Neumann Convictions Upheld

Eleven-year-old Madeline Kara Neumann died of undiagnosed diabetes on Easter Sunday in March 2008. She was at her parents’ home in the central Wisconsin village of Weston.

She died because Dale and Leilani Neumann, ignored obvious symptoms of severe illness as their daughter became too weak to speak, eat, drink or walk, choosing to pray rather than take her to a doctor. After the girl died, Leilani Neumann told police God would raise the child from the dead. They genuinely believed that.

Kara would have lived had she received medical care. Insulin and fluids would have saved her life.

Her parents were charged with reckless homicides. But the judge converted a 25 year sentence to a relatively mild “month in jail a year for 6 years”. Basically? 6 months in jail.

The argument was based on a Wisconsin law which protects faith healers. Where parents cannot be charged with child abuse if they provide spiritual treatment in lieu of medical assistance. Why the hell does Wisconsin even have that law. Prayer does not lower your raging blood glucose levels in the way that Insulin does.

And then as I read up, I found out that more than ten states in the USA have protections for faith healers. Why? Fuck! Doctors don’t have this kind of protection. We can be sued. We can lose or licenses. We can go to jail. Why should faith healers not even have to adhere to the “lax” laws of doctors?

In a 6-1 decision, the state Supreme Court found criminal immunity for treatment by prayer has clear limits and that the Neumann case  was ruled correctly.

Firstly? One person on that Supreme Court bench thinks that prayer is an equally valid method of treating a patient as medicine.

Secondly? No one turned around and said “You think prayer has clear limits on what it can heal rather than prayer does fuck all?”.


  1. CaitieCat says

    Who knew? Prayer has little effect on blood glucose levels. Shocking.

    An appropriate conviction, and the sort that should be happening more often to these lethally ignorant people, if they’re going to keep killing their children with their ignorance.

    Personally, i’d rather they just allowed their kids to have the medical care, but when they don’t, this is an appropriate response for the state to take.

  2. eigenperson says

    The dissenter was Prosser, who is dumb enough that he might actually think prayer is a valid way of treating disease.

    In his dissent, he argues that the recitation of facts by the majority opinion makes it seem like the defendants’ actions were worse than they really were. But even in his version of the facts, they had many hours between the time that they realized their daughter was seriously ill and the time she died.

  3. Bruce says

    You ask why. For around a hundred years, the Christian Science church has lobbied every state government in the USA to pass laws that permit their “spiritual healing”. These laws are written so that they don’t mention the C.S. church specifically. So anyone from any “recognized religion” can get coverage to do anything. A few states have modified these laws. But your best assumption is that almost any state still has this.

    You can get more information from the web site Children’s Health Care is a Legal Duty.


  4. Fred C. Dobbs says

    If the kid had died from starvation because she was “disobedient”, or was strangled to death during an “exorcism”, the parents would have gotten the full 25 years. How is this case any different? Denying a child basic needs of survival, whether medical care, safety or food, is equally criminal.

    Darwin Awards are given out to idiots who kill themselves or render themselves incapable of reproducing. Maybe we need Social Darwinism Awards – mandatory sterilization for those who endanger children and other such idiots.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>