Video: Punishing kids in the name of religion

On Anderson Cooper (CNN) tonight Gary Tuchman investigates adults who say they’re following the word of God when beating children, sometimes to death.

Larry and Carri Williams, the couple refered to in this report, are accused of starving their adopted 13-year-old Ethiopian-born daughter and locking her outside in the cold, where she died from exposure.

They have pleaded not guilty to homicide and child abuse charges.

KVAL TV reported

the night she died, she was out in the yard naked on a rainy evening, with temperatures in the low 40s.

Further investigation revealed that Hana had a number of injuries on the night she died, including a large lump on the head, bloody marks and injuries “consistent with disciplinary impacts with a switch,” according to court documents released Friday.

Those same documents describe the hellish life that Hana endured in the months before her death — which included systematic withholding of food, forced times outdoors in the cold or locked in a dark closet, interspersed with regular spankings or beatings with a plumbing tool. […]

A witness told investigators that the Williams got their ideas for the disciplinary measures from a book, “How to Train Up Your Child,” which recommends switchings with a plumbing tool, cold water baths, withholding food and putting children out in cold weather as forms of punishment.

The controversial book “To Train Up A Child,” by Michael and Debi Pearl of ‘No Greater Joy Ministries’ has previously featured in a murder investigation.

In February 2010 Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, from Paradise, California, were arrested in the beating death of one child and the severe beating of another.

After pleading guilty in April this year, Kevin Schatz was sentenced to two life terms for second-degree murder and torture. Elizabeth Schatz was sentenced to 13 years, four months for voluntary manslaughter and infliction of unlawful corporal punishment.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey examined ‘No Greater Joy Ministries’ during the investigation but eventually said he didn’t believe the Pearls could be held criminally liable in connection with the Paradise girl’s death because they had “warned against injury to a child.”

Probable cause affidavit in Hanna Williams case (PDF)
DA links fundamentalist “training” to Paradise girl’s death (Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz)
Ramsey examines ministry connected to girl’s death (Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz)
Dead child’s mom sought discipline tips (Lynn Paddock)
Preacher’s parental advice raises abuse questions

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday October 26, 2011.
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