Alberta couple who let son die of meningitis found guilty.

David and Collet Stephans

David and Collet Stephans

Back in 2012 an Alberta, Canada couple were brought up on charges of “failing to provide the necessaries of life” after their 19-month old son died of meningitis. It seems David Stephan and his wife Collet don’t believe in traditional medicine and instead insisted on using home remedies to cure what they thought was a case of the flu or croup even though a family friend who is a nurse said it was likely meningitis.

Their case finally went to trial in March of this year:

In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion, garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.

Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the police officer that they prefer naturopathic remedies because of their family’s negative experiences with the medical system.

It took having their son stop breathing to get them to call for an ambulance. He was airlifted to a local hospital and put on life support for 5 days until it was clear he wasn’t going to recover. He suffered for two and a half weeks before he stopped breathing. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that David works for a  nutritional supplements company.

Yesterday the jury came back with a guilty verdict:

The four-man, eight-woman jury had been deliberating since Monday afternoon. There was a gasp in the courtroom as the decision from the jurors came down. Observers in the courtroom’s gallery started to cry.

The defence argued the couple were loving, responsible parents who simply didn’t realize how sick the little boy was.

The Crown said the Stephans didn’t do enough to ensure Ezekiel received the medical help he needed. The prosecution noted that the Stephans had been warned by a friend who was a registered nurse that the boy probably had meningitis.

The maximum penalty for failing to provide the necessaries of life is five years in prison.

Normally in cases of parents letting their sick kids die rather than getting them medical attention it’s due to religious reasons and often the parents get off because of that. I’m not sure if it’s because this is Canada or the fact that the reasoning these folks used was not religious in nature that they ended up being convicted, but it makes for a refreshing change of pace. Sentencing hasn’t been announced yet, but with any luck they’ll get the maximum to give them time to reconsider some of their deeply held beliefs.

I’m often asked what’s the harm in letting people hold onto their ignorance. This is a prime example of said harm. Alas it’s often their kids who end up suffering the consequences of that ignorance.

Faith healing idiots who let son die are headed to prison.

Hey, remember back in April of last year when I wrote about Herbert and Catherine Schaible, the two idiots who decided prayer was the only appropriate way to deal with their 8-month-old son’s pneumonia? How this was the second kid they let die because they believe prayer is better than medicine when it comes to dealing with illness?

Mr. and Mrs. Dumbass

Mr. and Mrs. Dumb-ass

Well there’s some good news! They’re finally headed to prison:

SAYING THAT IT was they who killed their son and not God or religious devotion, a judge yesterday sentenced a Rhawnhurst couple to 3 1/2 to 7 years in state prison for praying for their pneumonia-stricken baby instead of following a court order to take him to a doctor.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible each apologized for the April death of 7-month-old Brandon and said despite their religious beliefs in prayer over medicine, they would take their surviving children to doctors in the future.

Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner also sentenced the couple to 30 months of supervised probation after they are released from prison.

Of course they made the promise of taking their kids to the doctor after the first time they let one die of a treatable disease so you’ll pardon me if I’m skeptical that they’d actually keep a promise they’d already broken. Six of the seven surviving kids are minors and currently in foster care. With any luck they’ll reach adulthood before these morons get out of prison.

And to think my mom only ever hired a clown for my birthday parties…

… and she didn’t even do that until I was 21 years old!

Cops: Mom charged after stripper party – Times Union.

SOUTH GLENS FALLS — Police arrested the mother who hired two strippers for her son’s 16th birthday party, according to the Glens Falls Post-Star.

The newspaper reported that Judy H. Viger, 33, of Gansevoort, was charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The Nov. 3 party at Spare Time Bowling Alley featured two exotic dancers performing for partygoers as young as 14. The dancers stripped to thong underwear and bras and gave lap dances to some of the teenagers. A photo taken with a cellphone camera shows an upside-down dancer with a teen’s head between her knees and her head between his legs.

At least she meant well.

Teaching your kids about sex can be difficult.

As for this mom, I’m a little torn about what she did. Her son is 16. Chances are he’s already had sex a few times by that age. In Michigan he’s at the age of consent, though in New York (where this took place) he’s still a year away.

Personally, I probably wouldn’t hire a stripper for my kid. For one I have a daughter, but even if I had a son I’d probably still not do it. Not because I think its wrong, but because he’d probably find it awkward. It’s similar to watching a sex scene in an R-rated movie with your parents in the room. It’s just awkward. But maybe this kid and his mom don’t find such things awkward.

If the mom didn’t let the parents of the other kids know about this ahead of time then I can definitely see why they might be pissed, but if they knew and didn’t have a problem with it…   well…

Granted I think 14 is a bit young for this sort of thing, but these women stayed in their bras and thongs. We live in an age when they can see as much in the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show which aired last December on CBS at 10PM EST. True, the Victoria Secret girls weren’t shaking their money-makers in anyone’s face, but it’s only slightly more upscale.

At best I can only say that it’s not what I would’ve done, but the fact that someone else did doesn’t outrage me.