2nd Child Dies After Parents Pick Prayer Over Medicine

Herbert, Catherine Schaible lost first son in 2009

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 23, 2013 12:53 PM CDT

(Newser) – Herbert and Catherine Schaible failed to get medical attention for their 2-year-old son, Kent, in 2009, preferring instead to pray over him. He died of bacterial pneumonia, and they were convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011. But despite the fact that the Schaibles' probation required them to seek medical attention if their remaining children became sick, they chose to treat a second sick child with nothing but prayer as well. The 8-month-old died on Thursday, after experiencing diarrhea and having trouble breathing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

A judge yesterday said the pair—who belong to a fundamentalist church in Philadelphia that believes in faith healing—"grossly and disastrously," not to mention "knowingly, intentionally, hypocritically, and callously" violated that probation. They have not been charged, as authorities are waiting on autopsy results, but they could face a prison sentence as long as 10 years. Their seven other kids were removed from the home; authorities learned of the death after the funeral home the couple contacted called the medical examiner.

This undated photo combination provided by the Philadelphia Police Department shows Herbert and Catherine Schaible.   (AP Photo/Philadelphia Police Department)
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When asked why you didn't call a doctor or seek a medical professional, you said, 'Because we believe God wants us to ask him for healing.' You did that once, and the consequences were tragic. - Judge Benjamin Lerner

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