Colo. Couple Sentenced to Probation

Associated Press/November 9, 2001

Grand Junction, Colo. -- A couple whose 13-year-old daughter died from diabetes and gangrene after they refused to allow medical treatment, citing their religious beliefs, were sentenced to 20 years probation.

A judge Thursday spared Colleen and Randy Bates prison time but ordered them to provide medical insurance for their remaining 12 children and have the children see doctors whenever necessary.

Mesa District Court Judge Amanda Bailey also ordered the parents to each do 1,300 hours of community service, 100 hours for each year of their daughter Amanda's life.

``These are not criminals in any ordinary sense of the word. They were not evil in their intentions,'' Bailey said as she rejected a prosecution request for jail time.

Amanda died Feb. 5. Medical reports and testimony at sentencing described her being in severe pain. During the last several days of her life, she was bedridden, had a high fever and was vomiting.

Elders of their church, the General Assembly Church of the First Born, prayed over Amanda, and her mother and other women in the church tried to give her liquids to cool her and put lotion on her sores.

No one called 911 until after the girl died. The parents pleaded guilty to criminally negligent child abuse in August as part of a plea agreement.

Amanda's death led to changes in Colorado law to make it easier to prosecute parents who withhold medical treatment from their children. The Legislature in March passed a bill that removed a religious exemption from the felony child-abuse statutes.

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