Refusing treatment, cult member dies
By Crosbie Cotton
Herald staff writer
Children of God cult member Shelley Bellavitti died at Holy Cross Hospital Sunday after refusing treatment for cancer which doctors say probably could have been cured.
The 28-year-old mother ot three, and her husband Mario, had decided to forego medical treatment and wait for God'a miracle to heal her instead.
She entered hospital five days before her death and accepted only pain killers from the staff.
"I can't say we did wrong, that we failed the Lord with our stupid decision," Mario, also a cult member, said shortly after his wife's death.
"I don't regret what we did. even if it looks like God failed us," added Mario. 27. who had been married to her for five years.
The couple's two boys and a girl are all under four years old.
Doctors described her case as "extremely frustrating" and said chemotherapy treatments could have added years to her hie or even cured Shelley, who joined Children of God a decade ago.
The sect, headed by David Berg, also known as David Moses, gained international prominence for its sexual promiscuity, which included using cult members as prostitutes to raise money and attract new members.
Investigations by several police forces around the world has shown that extensive brainwashing techniques. such as isolation, severing family ties, solitary confinement fanque, tension and fear, have been, used by Children of God leaders to attract "converts".
Today. Mario said he was still awaiting a miracle He believes God can return his wife's "spirit' to her dead body