Dale & Leilani Neumann Appealed and Lost

This is about Dale & Leilani Neumann, creationists who killed their daughter as a result of a prolonged and agonizing faith-healing program instead of taking her to a doctor for what was a treatable condition.

We first wrote about this deadly duo in Damn You! Damn You All To Hell!, after we learned that the mother had been convicted of the girl’s death. When her husband was convicted in a separate trial we wrote Dale & Leilani Neumann: The Wages of Stupid. In that post we pointed out that their sect, Pentecostalism, is definitely creationist.

Our last post about them was Freak Sentence for Dale & Leilani Neumann, in which we reported that a judge — apparently sympathetic to the beliefs of the parents — sentenced them to only six months — six months! –to be served one month a year for the next six years. And he told the parents that they were “very good people.”

That was in October of 2009; then we lost track of the tale. But it’s back in the news. We found this at the BBC website: US ‘prayer cure’ couple lose appeal over child’s death. M’god — they had been appealing their conviction! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The reckless homicide conviction of a couple whose daughter died after they tried to treat her with prayer, denying her medical help, has been upheld. By 6-1, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled that a law protecting Dale and Leilani Neumann from child abuse charges did not cover their daughter’s death.

A law protecting them — those two? — from child abuse charges? What’s that all about? We’re told:

The Neumanns’ lawyers argued that Wisconsin child abuse laws granted criminal immunity to “prayer-healing” parents, even to the point of creating substantial risk of death.

Hey — family values! What did the state argue? Let’s read on:

Wisconsin lawyers argued that such protection ends when parents realise a child is at serious risk of death.

So it’s okay to pray over a sprained ankle, but it’s not legal to deny reality to the point of death. We continue:

The family first began to pray after Kara became very tired and pale, and her legs turned blue. They continued to do so as their daughter’s conditioned worsened, disregarding suggestions from Leilani Neumann’s mother to bring Kara to a doctor.

We know that from our earlier posts. Here’s more:

Kara slipped into a coma and died. Emergency room officials testified the girl’s condition was easily treatable and her chances of survival had been high “well into the day of her death”.

They say faith can move mountains. Perhaps, but from what we see here, faith can also kill little girls. On with the story:

Dale Neumann testified during his trial that he never thought his daughter would die, and believed that even if she did, Jesus would bring her back from the dead, much like the biblical story of Lazarus.

Didn’t work out very well, did it, Dale?

There’s more to the BBC story, so click over there for the details. Meanwhile, here’s the opinion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court: Wisconson v. Neumann. A quick scan reveals that the statute the prayerful parents were arguing about is 948.03(6), which says:

Treatment through prayer. A person is not guilty of an offense under this section solely because he or she provides a child with treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone for healing in accordance with the religious method of healing permitted under s. 48.981 (3) (c) 4. or 448.03 (6) in lieu of medical or surgical treatment.

We’re not going to go chasing through those other statutes. It’s probably all covered in the court’s opinion. Now that the appeal’s over, the righteous couple can start serving their cruel six-month sentence — one month a year. We hope they don’t find it too inconvenient.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Dale & Leilani Neumann Appealed and Lost

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    The Neumanns unfortunately picked the wrong state to murder raise their child. According to Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty, Inc they could have avoided their onerous 6 month sentences if they had simply taken up residency in one of the states on the following list:

    States with a religious defense to the most serious crimes against children include:

    Idaho, Iowa, and Ohio with religious defenses to manslaughter
    West Virginia with religious defenses to murder of a child and child neglect resulting in death
    Arkansas with a religious defense to capital murder

  2. Two reblogs in two days. Outstanding job 😉

    BTW Why is the British media so much better at reporting American stories than the U.S. media? And why is no one else asking this question?

  3. When will we hear about the ADULT dimwitted religidiot that committed suicide by trying to himself thru prayer???? Or have I missed this event?

  4. I suspect Gov. Walker and his retarded Republican legislature would quickly pass a bill saying this type of action is condoned by Republicans, you know, freedom of religion arguments. Or, maybe they’ll try to blame it on Obamacare.

  5. It may sound cynical but would abortion be OK for these people if justied by religous reasons?

  6. Mark Joseph

    @L.Long:
    Snake handlers?

  7. Mark Joseph

    They say faith can move mountains. Perhaps, but from what we see here, faith can also kill little girls.

    Chillingly beautiful. The best line you’ve ever written, and that’s saying a lot.

  8. OK, I am struggling to reconcile this sad case with the claims of a recent commentator on this blog who, upset by the amount of ridicule found herein for the likes of Ken Ham, included the following claim in a recent post:

    I can readily understand that man is set apart from other creatures, if he is made in the image of God. However. that dignity is removed as soon as we even moot the possibility that we came from primordial soup via the lower animals, through a process of imperceptible changes over billions of years.

    I think it a fair presumption that Dale and Leilani Neumann would happily subscribe to the sentiment above, and similarly insist that a morality recognising human ‘dignity’ and worth
    somehow demands an axiomatic belief that mankind is the product of divine creation (with all evidence to the contrary on this point to be rigorously ignored or denied), whereas the empirical conclusion that we arise from a long, natural process of evolution from simpler life forms somehow “removes” any possibility of human “dignity” and worth.

    So the question comes to this: whose morality better recognised the human worth and dignity of the late Kara Neumann: her Creationist parents, or the scientific practitioners who developed the means that could have saved her life had only they been permitted to administer them?

  9. I can readily understand that man is set apart from other creatures, if he is made in the image of God. However. that dignity is removed as soon as we even moot the possibility that we came from primordial soup via the lower animals, through a process of imperceptible changes over billions of years.

    Some of the problems with this as an argument for creationism.

    1. This fails to distinguish between man, considered as a collective, a population, a species, or a “kind”, and men, each of us individuals. Standard western theism says that each of us stands in a special relationship with his/her Creator and Redeemer. The origins of each individual, as a subject of scientific/naturalistic investigation, is treated by reproductive biology (and sciences like genetics and developmental biology), and if there is any problem with that, then one should not be arguing with evolution, but with reproduction. In brief, this is an instance of a fallacy of composition or division.

    2. It is an undeniable fact that the human body is a close neighbor of the bodies of chimps and other apes in the nested hierarchical taxonomy of the tree of life. There are these possible responses to that fact:
    (a) It is just a massive coincidence, and doesn’t need any explaining. One might say that it is so “just because”, or that “something or other decided to do it this way, and don’t ask why”.
    (b) It is due to common descent with modification.
    (c) It is because our intelligent designer(s) were interested in making humans to be very much like chimps and other apes. There were similar purposes driving the common design. (And maybe we should be telling our kids that, if they want to follow the intentions of their designer(s), they should act like monkeys.)
    (d) It is because our intelligent designer(s) were constrained by the raw materials they were given to work with and by the laws of nature.

    3. Standard western theism says that all things are creatures of God. Not only “man”, but also “chimp” and “tree” and “rock on the heath” are creatures of God. Mere creation does not tell us anything distinctive.

  10. I have only just noticed that the BBC article concludes with a reference to a very similar case:

    In Pennsylvania, a couple has been charged with the death of their infant son from pneumonia after they refused medical care and relied only on prayer. They were already serving 10 years of probation for the death of their two-year-old son in 2009.

    But I can’t find any more details on this other–even more horrific–case. Anyone have any more details?

  11. lanceleuven

    So how was this girl born? Were doctors not involved then? How about scientifically discovered/developed/proved anesthetics?

  12. lanceleuven asks

    How about scientifically discovered/developed/proved anesthetics?

    Snares of The Devil, every one! Hie thee, Brother, from an eternity in the Lake of Fire!!!

  13. Ceteris Paribus

    Megalonyxre: your serial child killer parents question – more info here

  14. @ Ceteris Paribus: many thanks, amigo!

  15. Re the 1st response – Ceteris Paribus: ‘religious defenses to manslaughter’.

    Do these States have any definition of ‘religious’?

    To me, religious faith impies the belief in something that the believer cannot justify on purely rational grounds alone. Hence, a religious defense to manslaughter is one for where the defendent is unable to provide a purely rational defense for their actions.

    Thus you can ony be held guilty if you are abe to give a rational justification for your actions.

    Political Correctness does not allow me to call this madness.

  16. I seem to recall a quote from the Bible where Jesus says something to the effect of, “If you’re sick, you see a doctor…”
    It’s a shame that these people are so hung up on the part of the Bible that says prayers are answered that they ignored Christ’s sensible advice.