Naturopath guilty over raw food plan for baby 'days from death'

Leppington naturopath Marilyn Bodnar has pleaded guilty to causing danger of death to a child with her diet advice. Photo: Google +
Leppington naturopath Marilyn Bodnar has pleaded guilty to causing danger of death to a child with her diet advice. Photo: Google +

A naturopath who instructed a breastfeeding mother to stick to a "raw food" diet to cure her son's eczema has admitted that her advice endangered the baby's life.

Marilyn Bodnar, 61, is accused of directing the mother, a midwife who cannot be named for legal reasons, to abandon other medical advice and adhere to a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit and seeds.

By the time the mother took the baby to hospital, he was limp, had sunken eyes and police believe he was just days from death.

Naturopath Marilyn Bodnar leaves Campbelltown Local Court in May.  Photo: Nick Moir

Naturopath Marilyn Bodnar leaves Campbelltown Local Court in May. Photo: Nick Moir

According to court documents, Bodnar, from Leppington near Campbelltown, made the mother feel guilty for eating "rubbish" during her pregnancy and using steroid creams for the boy's eczema.

"Are you 100 per cent raw?" she is alleged to have asked the mother.

"You have to be 100 per cent raw if you want to see your son heal."

The rationale was to alkaline her milk and "eliminate the toxins" from the baby's body.

The mother, who cannot be identified, was given a 14-month suspended jail sentence in August 2016 after pleading guilty to failing to provide for her child. Photo: Nick Moir

The mother, who cannot be identified, was given a 14-month suspended jail sentence in August 2016 after pleading guilty to failing to provide for her child. Photo: Nick Moir

When the baby developed a fever, Bodnar allegedly advised the mother to drink nothing but water, saying, "You're not allowed to drink anything if you want to see him better."

When he started vomiting, she told the mother to continue on the water-only regime, explaining that "increased temperature meant increased vitality".

The mother finally took the baby to hospital in 2015, by which time police alleged he had nearly starved to death.

She is serving a 14-month suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to failing to provide for her child, and had agreed to testify against Bodnar if her case had gone to trial.

But Bodnar pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court on Friday to aiding, abetting, soliciting or procuring the mother in her pursuit of a diet that nearly killed the boy.

She will be sentenced in March 29.

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