Herbert and Catherine Schaible belong to a fundamentalist Christian church that believes in faith healing. They lost their 8-month-old son, Brandon, last week after he suffered from diarrhea and breathing problems for at least a week, and stopped eating. Four years ago, another son died from bacterial pneumonia.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that a decision on charges will be made after they get the results of an autopsy. Catherine Schaible’s attorney, Mythri Jayaraman, cautioned against a rush to judgment, and said the couple are good parents deeply distraught over the loss of another child.
A jury convicted the Schaibles of involuntary manslaughter in the January 2009 death of their 2-year-old son, Kent. The boy’s symptoms had included coughing, congestion, crankiness and a loss of appetite. His parents said he was eating and drinking until the last day, and they had thought he was getting better. The Schaibles were sentenced to 10 years’ probation.
‘Forbidding Christians from visiting doctors’
At a hearing Monday, a judge told the couple they had violated the terms of their probation, noting the Schaibles had told investigators that they prayed to God to make Brandon well instead of seeking medical attention. Prosecutors on Monday sought to have the couple jailed, but Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner permitted them to remain free because their seven other children had been placed in foster care.
Herbert Schaible, 44, and his 43-year-old wife grew up in the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia and have served as teachers there. The church’s website has a sermon titled “Healing — From God or Medicine?” that quotes Bible verses purportedly forbidding Christians from visiting doctors or taking medicine.
Would you opt for prayer over medical treatment if your child got sick? Should Herbert and Catherine Schaible be jailed for the death of their second child?
Source: Michael Rubinkam and Maryclaire Dale, Yahoo News
Image: ABC News