Dale and Leilani Neumann of Wausau, Wisconsin could have saved their daughter. But they chose to rely on God rather than take their daughter to the doctor. Because they imposed their religious beliefs on their 11-year-old daughter, the young girl died. Yes, the parents have a right to believe as they like, but what about the rights of their daughter? Didn't she have a right to live?
The couple was sentenced yesterday for their part in their daughter's death. They received a sentence of one month in jail per year for the next six years and 10 years probation. And in a weird move the judge, according to an MSNBC report, said he wants them to spend the time "'think[ing] about Kara and what God wants [them] to learn from this." It seems the judge wants them to reflect. After all, why punish people who the judge believes are "very good people?" So, why not just send them to a spa so they can meditate? This "punishment" does not seem to fit the crime.
It was reported that the couple could have received up to 25 years in prison for second-degree homicide for allowing their daughter to die of diabetes, which was determined to be treatable. Back in early 2008, the parents opted for faith healing when their daughter fell sick rather than taking her to the doctor where her diabetes could have been diagnosed and treated.
Though it seems the judge was sympathetic to the couple, the prosecution was reportedly not nearly so forgiving. They maintained that the couple "recklessly killed their youngest of four children by ignoring obvious symptoms of severe illness as she became too weak to speak, eat, drink or walk." The judge said that they were there because some believed the parents made their daughter a "martyr" to their faith.
And what of charges of neglect and abuse? Imagine the agony that defenseless little girl endured prior to her death. What kind of parents can sit back and watch their child suffer like that? At what point does a rational person become aware of the fact that prayer isn't working and elect to seek some effective means of help for their dieing child?
The judge stayed the sentences while the convictions are appealed.
Should these parents get such a light sentence because they were motivated by their religion to refuse their daughter medical attention? Should neglectful parents really be allowed to hide behind their religion as an excuse? Again, the question arises - what about the rights of the child?