PHILADELPHIA – A fundamentalist couple who prayed over their sick toddler rather than get medical help before his pneumonia death have been ordered to stand trial on manslaughter charges.
Prosecutors believe 2-year-old Kent Schaible succumbed because his parents chose prayer over modern medicine.
But defense lawyers — perhaps mindful of Pennsylvania's strict parental-duty laws — deny the case hinges on religious freedom. They say Herbert and Catherine Schaible did not know their son was dying.
"We're talking about symptoms that mirrored the flu and the common cold," said public defender Francis Carmen, who represents the mother. "The Commonwealth is dragging this (issue) into the courtroom, to persecute them for their minority religious beliefs."
....A day or two before he died, they thought he was improving, as he slept better and ate and drank some. But when his condition worsened, they called their pastor and then a funeral home.
Police later asked why they didn't call a doctor. "They both pretty much said, 'We believe in God for healing. We don't take it ourselves, either,'" Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said Thursday. She believes the child suffered.