Lawyers ask state Supreme Court to rule on prayer death case
Madeline Kara Neumann works on chalk art during downtown Wausau’s Chalk Fest in 2007. She died after her parents prayed for healing rather than getting medical help for a treatable form of diabetes. Image by Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state attorney tells the Wisconsin Supreme Court a couple caused their daughter's death when they prayed over while she slowly died of diabetes.
Dale and Leilani Neumann were convicted in 2009 of reckless homicide in the death of their 11-year-old daughter, Madeline. Their attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to reverse their convictions, arguing state law protects prayer healers and the statutes aren't clear on when a situation becomes so serious they must seek medical help.
Assistant Attorney General Maura Whelan told the justices Tuesday parents who pray over an ailing child can't be charged with child abuse but their immunity doesn't apply if the child dies.
She says the Neumanns placed Madeline at a substantial risk of death and had to have known they crossed the line.