A Christian Science researcher at the University of Southern California has been sentenced to six months in prison for allegedly giving religious orders to patients, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Kevin DeMarco, an assistant professor of science at the university’s department of biomedical sciences, gave religious orders while working as a clinical psychologist in the program, according the release.
DeMarco allegedly gave religious instructions to patients at the Stanford University Medical Center and the University Health Network in the fall of 2016, according documents obtained by The Associated Press.
According to the release, DeMarco gave patients the name of a person in the Bible, as well as instructions to pray for them and tell them that God had sent them to help them.
The patients then received medication, a bible and other items, according in the release documents.
DeMarcus also allegedly instructed patients to perform medical and psychological tests that would determine the patient’s religious beliefs and practices, according.
The charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to one year and a $1,000 fine, according on the release records.
The charges came after DeMarco was charged in May 2016 in a federal grand jury indictment.
In court documents, prosecutors said DeMarco allegedly told patients that he was “the only doctor in the world” and that they would receive a free spiritual cure for cancer, according an AP news release.
DeMarco did not respond to an email seeking comment.
In the lawsuit, DeMarcus alleged that he received religious orders from “a man in the desert” to help patients in the hospital.
The man told DeMarco that he had prayed for the illness, the documents said.
DeMarris’ attorney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Friday.