OROVILLE — A Paradise couple is scheduled to appear in court today on charges of murder and torture in the death of their adopted 7-year-old daughter.
Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz are expected to enter a plea today. They are accused of killing Lydia Schatz and severely beating their 11-year-old adopted daughter, Zariah Schatz.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said he has a direct connection between the Schatz case and No Greater Joy Ministry, a fundamentalist religious organization founded by Michael and Debi Pearl.
He would not disclose the evidence.
Ramsey said Lydia Schatz was held down for several hours by one parent while the other struck her repeatedly with a quarter-inch plumbing supply line. He said it appears they “took turns.”
The use of the tubing is recommended by No Greater Joy Ministry as a spanking instrument.
It is unlikely, however, that the Pearls or their ministry would be held legally accountable.
“I don’t think it would fly,” Ramsey said, reiterating that the Pearls specifically warn against beating children, or spanking in a way that would severely injure children.
Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz are both being held on bail of $2 million.
The case is drawing national media attention. Salon Magazine writer Lynn Harris wrote a second article about the Pearls on Monday, “Godly discipline turned deadly,” in which she outlines the child training practices and highlights the outrage expressed by many conservative Christians.
• Who Is Speaking Out Against Abuse? “Already many homeschool parents and leaders are speaking out, especially raising red flags about the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries.” Links to many articles warning against the disciplinary methods promoted by Michael and Debi Pearl.
• About corporal punishment