Guilty of murder: parents who prayed instead of calling doctor
Court judgment may set precedent in 'treatment by prayer' cases
Picture: Washington Post
A mother and father who prayed instead of seeking medical help as their daughter died were properly convicted of homicide, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a decision that dramatically limits legal immunity for parents who turn to God rather than science to heal their children.
The decision marks the first time a Wisconsin court has addressed criminal culpability in a prayer treatment case where a child died. The court ruled 6-1 that the state’s immunity provisions for prayer treatment parents protect them from child abuse charges but nothing else, opening the door to a host of other counts.
“No one reading the treatment-through-prayer provision should expect protection from criminal liability under any other statute,” Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson wrote for the majority….
The Wisconsin case revolves around an 11-year-old girl named Madeline Kara Neumann, known as Kara to family and friends. She died of undiagnosed diabetes on Easter Sunday in March 2008 at her home in Weston, a central Wisconsin village about 140 miles north of Madison.
Kara, who had been growing weak for several weeks leading up to her death, eventually became too sick to speak, eat, drink or walk. Her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, don’t belong to any organized religion or church but identify themselves as Pentecostal Christians and believe visiting a doctor is akin to worshipping an idol, the Supreme Court opinion said.
Source: Washington Post
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