Invisible Children

Jessica Crank

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.

jessica crank
Jessica Crank, age 15, died of bone cancer which her mother, Jacqueline Crank, and stepfather Ariel Ben Sherman left untreated. When she died, she had a tumor the size of a basketball. Jessica was homeschooled.

Sherman, who had been convicted of child abuse in Oregon in 1987, was the leader of the Universal Life Church, a cult-like group which practiced faith healing. In February 2002, Sherman and Crank took Jessica to a chiropractor, who urged them to immediately take her to an emergency room. They did not do so. It was not until June 2002 that authorities were successful in getting medical attention for Jessica. She died in September 2002.

Sherman and Crank were convicted of misdemeanor child neglect.

Date: September 15, 2002
Lenoir City, Tennessee


Documents: Date:
When Divine Intervention Breaks the Law 10-02-2002
Mother, ‘spiritual father’ convicted in faith-healing case but questions remain 05-08-2012
Tennessee high court to hear faith-healing case 04-22-2014
Child neglect in faith-healing sect heard by state supreme court 2014