Pastor who chose prayer over antibiotics for dead granddaughter faces charges

A Pennsylvania pastor is facing charges after his granddaughter died of complications due to pneumonia.

PennLive reports that Rowland Foster of the Faith Tabernacle Congregation has been charged with failure to report child abuse after 2-year-old Ella Grace Foster died of pneumonia back in November while in her home.

According to the criminal complaint, Foster’s church participates in the practice of faith-healing. “It’s common practice of the church to anoint a person while they are ill,” the complaint reads, which alleges Foster was with his granddaughter the night before she died.

Pennsylvania law states that the head of a church must report incidents of child endangerment even when their religious doctrine forbids them from seeking out modern medicine.

Ella’s parents, Jonathan and Grace Foster.

“So he was well aware of the physical condition of this child and he was well aware that this child did not receive any medical care,” District Attorney John Adams said.

Since the founding of Faith Tabernacle in 1971, 27 children belonging to the church have died from preventable illnesses.

Jonathan and Grace Foster, the child’s parents, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.

In the arrest affidavit, police say the 71-year-old Foster told them that the church “does not believe in medical care and that he had not been to a doctor in his 70 years.” According to police, Foster believes Ella’s death was “God’s will.”

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Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.