave of criticism descended on Ave Maria’s Facebook page, slamming the store’s decision to give Stephan a platform to speak. Although those posts seem to have been deleted, Ave Maria posted a statement defending their decision to host Stephen while completely absolving him of any culpability in his son’s death.
“To be honest with you, I had some reservations because I know the case is still on people’s minds, and it’s quite a controversial case,” Ave Maria owner Dave Fuller told the Prince George Citizen, a local newspaper. Referring to the critics as “haters,” he explained that the supplement Stephan was promoting was unrelated to the treatments administered to Ezekiel.
“We’re trying to provide products that really make a difference in people’s lives, and this is one of them,” Fuller said.From the Calgary Herald:
A jury heard last spring that Stephan and his wife Collet failed to seek medical treatment when Ezekiel developed a fever and difficulty breathing on Feb. 27, 2012. They relied instead on natural products including vinegar, onion powder, ginger, garlic and hot peppers.
Even after a friend who was a nurse raised the possibility of meningitis on March 12, they administered naturopathic treatments called Total Reload and Blast. They only called 911 when he stopped breathing on March 13.
After a jury found the couple guilty last April 26, Justice Rodney Jerke of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta sentenced Collet Stephan to three months of house arrest and David Stephan to four months in jail. Jerke wrote that their failure to seek medical treatment “contributed significantly” to the risk to Ezekiel’s life.
According to the judge in Stephan’s case, he showed a “complete lack of remorse for his own inaction and an entrenchment of his refusal to seek medical attention when it becomes necessary for those in his care.”
In a post to his Facebook page in July of 2016, Stephen claimed he was the victim of a coverup and blamed Ezekiel’s death on the ambulance crew. He served 4 months in jail after his conviction while his wife, Collett Stephan, was sentenced to house arrest.
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