A Philadelphia couple who believe in faith healing over medicine and who were on probation in their son’s pneumonia death were charged with murder Wednesday after a second young child died under what a prosecutor called ‘‘eerily similar’’ circumstances.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible ignored a court order to seek medical care if their children needed it, prosecutors said Wednesday. The requirement was a condition of the probation sentence they received after the death of their toddler son four years ago.
First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann says the Schaibles are entitled to their religious beliefs — until it endangers their children.
“How many kids have to die before it becomes extreme indifference to human life?” McCann said in announcing the charges. “They killed one kid already.”
The Schaibles are members and former teachers at the fundamentalist First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia. The church’s website quotes Bible verses purportedly forbidding Christians from visiting doctors or taking medicine and suggests it’s a sin to trust in medicine over faith…
A jury had convicted them of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment after the 2009 death of 2-year-old Kent, who had been sick for about two weeks. Brandon Schaible died of pneumonia in April after suffering from diarrhea and breathing problems for at least a week, and refusing to eat.
“The circumstances are eerily similar,” said Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore, who handled the first trial and pushed for prison time because she feared the couple would not follow the court’s order on medical care…
“I am sorry for your loss. Deeply sorry,” Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner told the couple. “But in all honesty, I am more sorry for the fact that this innocent little child will not be able to grow up to be what he wanted to be.”
A common dicho I hear all the time is that “some parent don’t deserve children”. Well, this is one of those cases where “the children couldn’t possibly deserve their parents”. Or they’d be alive.