Faith-Healing Mother Granted Bail After Murder Charge

Melissa Stusinski

The mother who believed faith-healing would cure her son of pneumonia was granted bail after being charged with murder. The charge came after two of her sons died of the lung infection.

The woman, Catherine Schaible, will be allowed to live in her parents' home under electronic monitoring once her $25,000 bail is paid. Catherine and her husband, Herbert, have been charged with third degree murder in the case.

The couple's eight-month-old son Brandon died in April of pneumonia. They were previously convicted of involuntary manslaughter after their two-year-old son, Kent, passed away from pneumonia in 2009.

The faith-healing mother's seven other children are currently in foster care. Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner explained on Friday that his decision to grant Catherine Schaible was made to help the welfare of the couple's children, who have barely had any contact with their parents.

Lerner added, "These children have one mother and one father, and I don't think it's necessarily a good thing that for months, they have had virtually no contact with either parent. The faith-healing couple are third-generation members of the First Century Gospel Church.

The mother explained in a court-read statement that "we pray and ask to be healed the way that Jesus did when he was on Earth. Herbert added that medicine is against the family's religious beliefs.

Defense attorney Mythri Jayarman also argued that the faith-healing mother was less responsible for her son's death than Herbert, because the church teaches a wife must be "submissive to her husband." But Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore argued that the court shouldn't treat Catherine Schaible any differently than her husband, because, "they both have equal responsibility for that child."

Under questioning, the couple's pastor, Nelson Clark stated that he suggested a day or two before their son passed away that Herbert tell his probation officer about Brandon's illness. However, "he said that if he called anyone, it would be a denial of his faith that God could heal the child."

Do you think the faith-healing mother should have been granted bail?

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