Defense: Ore. couple religious persecution victims

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OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) -- A defense lawyer has told jurors in a criminal mistreatment trial that an Oregon City couple are the victims of inflexible bureaucrats and religious persecution because of their faith-healing beliefs.

Timothy and Rebecca Wyland are accused of failing to seek medical care for their infant daughter when an abnormal growth of blood vessels engulfed her left eye, nearly blinding her.

Prosecutor Melissa Jones told the Circuit Court jury Monday that the law doesn't expect parents to be doctors, but does expect them to know when their children need medical care.

State child protection workers took custody of the little girl last summer and she has improved under court-ordered medical care.

In his closing argument, defense lawyer Mark Cogan said the family's religious faith was a factor in removing the child. The Wylands belong to the Followers of Christ church, which embraces faith healing and rejects medical care.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com