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  • April 30, 2012

    Crank case to be tried

    Published: 8:26 AM, 02/14/2012 Last updated: 8:30 AM, 02/14/2012

    Source: News-Herald
    The trial of Jacqueline Pearl Crank and her minister, Ariel Ben Sherman, has been set for May 8 in Loudon County Circuit Court.

    The two are expected to be tried together, said Assistant District Attorney Frank Harvey, who is prosecuting the case.

    The trials for Crank and Sherman have been continued numerous times. Harvey said the continuances have been a matter of getting everything coordinated in court.

    In addition to interlocutory appeals that were filed, the prosecutor said, "We have been trying to resolve some issues with proof and witness problems."

    Despite the continuances, the prosecution intends to bring the case to court.

    "At this point, it is going to court," he said. "We are not going to drop this."

    Crank was charged in 2002 with neglect after allegations she failed to take her 15-year-old daughter, Jessica, to a hospital when an area clinic allegedly told the mother its staff suspected the teenageer had cancer.

    Sherman was also charged with neglect. Lenoir City Police said Crank and Sherman, who described himself as the girl's spiritual father, knew the girl had a potentially serious condition but failed to seek medical treatment. The girl died later in 2002 from cancer.

    Jacqueline and daughter Jessica Crank were members of Sherman's Universal Life Church in Lenoir City. Authorities have said Jessica complained of soreness in her shoulder, and Sherman took her to a chiropractor sometime in February 2002.

    At that time, according to authorities, personnel at the chiropractor's office told Sherman they believed the girl could have a serious medical condition and should see a specialist. According to police, Sherman did not follow up on that advice.

    In their reports, police officials said they became involved after Jacqueline Crank's visit to the medical clinic. According to their reports, the clinic arranged for the doctor to meet the mother at a Knoxville hospital but learned the girl had not been admitted. They called police, and officials said Jessica had a tumor the size of a basketball on her shoulder when they found her.

    Attorneys representing Sherman and Crank earlier said their clients sought to heal the child through prayer when they learned of her illness and said they did not know the seriousness of the girl's illness.

    In 2003, then Loudon County General Sessions Judge Bill Russell dismissed the charge against Sherman, ruling the state failed to show minister Sherman had any responsibility for Jessica Crank. But, in 2008 the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld the neglect case against Sherman.

    Harvey said the defendants attempted to take the case up on an interlocutory appeal for the court to determine some legal questions involved in the case and the state court declined to do so. An interlocutory appeal is an appeal prior to a trial of a case based on its merits, Harvey said.

    In 2009, Loudon County Criminal Court Judge Eugene Eblen declined to dismiss child neglect charges against Jacqueline Crank and Sherman, but he also ruled defense attorneys Gregory P. Isaacs and Donald A. Bosch could file an emergency appeal to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

    The defense attorneys - Gregory Isaacs, who is defending Crank, and Donald Bosch, who is defending Sherman - were not present for Friday's docket sounding in Loudon County Circuit Court.


    • Mother, 'spiritual father' convicted in faith-healing case but questions remain

      Knoxville News Sentinel, Tennessee/May 8, 2012

      By Jamie Satterfield

      Loudon -- Ten years after a 15-year-old Loudon County girl died from a rare form of bone cancer, two questions that have dogged the case from the start remain unanswered.
      When, under Tennessee law, can a parent rely on God not medicine to heal a sick child? And, what duty of care does a non-parent owe that sick child?
      At a hearing Tuesday in Loudon County Circuit Court, Judge Eugene Eblen ostensibly offered answers by deeming Jacqueline Crank and Ariel Ben Sherman guilty of misdemeanor neglect for the September 2002 death of Jessica Crank. He sentenced them to probation. But he offered no legal analysis and both sides appeared to accept his decision as a mere prelude to the ultimate legal platform in this ongoing debate the state's appellate courts.
      "We once again want to go to the Tennessee Supreme Court to address these constitutional questions," said Jacqueline Crank's attorney, Gregory P. Isaacs. "She feels and my law firm feels no other parent should have to be placed in this situation. A parent has an absolute constitutional right to rely on faith."
      "I believe everybody understands this is a case with much bigger legal implications," said Sherman's attorney, Donald A. Bosch.
      Even prosecutor Frank Harvey, who technically won Tuesday's hearing, conceded the legal issues raised in the case "need to be decided in the state of Tennessee in a very clear manner."
      The case began when Sherman moved his Universal Life Church flock to a six-bedroom house in Loudon County. There, he lived with Crank, her two children, Jessica and Israel, and a half-dozen other parishioners. Sherman held himself out as the "spiritual father" of Crank's children and was reportedly Crank's lover.
      When Jessica developed a tumor on her shoulder, Sherman advised Crank to rely on prayer. Although she took Jessica to a local clinic at one point, the mother ultimately decided to rely on faith. Authorities intervened but Jessica died anyway.
      Crank and Sherman were charged with felony child neglect, but Bosch and Isaacs successfully argued medical proof showed treatment would not have saved Jessica's life. Harvey then pressed forward with the misdemeanor case, various aspects of which have been appealed with no definitive resolution.
      State law allows a parent to choose faith over medicine provided that parent is heeding the doctrine of a "recognized church or denomination." But the law is silent on what constitutes a "recognized" religion. Isaacs argued Tuesday Crank's belief in the power of prayer is rooted in "genuine" faith. Sherman's case turns on how far a duty of care for a child extends. Can a boyfriend be held liable? A baby sitter? A pastor? Bosch noted at Tuesday's hearing that only a parent or legal guardian is allowed under the law to authorize medical treatment for a child.


      • i beleive that JESUS heals but we should try the docs and see what is really wrong and dont listen to some crank


        • i beleive that JESUS heals  but we should try the docs and see what is really wrong and dont listen to some crank


          • Admin, Dodge, Ba2,

            Incurable Bone Cancer/Examples: Ewing's Cancer in this case, or Multiple Myeloma that my dad died from
            The Reason for Suffering/(Why God allows it)
            The Hippocratic Oath
            Eugenics, (especially as practiced in Nazi Germany)
            The Legal Questions asked above
            Religion vs. these Topics

            There is some pretty interesting topics here for debate, and there are some pretty difficult questions to be answered.