National Group: Faith-based Prosecution is First for Wis.

May 21, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Boston Examiner

Wire Service: AP

The parents charged with reckless homicide for praying while their 11-year-old daughter died of diabetes are the first people in Wisconsin accused of such a crime, according to a national group that monitors faith-based abuse and neglect of children.

At least 309 children have died in the United States in the past 25 years after medical care was withheld on religious grounds, said Rita Swan, executive director of CHILD Inc.

The deaths include Madeline Kara Neumann of Weston, a straight-A student who weighed only 65 pounds when she died from undiagnosed diabetes. Her parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, told investigators she had not been to a doctor since she was 3.

The Neumanns are charged with second-degree reckless homicide in their daughter's Easter Sunday death at the family's rural home.

Prosecutors say the Neumanns were criminally reckless when they prayed instead of taking their daughter to a doctor when she became progressively ill from undiagnosed diabetes.

Leilani Neumann has said the family believes in the Bible, which says healing comes from God, and she never expected her daughter to die.