Dropped charge refiled against pastor in granddaughter's death

READING, Pa. - A pastor who rejects modern medicine again faces a criminal charge related to his granddaughter's death from pneumonia.

Berks County prosecutors refiled a criminal charge Monday against Rowland Foster based on a belief that a district magistrate made a legal mistake in dismissing the case last month, according to District Attorney John Adams.

Foster's Faith Tabernacle Church in Lebanon is part of a fundamentalist Christian sect that instructs its members to avoid doctors and pharmaceutical drugs.

Foster, 72, is accused of failing to properly report suspected abuse involving his two-year-old granddaughter, Ella Grace, who died at her home in Upper Tulpehocken Township last November from what a forensic pathologist said was a highly treatable case of pneumonia.

Foster's lawyer said he expected the DA's decision but called it disappointing.

The girl's parents, Jonathan and Grace Foster, await trial on involuntary manslaughter charges. The couple have surrendered their six other children to child services.

The grandfather's case could be assigned to another judge for a preliminary hearing on May 10.

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