3 11-14-88 06:08 pps ill, ore. Stiff prison term is message for abusive cults SPOKANE, Wa

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3 11-14-88 06:08 pps ill, ore. Stiff prison term is message for abusive cults SPOKANE, Wash. (UPI) _ A judge issuing a warning to religious cults that child abuse will not be tolerated Monday when he imposed a stiff prison sentence on a church leader in the death from untreated diabetes of a 10-year-old boy. Discarding prosecuting and defense attorneys' recommendations for a 30-day jail term, Superior Court Judge John Schultheis ordered a two-year prison term for Jeffrey Siegel, former Spokane pastor of the "No-Name Fellowship." "I have an obligation, I believe, to send a message to whoever might be in the same situation you were in and anyone who might be interested in beginning a religious cult, to let them know this activity cannot be tolerated," Schultheis said. Siegel pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal distreatment in the December death of Aaron Norman at his Mead, Wash., home. Prosecutors said the boy's parents, at the urging of Siegel and fellowship founder Doug Kleber, spanked and prayed for the dying boy and failed to seek medical attention. Kleber, 34, also pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal mistreatment and is to be sentenced next month. The victim's father, Bob Norman, was convicted of manslaughter after an emotional trial and probably also will be sentenced in December. Charges were dismissed against Aaron's mother, Judith. Schultheis reprimanded Siegel for deliberate cruelty in Aaron's death, particularly for recommending spanking the dying boy. Siegel, 33, who now lives in Champaign, Ill., had faced a maximum of five years in prison for the criminal mistreatment conviction and for pleading guilty to simple assault for spanking an adult church member with a belt during church services. Siegel and lawyers for Kleber and Bob Norman had no comment after the sentencing. The fellowship, which had no official name, was founded in the 1970s in Champaign by Kleber as a Bible study group for athletes. Kleber, who now lives in Urbana, Ill., was a University of Illinois football standout. The group's leaders believe in harsh discipline, the literal meaning of the Bible and faith healing rather than traditional medicine. Before Aaron's death, the fellowship had about 200 adult members in Spokane; Champaign; Plano, Texas; and Passaic, N.J. Former fellowship members say that at one point, about three years ago, the founder of the Ecclesia Athletic Association spoke to No-Name Fellowship members in Illinois. They say Eldridge Broussard Jr. frightened the fellowship members during his short stay. Fifty-five children in Broussard's Oregon group, mostly from the Los Angeles area, were taken into protective custody this fall after his 8-year-old daughter died, allegedly from beatings.


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