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Pa. couple face prison after sons' prayer deaths

Prayer Death Toddler, Schaible
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Pennsylvania couple who believe in faith-healing face 20 years or more in prison in the death of a second child who died without seeing a doctor.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible are being sentenced Wednesday in the death last year of their 8-month-old son, Brandon. At the time, they were under court orders to seek medical care for their children after their 2-year-old son, Kent, died of untreated pneumonia in 2009.

The Schaibles are third-generation members of a small Pentecostal community, the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia.

A lawyer for Catherine Schaible, 44, plans to explore their religious beliefs at the sentencing. Her 45-year-old husband's lawyer argues that no malice was involved.

The Schaibles have pleaded no contest to third-degree murder in Brandon's death. They have seven surviving children.

"We believe in divine healing, that Jesus shed blood for our healing and that he died on the cross to break the devil's power," Herbert Schaible said in a 2013 police statement. Medicine, he said, "is against our religious beliefs."

A jury had convicted both parents of involuntary manslaughter in Kent's death, and they were put on 10 years of probation that included orders to seek medical care if any other child got sick.

After Brandon's death, an irate judge found they had violated parole.

Prosecutors have described the boys' symptoms as "eerily similar," and said they included labored breathing and a refusal to eat. Catherine Schaible's lawyer, though, said her client tried to feed Brandon during his illness and applied baby powder to keep him comfortable.

Their pastor, Nelson Clark, has said the Schaibles lost their sons because of a "spiritual lack" in their lives and insisted they would not seek medical care even if another child appeared near death.

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stengernc February 19 2014 at 10:26 AM

This is what happens when you are brainwashed into believing that some divine entity will take care of your problems if you just pray and have faith. Then when your kids die you get blamed for not having enough faith. How about we jail the preacher since he is an accessory to involuntary manslaughter as well. Faith based religious teaching remove critical thinking that is necessary to survive in God's real world....this is an excellent but sad example. Wake up folks.....our real world needs critical thinkers more then ever.

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violet753 February 19 2014 at 11:12 AM

Shocking that someone would let their child die because of their stupidity. God gave us the knowledge of medicine to help us. The knowledge of medicine was given to us just like any other knowledge that we have. Why ignore medicine that can help. Praying is good, but it should not be the only thing.
Naturally the Pastor puts all of the guilt on the parents and not himself and his religion. He needs to pray to ask God to improve his intelligence and to be forgiven for children that have died at his leadership.

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Kathleen February 19 2014 at 11:21 AM

Nine children!!! How were they supporting the family?

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1 reply
dalind Kathleen February 19 2014 at 11:41 AM

Perhaps they cling to this ridiculous claim of "faith healing" because they couldn't afford healtcare?

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violet753 February 19 2014 at 11:22 AM

One more thing, it just goes to show that poor sweet innocent little children can be born to the most ignorant people on earth. Now does God do this? Does God control who can have children and who cannot. I think not. For he certainly would not have blessed them with these children.
So many worthy people want children and cannot have them and idiots like them can have 7 and possibly more. Hey, how about us all praying that the idiots of he world cannot have children.

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eusa101 February 19 2014 at 11:25 AM

I'm a Pentecostal too! But if my baby is sick I WILL TAKE HIM TO THE DOCTOR!! Jesus has put doctors on this earth for a reason. This parents actions was not being religious or being spiritual. It is called STUPID AND IGNORANT!!!! Lets see if Jesus safe them from prison.

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motherduck46 February 19 2014 at 11:30 AM

in my opinion there is never a good reason for not getting medical attention for a sick child i think if you believe god wants you to not have a sick child treated my a doctor you do not have the mental ability to have children, take all those poor kids away from nut job parents and maybe they will have a chance at life.

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muffin February 19 2014 at 11:37 AM

Look into their eyes. Devil himself. So sorry for the innocent lives lost. Prison with no parole.

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chaparita0728 February 20 2014 at 12:35 AM

I have said this on many other sites: Religion kills.

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Jonathan... February 20 2014 at 12:35 AM

Just look at them. These aretwo dim bulbs folks.

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otravlin February 19 2014 at 11:43 AM

We can hope that both of these POS's contract some very nasty, painful ailments, we'll "pray" for them while we watch them twich. Hopefully the Pastor will suffer the same fate.

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