DA says Wis. girl's diabetic death was 'needless'

This seems to be a freedom of religion case.

The mother of a diabetic 11-year-old girl knew her daughter was dying but disregarded advice from other family members to seek medical attention, prosecutors said Saturday.

Leilani Neumann, 41, told a friend that “she sensed the spirit or Angel of Death present at her home” shortly before her daughter Madeline died, Marathon County Assistant District Attorney LaMont Jacobson said in opening statements.

Prosecutors contend any reasonable parent would have known something was wrong. They said Neumann, who believes healing comes from God, recklessly killed her daughter.

Neumann sent an e-mail saying, “Help, our daughter needs emergency prayer,” but refused advice from her mother-in-law to rush the girl to a doctor," he said.


At what point does a parent’s religious beliefs end and the welfare of a child begin?

There is plenty of case law on this issue. Because of the case law, I would expect this to be resolved before it goes to trial.

Okay, I am not familiar with the case law. What will be the outcome?

Researching this I found Wisconsin has a faith healing exemption, so it is possible that the parents will be found not guilty.

Case law for states without faith healing exemptions: SCOTUS Prince vs Massachusetts (1944) “The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death.” “Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow that they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves.”

At what point does a parent’s religious beliefs end and the welfare of a child begin?

When the child’s welfare is directly endangered.

The faith healing law lets the parent’s choose religious healing over real medicine, it doesn’t absolve them from harm that is done from their decision. This is why the mother is now being prosecuted… because while praying for something like the flu to go away probably won’t matter, praying for diabetes to go away is verging on insane.

Are you sure you want to say that? What if the child is homosexual and the parents are fundamentalist Christians? The parents believe that their child is demon-possessed or otherwise hell-bound and need social/religious intervene to cure their child? Should the state intervene in such a case?

My sil - before I married into the family - allowed her dd to die of cystic fibrosis. She was 1 of 3 with the disease, but withheld meds only from the girl because her pastor said God was going to heal her. A son died when a teen because he (on the advice of his parents) refused a heart/lung transplant. The remaining son, now in his late 20s, is doing fine on his meds.

All this in Wisconsin. I can’t understand it.

A similar story is in Minnesota:

A judge issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for the mother of a 13-year-old boy resisting chemotherapy after the pair missed a court hearing on his welfare.

The cancer is considered highly curable with proper treatment, but Daniel quit chemo after a single treatment and with his parents opted instead for “alternative medicines,” citing religious beliefs. That led authorities to seek custody. Rodenberg last week ruled that Daniel’s parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser, were medically neglecting their son.

The Hausers, who have eight children, are Roman Catholic. They also believe in the “do no harm” philosophy of the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods advocated by some American Indians.


For those who might be interested, the trial just wrapped up and the sentence was a 10-year probation term, including 6 non-sequential months in jail…

…in other words, a complete slap on the wrist.

Here’s more info:

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