Fundamentalist Christian couple held on $2M bail for beating their adopted child to death in Paradise, California

Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz of Paradise, California, were charged with murder and torture for allegedly beating their two adoptive daughters, causing injuries so severe that one of the two died. The other remains in critical condition.

The Schatz family believed in a religious philosophy that espouses corporal punishment to “train” children to be more obedient to their parents and God, using “the rod” as a corrective tool. In this case, the rod is a quarter-inch thick plastic plumbing line.

Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz

Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz

Neighbours said the Schatz family seemed to be a prime example of a Christian loving family.

The following video is an interview in the Schatz’s home in 2007, when Kevin spoke about his love of children and their wait on the eighteen-month long adoption process, when they declared to be anxious to expand their family.

The couple had six biological and three adopted children, of which the three later are home-schooled.

Police said the children were disciplined and beaten for not spelling words correctly. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey is prosecuting the case.

The three children were adopted from Liberia in 2007, when Kevin was interviewed by the NBC at the time and declared his love of children, and were subjected to far worse beatings than the Schatz’s biological children. The other children in the home said the same rubber or plastic tube was used on all of them “as a standard method of discipline, but certainly not to the extent of these two girls”.

As reported by the MediaNews Group Northern California,

The Schatzes were arrested Saturday morning after their adopted daughter, Lydia, age 7, stopped breathing. She was subsequentlypronounced dead.

Her 11-year-old sister, Zariah Schatz, remains in critical condition at a Sacramento children’s hospital, though she is showing some signs of recovery. The two were adopted at the same time with an infant girl, now 3, from the same African orphanage about three years ago,

Prosecutors allege the two victims were subjected to “hours” of corporal punishment by their parents on successive days last Thursday and Friday with a quarter-inch-wide length of rubber or plastic tubing, which police reportedly recovered from the parents’ bedroom.

Police allege that the younger girl was being disciplined for mis-pronouncing a word during a home-school reading lesson the day before she died.

The two young girls reportedly sustained deep bruising and multiple “whip-like” marks on their back, buttocks and legs, which authorities believe resulted in significant muscle tissue breakdown that impaired their kidneys and possibly other vital organs, said Ramsey.

The Salon News made an interesting report showing how such torture techniques are not only common, but actively taught to parents by Fundamentalist Christian pastors,

Saying no to “timeouts,” some fundamentalist Christians “train up” their children by carefully hitting them with switches, PVC pipes and other “chastening instruments.”

And yes, “training” — as with a puppy or mule — involves asserting one’s dominance, even inflicting small, non-injurious amounts of pain. Pearl is extremely precise in such prescriptions: hitting or spanking must never, ever be done in anger or as punishment, but rather only as a means of calm, consistent, reasoned, loving conditioning. And never with the hand.

“Select your instrument according to the child’s size,” writes Tennessee pastor Michael Pearl in his Christian parenting book called “To Train Up a Child“, a book available for sale on amazon.com.

“For the under one year old, a little, ten to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (stripped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative.”

To Train Up A Child, by Pastor Michael Pearl

To Train Up A Child, by Pastor Michael Pearl

The reviews written by readers of this “book” on Amazon.com are a mix of authentic pearls of ignorance,

After only 2 days of applying the principles in your book, our rebellious, miserable, 8 year-old daughter suddenly transformed.

and inflamed reviews by outraged readers,

I am shocked and disgusted that Amazon.com would carry a book which promotes the illegal and immoral torture of children. Every parent who follows the advice presented in this book would be convicted of child abuse in any state in this country — part of the responsibility for this atrocity goes to any corporation which agrees to help disseminate this type of abominable information.

Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz are held on $2 million bail pending entry of plea in two weeks to the murder and torture charges.

The Schatz family believed in a religious philosophy that espouses corporal punishment to “train” children to be more obedient to their parents and God, using “the rod” as a corrective tool. In this case, the rod is a quarter-inch thick plastic plumbing line.

21 thoughts on “Fundamentalist Christian couple held on $2M bail for beating their adopted child to death in Paradise, California

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  2. Pingback: “…a prime example of a Christian loving family.” « TheFallOfBecause

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  4. This is so very sad. Children are people who will remember how parents treat them their whole life. It will color all their relationships. It will hamper their ability to set boundaries with others. A couple swats maybe but to torture a child to make a point is about the parents need to control more than for the benefit of the child. The Pearl’s are partly to blame for the torture of this little girl. Someone should take their well thought out instruments and beat them a few times.

  5. Pingback: A few thoughts on die-hard loyalism and exploitation « Rove Monteux

  6. Actually,
    I have come across numerous biblical citations that liken Michael Pearl’s teachings to that of the anti-christ because they steal up children’s souls with violent dominance before they have a choice or are aware. Remember, the anti-christ fools people into worshipping him as God. Michael Pearl tries to give people the illusion that they can control completely like God and they can be God-like and “sit as God.” I truly believe Michael Pearl is the anti-christ.

    • Michael Pearl is actually doing nothing but following the teachings written in the Bible,

      “He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24)

      “Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)

      Teachings that say a parent must show love by torturing, as they are delivering them own children soul from hell.

      And what Christ ? The thing have been so distorted, manipulated and turned over to fit a specific purpouse at a specific moment of time, that it is like listening to a gossip from the 15th person that transmitted it.

      Hard to say what was the real Jesus like, and even harder is to say if he existed, at all. The Jesus Christ myth is completely made up and there is absolutely no contemporary evidence to support this imaginary death.

      Religion is based on faith, not evidence, thus irrational. There is a huge difference inbetween trust and faith.

      The answers lie not in magical ghosts who torture you if you don’t kiss their ass, but in science.

      • Well,
        Since we don’t live exactly by every word in the Bible (since we don’t know what it means) people tend to take a few things out of context, very stupid people, and take them literally. The “rod” refers to sheep as instrument of “guidance” not beating into submission, NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that anyone will or should be beat into submission of Christ. Shepherds used to throw the rod in front of wayward sheep to get them back in the flock. Unless we are sure of the translation of “strike” this passage could not say today what it truly intended.

        Any fool knows that God does not want you to brainwash your children with pain and beatings. The better question is not these silly semantics but what is wrong with our society that this lunatic is publishing rather than being locked up (like anyone else would for practicing these things) and other people go to jail for much less. How could a man with this mind get degrees from college. He is clearly insane.

  7. The Pearls seem to be very highly regarded in the Christian community, and call themselves as the ‘No Greater Joy Ministries’.

    http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/

    His website have ‘over 500 articles from Michael and Debi Pearl on Child Training, Homeschooling, Family, Marriage, Christianity, the Bible, Missions, Simple Living, Gardening, and other topics.’.

    Michael Pearl also have a website named ‘Bible Questions Answered by Michael Pearl’.

    http://askmikepearl.com/

    Its latest article reads as ‘Wasn’t the first sin disobedience?’, and you can even email questions at BibleQuestoins@NoGreaterJoy.org or call at 931-905-4820.

    The book mentioned in this article sold over 1 million and 400 thousand copies worldwide.

  8. Thanks for the information. I don’t need any answers. I have a firm faith in God and Jesus Christ that does not involve violence. I learned to use my words at age three to four and have been getting along wonderfully with both my parents, husband and child and all others I work with and know. No beatings necessary, towards or from me. I am part of a huge group of non-psychotic and non-delusional Christians (ie, pretty much everyone else.)

    • Apparently no Christian is a true Christian.

      Anyone who has done anything morally questionable was never a true Christian, even if they expressly stated that they WERE Christian and did the things they did in order to be good Christians.

  9. Pingback: Another adopted boy beaten to death « Rove Monteux

  10. Pingback: Child training with the ‘rod’: withhold not correction from a child « Rove Monteux

  11. I hope Kevin & Elizabeth Schatz are locked up in prison, in solitary confinement, for the remainder of their natural lives. I hope they never see the light of day again. They are child murderers.

  12. Wow. This site is falling all over itself trying to attack America, Americans, Christians and God!

    Let me guess: you’re French…?

    How about I make some “surrender-monkey” statements?

    Hypocrites.

  13. There are sadly a bunch of cases of “parents” either “disciplining” their children or just taking pleasure in tormenting theme. A 15 months old boy in England was tortured to death by his mother’s boyfriend: http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Charlie-Hunt-Murderer-Of-Baby-Filmed-While-He-Was-Tortured-Darren-Newton-Branded-Evil-Monster/Article/201012115845372
    In Romania a man beated his 8 month year old to death for crying to much.
    I am from Romania so I find out about the cases here easier. Another man who killed a 3 year old boy on Christmas Eve declared that he is sorry….sorry that he won’t be able to eat cherries in jail.
    None of the killers were religious fundamentalists, or at least this is not highlighted in the articles. But they are truly sick. How could you hit your son, your 8 months old son, so hard that you kill him “because he was crying so hard and wouldn’t stop”? How can you make videos of the child sitting in ice-cold water or being slapped over the head repeatedly?
    And how many torture their child, but are not found out because the baby doesn’t die? They live in fear and pain, destined to become twisted adults, taking revenge for their childhood on whoever comes in their way. “Disciplining” a child never produced a healthy adult.

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