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Sect Member Claims She Lost Baby

February 5, 2002

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BOSTON (AP) _ A member of a religious sect that rejects modern medicine had a miscarriage in November and is not hiding the baby from authorities, her lawyer told a judge Tuesday.

Rebecca and David Corneau had previously refused to say whether a baby even exists. Attorney J.W. Carney said Rebecca Corneau now would be willing to testify about the miscarriage.

``Mrs. Corneau realized she did not feel the baby moving,″ Carney told Judge Kenneth Nasif at a contempt hearing. ``Shortly thereafter she expelled a dead and decomposed fetus.

``There is no live baby Corneau,″ he said.

The Corneaus appeared in Attleboro Juvenile Court a day after losing an appeal of a court order that they be jailed if they didn’t hand over their newborn. The state’s highest court rejected the appeal Monday.

Attorneys for the state Department of Social Services made no immediate response to the claim of a miscarriage, and the judge closed the courtroom to the public and press for a protection hearing, at which Rebecca Corneau was expected to speak.

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