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Wisconsin Parents in 2009 "Prayer Treament" Case To Carry Out Staggered Jail Sentence

When 11-year-old Kara Neumann became critically ill in early 2008, her parents decided to pray instead of seeking treatment. Eventually, when Kara died in March of 2008 of undiagnosed diabetes, her parents were charged with reckless homicide.

Dale and Leilani Neumann of central Wisconsin don’t belong to a church, but identify themselves as Pentecostal Christians. As such, they liken visiting a doctor to worshipping an idol.

As their little girl grew weaker and weaker, she eventually lost the ability to walk, eat, drink, or even speak. Not only did Kara’s parents turn down other family members’ pleas to take the sick child to a hospital, but they also refused to give her Pedialyte, a supplement that combats dehydration in children. To do so would be, according to Leilani, to “take the glory away from God.”

After their daughter’s death, the couple was convicted of second-degree reckless homicide, and was awarded a staggered jail sentence in which one parent would spend every March in jail for the next six years. The other parent would spend every September in jail for the next six years.

This sentence was significantly lower than the 25 years of jail time the couple was potentially facing.

They were also placed on probation, which they've been on ever since.

Now, the Neumann’s appeal to remove the staggered six month jail sentence has been overturned. The Nuemanns will have to start serving their sentence this September.

When the case was first examined directly following Kara’s death, it marked the first time a Wisconsin court had addressed criminal culpability in a prayer treatment case where a child had died.

Huffington Post reports that since 1975, at least 303 children have died from medical treatment being withheld on religious grounds. Doctors have testified that Kara would have had a good chance of living if her parents had simply brought her to a doctor.

Sources: Huffington Post,

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