Crank case to be tried
|Published: 8:26 AM, 02/14/2012
||Last updated: 8:30 AM, 02/14/2012
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.