Parents Who Prayed as Daughter Died Guilty of Homicide
Wisconsin's supreme court upholds convictions
By John Johnson, Newser Staff | Suggested by WarmWeatherGuy
Posted Jul 3, 2013 2:26 PM CDT
A 2007 file photo of the late Madeline Kara Neumann of Weston, Wisconsin.   (AP Photo/Wausau Daily Herald, Butch McCartney, File)

(Newser) – A Wisconsin couple is headed either to jail or the US Supreme Court after a state court upheld their homicide convictions in the faith-healing death of their daughter, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Dale and Leilani Neumann prayed over 11-year-old Madeline instead of calling a doctor as she died from easily treatable complications of diabetes in 2008. They were convicted of reckless homicide the following year, but their 180-day jail sentences were put on hold as they appealed. The state Supreme Court sided against them this morning, leaving the highest court in the land as their only remaining legal option. It's unclear whether they will appeal.

Their attorney argued they should be shielded from penalty because parents who choose spiritual treatment for their kids can't be charged with child abuse, reports AP. Prosecutors said that's true, but all bets are off if the child dies. The couple also made the case that it was impossible for them to know their daughter was on the brink of death because the symptoms were vague. Yes, and that's the whole the whole point of calling a doctor in the first place, the court concluded. "If we were to adopt the parents' reasoning, no prayer-treating parent would know what point is beyond 'a substantial risk of death' until the child actually stopped breathing and died."

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Showing 3 of 322 comments
beanyncecil
Jul 30, 2013 7:55 AM CDT
I am a Christian but I am outraged that these parents allowed their child to die. Yes, we should pray for our sick loved ones. But we should also seek medical attention. God works through doctors--one of his disciples, Luke, was a physician. At no time did Jesus condemn his profession. In fact, Jesus mentioned that it is the sick who need a physician. Christians are expected to use common sense. Do you pray your body will be nourished or do you eat? Do you pray your body will be warmed, or do you turn on the heat and wrap in a blanket? Why then do some Christians think they can only pray for healing? It's not an either/or. Pray, yes. But also seek medical help.
WillyB
Jul 24, 2013 6:42 PM CDT
One day they'll wake up from their absurd, delusional "faith" and realize that they killed their sweet daughter, and that God had nothing to do with it. May He have pity on their miserable souls.
crankydude
Jul 9, 2013 7:25 AM CDT
I doubt their faith is shattered. Most people suffering with amputations, HIV, cancer, leprosy or any disease are fond of saying "well thank god I am not dead." Thank you god. Thank you thank you thank you. Nobody loves me like you do. You just have a strange way of showing it.