The parents of a child who died because he never saw a doctor, despite the fact he was suffering from pneumonia, have been sentenced to between three and a half and seven years in prison.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible had previously watched their 2-year-old son, Kent, die in 2009. Because of this they were ordered to get medical care for their children when it was needed. They were also given 10 years of probation.
However, they defied this ruling and instead simply prayed and comforted over their 8-month year old son, Brandon. Unfortunately, almost four years after the death of their first son, Brandon died 12 months ago of treatable pneumonia.
44-year-old, Catherine Schaible told Judge Benjamin Lerner, “My religious beliefs are that you should pray, and not have to use medicine. But because it is against the law, then whatever sentence you give me, I will accept.” Catherine later went on to admit that she has since change her beliefs.
However, Lerner was obviously apoplectic at the couple’s indecision, stating, “April of 2013 wasn’t Brandon’s time to die. You’ve killed two of your children… Not God. Not your church. Not religious devotion – you.”
Meanwhile, the Schiables were also blamed by their pastor, Nelson Clark, for Brandon’s death too. Clark stated that the duo had a “spiritual lack” in their lives. Herbert and Catherine Schiable are part of an insular Pentecostal community, called the First Century Gospel Church, which is located in northeast Philadelphia.
Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore, who worked for the prosecution on the case noted, “It was so foreseeable to me that this was going to happen. Everybody in the system failed these children.”
45-year-old Herbert Schiable told a police statement last year, “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.”
Meanwhile, Catherine, who admitted that Brandon died in just a few days as his illness became more severe, told the court, “I didn’t know what to do when Brandon was sick, because it was quicker [than Kent's death]. The D.A. is actually right. I feel like I failed as a mother because they’re not alive.”
The Schiables pleaded no contest to the third-degree murder of Brandon. The couple have seven surviving children, who have now been put into foster care. Experts revealed that around a dozen children in the United States die in faith-healing cases every 12 months.