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Faith healing parents violate probation, second child dies

Herbert and Catherine Schiable
Herbert and Catherine Schiable
Pennsylvania Police Department

A child is dead in Philadelphia after faith healing parents Herbert and Catherine Schaible failed to get medical attention for their 8-month-old son. The child died last week after suffering with diarrhea and breathing problems for days before succumbing to his illness. Adding insult to injury, the couple was already on probation after a jury convicted them of involuntary manslaughter in 2010 for the faith healing death of their 2-year-old son, Kent.

At a hearing yesterday, April 22, Judge Benjamin Lerner said the parents violated the most important condition of their probation: to seek medical care for their remaining children. Judge Lerner said the parents "grossly and disastrously," not to mention "knowingly, intentionally, hypocritically, and callously" violated their probation. Judge Lerner went on:

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.

Media reports indicate the Schaibles attend the First Century Gospel Church, a fundamentalist congregation that believes in faith and prayer over science and medicine for the treatment of illnesses and injuries.

Before the recent and tragic death of their son, the Schaibles were four years into a 10-year probation sentence resulting from the faith healing death of their 2-year-old son Kent from bacterial pneumonia in 2009 . As part of their sentence for the involuntary manslaughter conviction, the couple was ordered to seek regular medical attention for their surviving seven children.

NPR reports the Schaibles have lost custody of their other children. Authorities will decide whether or not to bring criminal charges against the couple after the medical examiner’s report is completed.

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