Defense in Neglect Case Seeks to Have Charges Dropped | News
In 2012, a three year old Moses Lake boy suffered a heart attack and was found to be extremely malnourished. Now, iFiber One News reports that attorneys for Robert and Michelle Staats say the criminal mistreatment charges they plead not guilty to should be dropped.
The boy was taken to Samaritan Healthcare after a 911 call was made from the Staats' home in May 2012. When he was admitted, the child only weighed 10 pounds and it took a defibrillator to bring back his pulse.
After doctors determined that the child's weight was due to neglect and not illness, the Staats were charged with criminal mistreatment, but their attorneys now say that the charges should be dropped and that the parents shouldn't be penalized for using alternative treatments.
Police reports and the Staats' attorney confirm that the child had been having health issues since 2011 and couldn't keep solid foods down. Michelle Staats began working with the WIC program to develop a plan to get him to eat, when that didn't work an employee advised Michelle to contact a doctor.
After seeking treatment from a naturopath doctor in November 2011, Michelle was advised to take the boy to the hospital. One of the Staats' attorneys, Stephan Hormel, said that Staats opted not to take the child to the hospital after praying about the situation. Instead, they sought treatment from a herbalist in San Francisco.
Hormel, and a second attorney, Douglas Phelps, say that the charges should be dropped citing that the Staats did seek medical care, they just didn't seek Western medicine. The defense attorneys say that both naturopathic and East Asia medicine practitioners are recognized by the State of Washington as performing legitimate health care services.
The defense also argues that an exception for Christian Scientists in the law regarding parents seeking medical treatment for their children makes the law unconstitutional.
Prosecutor Angus Lee object and will file a motion on Tuesday. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.