Faith-Healing Parents Arrested After Second Child Dies From Lack of Medical Care

schaible_ap_296I have previously written columns about Herbert and Catherine Schaible, who allowed their child to die pursuant to their religious beliefs of faith healing. They received probation for the death of Kent Schaible, 2, who died of bacterial pneumonia. They were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. Now, after being given 10 years probation conditioned on maintaining medical treatment for their children, they have allegedly killed another child through neglect in refusing basic medical care.


The 8-month-old boy died last week after suffering with diarrhea and breathing problems for days.

I previously wrote how courts are endangering children by handing out comparatively light sentences for deaths caused by religious beliefs. This tragic death reportedly occurred because the parents were allowed to avoid jail and to continue to raise children based on the promise of medical attention. These children are not given a say in such beliefs imposed by parents to their peril. Seven remaining children were placed back in the care of these parents and it is now down to six.

Source: Thv11

41 thoughts on “Faith-Healing Parents Arrested After Second Child Dies From Lack of Medical Care

  1. Believe what you want but when those beliefs put other people in danger that is where freedom of religion ends. When your religion allows your children to die get another religion.

  2. Justice Holmes,

    Religious belief is protected. Religious practice not so much. While we have laws in place for child endangerment, I think a law specifically tailored to such forms of abuse hiding behind the mask of religious belief could be done in a Constitutionally permissible way. The time for it is now.

  3. This whole affair about allowing a parent the right to withhold medical care that would have otherwise saved the life of a moribund child on account of some wacko religious beliefs is totally unacceptable and akin to state sponsored infanticide.

    What ever happened to In Loco Parentis? If we make religious honour killings illegal why do we allow children such as in this article to die? It is for the same reason, death by religion.

    Cut out the religious aspect of it. If a parent doesn’t reasonably provide for the basic health requirements, especially life threatening, the state should remove the child and provide the care needed.

    If the state found a child near death from starvation due to a neglectful parent, it would almost be reflexive in how fast the child would be taken into medical care / foster care. But, a medical condition that is equally exigent, and religion seems to smooth things over.

    But look in this example, another dead child, totally preventable. I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere there is some Child Protective Service wonk that allowed this to happen.

  4. Religion shouldn’t get special exemptions. Sure the US constitution prohibits the state from passing laws specific to religions but all other laws should still apply regardless. It sickens me that the religious keep getting special dispensation for believing in nonsense.

  5. I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and as much as I wanted to be a good witness, I lived in mortal fear that I would need blood one day and not get it because of my mom’s religious convictions and my dad’s passivity in the face of it.

    Children should not have to live in fear that they will get a simple medical issue that they can die from-and those babies-they didn’t even have the chance to get old enough to speak up for themselves. I could and I eventually left of my own accord, but children should not be subject to religious practice that endangers them-no matter what. EVER.

  6. I do not know how one can call for less government interference in ones private life and then demand that the government take parenting rights away from people based on their firmly held personal beliefs. Where would you draw the line? Even if you think it is clear in this case it may only be clear because you already know the outcome.

    This bit from Tim Minchin is a bit long, the first 5 minutes are the set up for the song that follows. But it does put a good job of evaluating the worth of mumbling to an invisible sky wizard:

  7. “Frankly, I do not know how one can call for less government interference in ones private life and then demand that the government take parenting rights away from people based on their firmly held personal beliefs.” What if they firmly believe that their children should be naked and unkept at all times? What if they firmly believe that their children should eat only grass? What if they firmly believe that their children be sold for sex? Religion is no excuse for being inhuman…..

  8. Frankly 1, April 24, 2013 at 6:28 am

    I do not know how one can call for less government interference in ones private life and then demand that the government take parenting rights away from people based on their firmly held personal beliefs.
    ================================
    The issue is not “parenting rights” it is “parenting wrongs.”

  9. Surely all parents have the right to raise their children their way. With that right an obligation is borne. The obligation to nurture and protect.

    When a parent abuses their child in any way it is time for society (Child Protective Services) to step in. They should have been closely monitored by CPS, right?

  10. I find all the comments against the parents quite interesting on a web site that normally holds civil liberties to such a high regard. It is easy to throw out examples of abuse (in the guise of religion) and say prosecute. But life is not always so tidy. There are plenty of cases that are on the edge where the state takes control and (IMHO) should not have. Be careful what you wish for. Do you really want an all powerful state that neglects your religious beliefs? Where is the line?

  11. Since they were on probation….This I call a failure of the system…. The Agent should have made house calls as well as have Child Protective Services involved closely monitoring this situation…..Yes, raff….this is one of those situations where an eye for an eye should be meted out….But, I am caught in a quandary where I think the government that governs least governs best…..

  12. raff/AY,

    I think this problem narrows down to a prime function our government should serve but often does a poor job of serving for a variety of reasons: the duty of society to protect its weakest members. In this particular instance the duty to protect minors from abuse by adults. Given their past? You bet CPS should have been all over the Schaibles. It’s not as if they hadn’t been previously convicted involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment and given 10 years probation conditioned on maintaining medical treatment for their children. Speaking of which, where in Hell was their PO on this? He/she should have been keeping an eye on them so long as they had minor children under their control for the duration of the probation considering said probation was conditional. A double systemic failure.

  13. “A double systemic failure.”

    Most of our institutions have failed us primarily due to meeting illegal acts with blind eyes.

  14. Life begins at perception. There two need to be sterilized and possibly sterilize their kids. Mom and dad need to do some more time. At least until the youngest kid is 21 or so. Somebody needs to say a prayer. A prayer that the suggestions that I just made are implemented. As Dog is my witness.

  15. Probation officers screw up sometimes. In the 1970’s, when I worked @ Leavenworth Penitentiary, there was an inmate named Phillip Garrido. I had no specific recollections of him. However, a few years back in Ca., one of the worst probation malpractices was discovered. This involved Garrido and his equally despicable wife being arrested for having kept Jaycee Duugard as a sex slave in their backyard tent for a decade. The probation officer did make home visits, but never walked into the back yard!! When I saw this animals picture when the story broke I said to my wife..”I know this guy.” When it came out he was @ Leavenworth in the 70’s, I knew that was where I knew him. I’m really good w/ faces. This anecdote can be corroborated by news accounts, and my prior comments about working @ The Hot House[the nickname for Leavenworth and a great book about bit].

    This case is different, @ least from what I’ve read to date. It seems this poor child died from a sickness that probably was ongoing for maybe a week, almost certainly not a month. Probation supervision, except in rare circumstance, is predicated on monthly visits. First degree sexual predators have more frequent visits. I am not saying the probation officer was not culpable. I am saying there’s @ least an even chance that the timing was just bad for the visit. How the hell could the PO know the kid had diarrhea?

    The point made by Mr. Turley about light sentences in these circumstances is absolutely correct. The courts are usually very reluctant to sever parental rights..as they should be. Hindsight shows they should have the last time. The MUST get it right this time.

  16. Again occurs to me what Justice Holmes said: “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” Seems to me your religious practices end when it puts another in danger. This has nothing to do with religious beliefs but how one lives in a society and cares fro others including one’s own children.

  17. Dean Fox – “Religion shouldn’t get special exemptions.”

    It should for personal practice, but the religious should not be able to impose it on others.

    If one of those idiot “parents” (or any other religious moron) died after refusing medical care, there’s nothing wrong with that. But murdering one’s own children, murdering kids who aren’t old enough to consent to refusing treatment, that’s unacceptable.

    Even money says the parents get medical care for themselves, but not their kids. And if they do, this case should definitely be a first degree murder trial.

  18. And I am still amazed at those that so quickly want to do away with civil liberties because someone’s religion is different than their own. A refusal to take blood transfusions is a classic example of where it may save a life but is against many persons individual beliefs. Is your desire to save every life worth destroying a persons religious liberty? Is not your desire to impose a blood transfusion a “religious” preference on a child that is different than the parents? Who should make this religious preference decision, you or the kids parents? I guess the bottom line is I am willing that some kids die when they could have easily been saved to keep the government out of my “religious” beliefs. In this case, I do not know the facts fully enough (even knowing a prior conviction) to weigh a blame on the parents or not. I would much rather err on the side of freedom than government domination.

  19. Paul,

    You really should read Reynolds v. U.S.. Religious belief cannot be legislated. Religious practices can. Or do you think that if I worshiped Tlaloc that I should be allowed to perform human sacrifice to make it rain? It’s what my religion would demand. Why can’t I do it? Because my rights end where others rights begin. No one is telling anyone they cannot believe what they want, just that they cannot harm others based on those beliefs. These are minor children and, yes, parents have a right to raise children in their religious tradition but in the end? The child grows up and can choose for themselves. Until that time, they should be protected from harm by the religious choices of adults. We have laws protecting children from the actions of adults already just like we have laws against murder. While I’m a maximized liberty kind of guy, the reality of it is that under the social compact model of government rights are rarely – almost never – absolute. This includes Free Exercise.

  20. The Free Exercise Clause does not come into play here. There is a compelling state interest in protecting the health and safety of children. It is clear that Mr. and Mrs. Schaible understood that they were required to seek medical care for their children because that was one of the agreed terms of their probation. They violated those terms, resulting in the death of a second child. As a consequence, I anticipate the following:

    (a) Their remaining children will be removed from their custody (I believe that they have five or six other children).
    (b) Their probation will be revoked.
    (c) They will be adjudged guilty of some form of manslaughter in connection with the latest death.
    (d) They will go to prison.

  21. Memo to Paul: you do not have a constitutional right to allow your child to die in order to protect your freedom of religion. That has never been the law. Contrary to the beliefs in some religious circles, children are not the property of their parents; They may not be used for the sexual pleasure of their parents. They may not be sold into marriage. They may not be beaten to death for disobedience. They may not be denied an education or medical care.

    If it weren’t for the fact that we live in an age in which people actually argue that for-profit corporations can engage in the exercise of religion, we wouldn’t even be having this absurd discussion.

  22. Ditto what Mike A said…

    I will add that in the removal hearing that it is a slam dunk for the prosecutor…. There will be Three trials set one to terminate the remaining children, unless they voluntarily relinquish there rights, the second one will be probation revocation, unless they admit responsibility. And the third should be held after the probation revocation in order to establish guilt for the death of the second child.

    At sentencing, the trial for the causation if the second child the sentence should run consequetive to the sentence of the probation revocation…. Which means they will be spending a long time in the prison system…

  23. My hope and prayer is that there are some sane relatives to care for these kids. Foster care is a crap shoot @ best.

  24. I’m reminded of the old joke about the man of faith who drowned in a flood, refusing rescue in lieu of his faith. When he reached heaven, he asked “what happened, I believed and prayed and still I died.”
    God replied “I sent two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?”

    There were EMTs, ambulances, and hospitals, what more did they want?

  25. Mike A, your arguments are correct and your frustration is well placed and mirrors my own. You bring up a good point, they agreed to seek aid for their other children when needed as a condition of their probation. They did not.

    Srsly, did anyone not see that coming? They already let one child die for their faith, did anyone in the system not understand that in their system of priorities their god and his dictates was paramount? That the dictates of a lesser authority (a mere court or agreement therewith) would be dismissed when push came to shove? Those kids should have been taken out of the parents custody after they showed themselves unfit to care for them. That should be SOP in every case of this kind.

    I think it’s also at its heart an issue of property rights. While the law does give some good measure of autonomy to children through restraints on what parents may and may not do with and to them, I suspect that at the lowest levels of law enforcement the attitude that children belong TO their parents prevails.

  26. Why didn’t they just admit they can’t afford medical care? With 5 or 6 kids i can totally see that.

    Despite the pleas to sanity, logic and the law, unfortunately parents impose their particular brand of insanity on their children all the time. Whether it’s neglect, exposing them to substandard nutrition, or poor quality education it happens to most of us because we’re born into this omnicidal set of living arrangements that’s completely unsustainable – and the law is written to keep it that way (for example, mandatory indoctina…, er, education).

    i agree that these two people, having pulled this off once already, should not be allowed to raise their remaining kids, but that just subjects them to even more insanity and is bound to affect their worldview, mental state and possibly health and well-being due to the problems of foster care. It’s just sad, like so much else that’s wrong with human civilization. The children lose as usual despite what happens to their demented parents.

  27. As a person that believes God created everything, I believe that to include medicine, medical advancement, etc. While I also believe miracles are possible, maybe this couple should consider that modern day medicine and the ability to use it for healing is in itself a miracle. You won’t find a verse in the Bible that tells you whether or not to seek medical care. Inferring that a verse tells you to pray instead of seeking medical treatment most likely means you have read that passage out of context. Peace!

  28. Tom, Courts try and find family that will accept responsibility first. However, w/ four kids that will be REAL tough.

  29. On the flip side

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2316783/5-month-old-taken-away-parents-wanting-second-opinion-sick-son.html?ICO=most_read_module

    Couple claim their sick five-month-old boy was taken away by police simply because they asked doctor’s for a second opinion

    Anna and Alex Nikolayev had a bad experience at a Sacramento, California hospital so they took son Sammy to another area doctor
    Though the first hospital was discussing heart surgery, the second OK’d the family to head home
    That’s where police showed up the next day and wrenched Sammy from Anna’s arms

  30. This is for Kevin–from your April 25th 11:49am post.

    With all due respect, Kevin–for your beliefe that I do not share–there is a fundamental flaw in your logic. Your post assumes that it is some version of a Christian Bible that these people simply ‘misread.’ The larger issue is when do Religious Freedoms trump the Safety of innocent Minors–and vice versa. What if their Bible was indeed different and specifically prohibited getting medical treatment for their injured children? Then would you be fine with them allowing their children to die?

    From your post, you seem like a reasonable person–so I think that you would agree that despite the scripture in their ‘Bible’ that you would want to protect innocent children from dying while in the care of fanatics.

    If I start a religion that says that it is OK to sacrifice my first born son on an altar–by stabbing him and burning him (Not a huge stretch–since the Christian Bible does offer such stories on some level) would you allow me to do it–since it was my Religion? If my Religion thought of women as chattle so I felt that it was OK to rape your daughter–but compensate you with a couple of goats, a sheep and a calf to be square–would that work for you–since I was simply following my Religious beliefs?–Again, such things are referenced in the Christian Bible.

    This is not and wilol never be about any one religious belief–or set of customs. It will always be about when we draw the line between how much we respect the right of others to worship how they please and when we choose to intervene and set boundaries.

    Me? It’s simple. If someone other than you–especially a child can die from the consequences–then to hell with your beliefs.

    Get real–there has to be a line in the sand and wouldn’t you agree that it should end at children dying unecessarily?

    If your religion says that you are to commit suicide if you ever sin by having pre-marital sex–then by all means-have at it. Kill yourself if you think that in death that will bring you closer to your God. But if your religion also stipulates that you must kill the other participant in the sexual act–then that is Murder. I draw the line when your insanity endangers others.

    How can anyone with cognitive abilities possibly disagree with that position?

  31. Wow That Is So Sad. I HopE The Government Makes A Law That ProhibIts Refusing Medical Care For Religious Reasons Or Any Reasons To Children. Mental Health And Regular Health.

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