Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Second Child of Faith-Healing Couple Dies While Parents Are On Probation For Earlier Death

The Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer yesterday reported on the probation-violation hearing in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia in the case of Herbert and Catherine Schaible. The couple-- members of the First Century Gospel Church that calls for prayer rather than medical care-- did not seek medical help for their 8-month old son who died last week after days of breathing problems and diarrhea. The couple told police: "Our religion tells us not to call a doctor."  In 2011, the couple were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and placed on probation after their 2-year old son died when they failed to seek medical care for his pneumonia. A condition of their probation was that they seek medical care in the future whenever any of their children became ill. (See prior posting.) Philadelphia's child welfare agency has now placed the couple's 7 other children in foster homes. Prosecutors are awaiting the medical examiner's report in the most recent death before deciding whether to charge the couple criminally.

Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services Law, Sec. 3490.4 provides that a child will not be deemed to be abused where the parent has not sought medical care because of seriously held religious beliefs. However the county may monitor the child and seek court-ordered medidal intervention.