Parents Biblically Beat Child to Death for Mispronouncing Word
Update, October 29, 2010: The November, 2010 trial date has been vacated, and trial delayed until February 28, 2011. Elizabeth Schatz’s attorney has asked for the continuation so lawyers can review the 6,000 pages of evidence already submitted and more yet expected. They remain in custody with bail set at $2M each. — MD
A couple in Paradise, California is charged with murder and torture for allegedly beating their adopted daughters, causing injuries so severe that one of the two died. The other remains in critical condition.
The adoptive parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, subscribe to a Fundamentalist Christian philosophy of using “the rod” as a corrective tool. In this case, the rod is a quarter-inch thick plastic plumbing line.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey is prosecuting the case.
The Schatzes were arrested Saturday morning after their adopted daughter, Lydia, age 7, stopped breathing. She was subsequently pronounced dead.
Her 11-year-old sister, Zariah Schatz, remains in critical condition at a Sacramento children’s hospital, though she is showing some signs of recovery. The two were adopted at the same time with an infant girl, now 3, from the same African orphanage about three years ago,
Prosecutors allege the two victims were subjected to “hours” of corporal punishment by their parents on successive days last Thursday and Friday with a quarter-inch-wide length of rubber or plastic tubing, which police reportedly recovered from the parents’ bedroom.
Police allege that the younger girl was being disciplined for mis-pronouncing a word during a home-school reading lesson the day before she died.
The two young girls reportedly sustained deep bruising and multiple “whip-like” marks on their back, buttocks and legs, which authorities believe resulted in significant muscle tissue breakdown that impaired their kidneys and possibly other vital organs, said Ramsey.
The adopted daughters, from Africa, were subjected to far worse beatings than the Schatz’s biological children.
Ramsey doesn’t think that the Schatzes dreamed this up on their own:
[Ramsey] said investigators are researching a possible connection to an Internet Web site set up by “fundamentalist Christian people” that recommends use of the same whip-like implement “as an appropriate tool for biblical chastisement … to train a child from infancy to make them a happier child and more obedient to God because they are obedient to the will of their parents,” said Ramsey.
The website in question is not noted in the article. We did a little hunting, and believe we’ve found it. Michael Pearl, paranoid fundamentalist Christian whack job, writes in the immensely popular “To Train Up a Child”:
If you want a child who will integrate into the New World Order and wait his turn in line for condoms, a government funded abortion, sexually transmitted disease treatment, psychological evaluation and a mark on the forehead, then follow the popular guidelines in education, entertainment and discipline, but if you want a son or daughter of God, you will have to do it God’s way.
The book has sold over a million copies, and the Pearls’ website, No Greater Joy Ministries, ranks 104,378 in the US on Alexa.com. (By way of comparison, your favorite web site, www.secularnewsdaily.com, comes in at 108,915 in the US. Rankings updated 8/19/11.)
The Schatzes are held on $2M bail, and are due in court in a week and a half to enter pleas against the charges of murder and torture. We’ll keep you posted.