A couple who prayed instead of taking their daughter to the hospital as she lay dying at their home were rightfully convicted of homicide, a state attorney told the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday in a case that raises questions about when prayer healing turns criminal.
Attorneys for Dale and Leilani Neumann argued that the couple didn’t know when the state’s legal protections for prayer healing ended and criminal liability began.
But Assistant Attorney General Maura Whelan told the justices that Wisconsin’s religious protections clearly don’t apply when a child dies and the couple caused the death of their 11-year-old daughter, Madeline Kara, who was suffering from undiagnosed diabetes.
A Delaware pediatrician who writes about near-death experiences of children and has appeared on “Oprah” is accused of waterboarding his 11-year-old daughter for two years, according to Delaware State Police.
Dr. Melvin Morse, 58, and his wife Pauline, 40, were arrested Tuesday, a day after their daughter told a child advocate that her father had “waterboarded” her four times between May 2009 and May 2011 while her mother watched and did nothing to stop the abuse, Cpl. Gary Fournier told ABC News.
Delaware’s Child Advocacy Center first became aware of the girl, whose name has not been disclosed, following a July 12 incident in which Morse was charged with third-degree assault for allegedly pulling his daughter out of a car, dragging her across a gravel driveway and spanking her in their Sussex County home, Fournier said.
The girl reported that incident to a neighbor who called police, Fournier said. Morse was later released from custody after he posted $750 in bail.
She later told the child advocate about the alleged waterboarding, police said, triggering the parents’ arrest on Tuesday.