2nd Prayer Death: Did Parents’ Beliefs Kill Toddler?By: Toni Matthews-El - February 19, 2014
It’s hard to pinpoint the most tragic aspect of the death of an 8 month old child. However, without a doubt, the most frustrating parts of this senseless loss is that it is in fact the second child of a Pennsylvania couple to die.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible have been down this road before.
The couple defied a court order to get medical treatment for their children following the death of their two-year-old son, Kent. Now they are being jailed for the death of a second, even younger child.
44-year-old Catherine Schaible told the judge that, “My religious beliefs are that you should pray, and not have to use medicine.”
Her 45-year-old husband told the judge, “We believe in divine healing, that Jesus shed blood for our healing and that he died on the cross to break the devil’s power.”
The decision of the couple to once again forego medical treatment resulted in the loss of their infant child Brandon to pneumonia.
Despite the couple’s lawyer claiming that the court order clashed with their fundamental beliefs, Judge Benjamin Lerner was not interested.
“April of 2013 wasn’t Brandon’s time to die,” said Lerner. “You’ve killed two of your children. Not God. Not your church. Not religious devotion. You.”
The couple was sentenced to 3.5 to 7 years for the death of the child, a punishment some may not see as quite harsh enough given the fact that this is the second of the couple’s children to die from purposeful refusal of medical attention.
Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said that the second death was a “foreseeable” tragedy.
“This was going to happen,” said Pescatore. She agreed with the couple’s public defender Mythri Jayaraman that the couple’s beliefs were such that it was likely the remaining children were in danger. That feeling would prove to be correct a few years later.
Pescatore said of the cases that, “Everybody in the system failed these children.”
Is this a matter of the legal system encroaching on “Freedom of Religion” or is this yet another bizarre case of parents killing their kids and blaming their irresponsible actions on religion?
Please share your opinions below.
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