Mr & Mrs Neumann in court: Wausau, Wisconsin.
Story from BBC World News
A couple who believed that the power of healing comes from God were sentenced today for failing to seek medical assistance while their eleven year old daughter lay dying of a treatable, though undiagnosed, form of diabetes in 2008. Dale and Leilani Neumann, of Wisconsin, prayed instead of calling a doctor, and did not call the emergency services until their daughter Madeline (for some reason know as Kara) had stopped breathing.
The couple could each have been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison for neglect. Instead, Judge Vincent Howard gave each of them six months, to be served at one month per year for six years, with one parent serving a month in March and one a month in September.
Justice is served eh?
When passing sentence, Judge Howard said that this would give them each time to "think about Kara and about what God wants you to learn from this."
He added that they were "very good people, raising their family, who made a bad decision, a reckless decision".
He also said "God probably works through other people, some of them doctors." Presumably without even a hint of irony.
The couple were also given a ten-year probation ordering them to allow a nurse to see their two surviving children (yes, thats right, they weren't taken away) every three months, and had to agree to call a doctor in the event of a serious injury.
How tragic is this? A couple allow their daughter to die because of what tbey believe, and the Judge pats them on the back and says well done, just believe a little more carefully next time. This really makes me so sick I can hardly bear to think about it.
In their 'defence' the parents apparently said that they believed the power to heal came from God, and did not expect their daughter to die as they prayed for her. No shit. well that's a good defence. An' when it's rainin', I don' expect to get all wet 'cus I'm prayin' to be all snug an' dry an' all, but dang it if I don' go an get all wet anyways.
Jay Kronenwetter, Mr Neumann's lawyer, was asked in a BBC interview if he thought his client had got off lightly.
"My client sees spiritual treatment as the proper medicine and I suspect the people who want harsher punishment see Western medicine as the proper medicine, I guess therein lies the difference." He told the BBC World Service.
You betcha, shit for brains, therein lies the difference alright, the difference between having even a vague clue about what's real and what's not. Sadly in this case what's not real turns out out to be no less lethal for it.
"My clients just happen to have a belief that is very outside of our social norm." He said. Well, that's OK then, they believe, and that's what matters, right?
The negligent murderers say they continue to trust in God, and are appealing against their convictions.