Faith Healers Face Prison for Son’s Death
Herbert and Catherine Schaible are being sentenced Wednesday for death of their 8-month-old son, Brandon. The couple was under court orders to seek medical care for their children after their 2-year-old son, Kent, died of untreated pneumonia in 2009.
A lawyer for Catherine Schaible plans to explore their religious beliefs at the sentencing. The Schaibles are third-generation members of a small Pentecostal community, the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia. Their pastor, Nelson Clark, has said that the couple lost their sons because of a “spiritual lack” in their lives and maintained they would not seek medical care even if another child was critically ill.
“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,” said Herbert Schaible in a 2013 statement. He also said that medicine “is against our religious beliefs.”
A jury had convicted both parents of involuntary manslaughter in Kent’s death. They were put on ten years of probation that included orders to seek medical care if any other child became ill.
The Schaibles have pleaded no contest to third-degree murder in Brandon's death. They have seven surviving children.
Publication Date: February 19, 2014.