Mom Faces Jail for Not Posting to Facebook After Son's Death

Unusual part of judge's sentence following death of Ezekiel Stephan
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2016 5:21 AM CDT
Updated Jul 7, 2016 6:49 AM CDT
After Son's Death, Judge Orders Mom to Post on Facebook
Collet Stephan could end up in jail if she doesn't comply with the order within 90 days.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

A judge's highly unusual order has added an extra layer of controversy to a contentious child death case in Canada. Last month, David Stephan was sentenced to four months in prison and his wife, Collet Stephan, was sentenced to three months of house arrest for failing to provide the "necessaries of life" for their 19-month-old son. Ezekiel died from bacterial meningitis in 2012 after the Alberta couple ignored advice to seek medical treatment and instead used naturopathic remedies. But Justice Rodney Jerke also ordered Collet Stephan to post unedited copies of the decision to social media accounts and websites associated with the family. There is no sign of the decision on what the CBC describes as the "conspiracy-ridden" Prayers for Ezekiel Facebook page, and lawyers say the mother could still be sent to jail.

"She's playing with fire on this if she doesn't comply with the posting," defense lawyer Adriano Iovinelli says. The CBC believes Collet has to comply within 90 days of the June 24 ruling, though the National Post notes no deadline was given and it's unclear whether Collet could comment negatively on the ruling in her post of it. The judge's sentencing decision includes a timeline of events that describes how the Stephans continued to treat Ezekiel with remedies like garlic and horseradish after a nurse—and even a receptionist at a naturopathic clinic—urged them to take the ailing boy to a doctor. The judge also ordered the Stephans to take their three surviving children to a doctor once a year, reports the Huffington Post. The CBC reports that Jerke gave David Stephan—whose family founded a nutritional supplements company—a stiffer sentence because he decided the father has shown a complete lack of remorse. (A court forced this teen to undergo chemo.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.