Teenage girl starved to death by religious maniacs

When Hana Williams was adopted from Ethiopia a few years ago, she may have thought her salvation was at hand. Unfortunately, she faced conditions as bad or wrose as any African refugee struggling to survive, thanks to her fundie nutcase parents:

Guardian UK — Investigators said Hana had endured beatings, starvation, being forced to sleep outside and use an outdoor toilet and that she had lost a significant amount of weight since her adoption in 2008. Prosecutors said her 10-year-old brother, who also was adopted from Ethiopia, was similarly mistreated.

The parents kept the family isolated from non-relatives, home-schooled them and followed a harsh child-rearing regimen described in the Christian parenting book To Train Up a Child, investigators said, while adding that religion had been deemed not relevant to the criminal case.

No of course not, not relevant at all .. The book was written by a fundamentalist grifter named Michael Pearl and “advises parents to use objects like a quarter-inch plumbing tube to spank children and “break their will.” It also mentions withholding food and putting children under a cold garden hose.” Pearl has been quoting as laughing at the idea his methods can cause any harm — In 2010 seven year-old Lydia Schatz was beaten to death using the recommended quarter inch tubing after her parents read the same book.


  1. Ichthyic says

    Pearl SHOULD be charged with contributing to the death of a minor.

    maybe even conspiracy to commit murder.

    bet he would stop laughing then.

  2. unbound says

    …investigators said, while adding that religion had been deemed not relevant to the criminal case.


    Er…don’t they normally look at motivation? Or were they afraid that if it got labelled as motivated by religion that the adoptive parents would get away with it? Anyone know the relevant laws in the UK?

  3. badgersdaughter says

    From the article:

    Defense lawyers argued that questionable parenting practices don’t necessarily amount to a crime.

    A pattern of questionable safety practices leading to deaths on the factory floor isn’t necessarily actionable negligence. A pattern of questionable food handling leading to deaths from food poisoning isn’t necessarily a violation of the health code. A pattern of questionable quality control reports leading to an offshore oil spill… I’m disgusted.

  4. says

    @badgersdaughter #6 – There is a reason why lawyers are held in such contempt. In the jury Q&A after a bank robbery trial I was on a few years ago, the defense attorney admitted that he lied his slimy ass off in open court to build his client’s defense, and justified it by saying that lawyers are not put under oath.

    Needless to say, we let him — and the smirking prosecutor — have it with both barrels before leaving. They both seemed rather shaken as we filed out; it seemed that they were not used to the idea that actions have consequences.

  5. mouse says

    @Gregory in Seattle – Your comment (“There is a reason why lawyers are held in such contempt.”) implies that all lawyers are justifiably the target of contempt because of the unethical actions of a few. That’s unfair. There must have been a handful of lawyers who worked hard to bring the Hana Williams case to trial and see it through to a significant sentence against the parents.

  6. cuervodecuero says

    The article should have listed the “parents” as “owners”. The reportage indicates that’s how they saw themselves, ‘saving’ the foreign children from a pre-Christian life.

Leave a Reply