Naturopath jailed over starving baby case
In August 2016 we shared that a Sydney mother had been sentenced after she “failed to provide” for her infant son, after breastfeeding while on a raw food diet and almost killing him.
The woman, who cannot be identified, was placed on a raw food and water-only diet, which almost caused her baby boy to starve to death has been sentenced to a 14 month suspended jail term, 7 news report.
The woman had earlier pleaded guilty to failing to provide for her child.
In court on Wednesday the prosecution alleged the woman chose to “blindly follow” the advice of Leppington naturopath Marilyn Bodnar after she was “desperate” to cure her son’s eczema.
It was alleged the naturopath told the woman the boy’s skin condition was “her fault” and convinced her to go on a restricted raw food diet.
The naturopath will face a committal hearing next week.
The court heard those close to the mother had warned her against the extreme diet and noticed her weight loss. It was alleged she did not listen to their advice.
In court Magistrate Guy said if the baby wasn’t taken to hospital in May, he would have died days later.
He told the court when the toddler was eventually taken to hospital he was “emancipated, eyes sunken” and “dehydrated”.
He called the mother’s behaviour “troubling” and “deeply concerning” that she did not see the warning signs.
UPDATE 25 August 2017
The Sydney naturopath has pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life and putting a baby’s life in danger, thanks to her alternative medical treatments, reports 9 news.
The eight-month-old was taken to Marilyn Bodnar’s home clinic in Leppington, in Sydney’s south west, suffering from eczema, but ended up extremely malnourished and close to death.
Ms Bodnar advised the mother, who we cannot name for legal reasons, to go on a raw food diet to subdue the skin condition.
Prosecutors tendered a revised indictment to the Downing Centre District Court on Friday, with a lesser charge of aiding and abetting the mother.
In front of a packed gallery, Ms Bodnar answered “guilty your honour”.
Court documents state Bodnar allegedly asked the mother, “Are you 100 per cent raw? You have to be 100 per cent raw if you want to see your son heal.”
When he developed a fever she went a step further, and allegedly told her to drink only water.
A naturopath – who told a mother her baby vomiting was good for him – has been locked up after the baby almost died.
Marilyn Bodnar has been sent to prison for her role in the baby starvation case.
The 62 year- old seemed stunned and reluctant to leave as prison officers entered the courtroom to take her downstairs after she was given a 14 month jail sentence.
Bodnar will have to serve a minimum of seven months behind bars after Judge Peter Berman imposed the sentence, reports News.com.au.
He said it was a serious consideration to place a woman of her age in prison for the first time.
But he described her ongoing advice to a breastfeeding mother to continue on a raw food fast until “death was within a couple of days”away for her baby son as “highly criminal”.
Crown Prosecutor Tony McCarthy said that the community needed to be protected and that Bodnar had “a blind adherence to her own ideology of alternative medicine”.
“This blind allegiance was the cause of the child nearly dying,” he told the court.
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