- (Photo: Philadelphia Police Department/File)
A faith-healing mother has been granted bail after being charged with murder when a second son died after she refused to seek medical treatment, instead relying on her faith to heal them.
Catherine Schaible, whose two sons died of pneumonia because she believed that faith would cure them, will be allowed to live in her parents' home and be monitored electronically after her bail of $250,000 is paid.
Catherine and her husband Herbert from Philadelphia have both been charged with third degree murder. Their son Brandon, just eight months old, died in April from a lung infection. Their two year old son, Kent, also died of pneumonia in 2009 and they were convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
The decision to grant the faith-healing mother bail was given to help the welfare of the couple's other seven children who are currently in foster care, according to Common Please Judge Benjamin Lerner. However, Herbert was not granted bail, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Lerner said on Friday: "These children have one mother and one father, and I don't think it's necessarily a good thing that for months, they have had virtually no contact with either parent. The faith-healing couple are third-generation members of the First Century Gospel Church."
In a court statement read earlier this year, Herbert Schaible said that medicine "is against our religious beliefs."
Meanwhile, Catherine said, "We pray and ask to be healed the way that Jesus did when he was on Earth."
Both are third-generation members of the First Century Gospel Church, located in northeast Philadelphia.
Defense attorney Mythri Jayarman had argued that Catherine was less responsible for the death of her son because their church teaches that a wife must be "submissive to her husband."
Nelson Clark and Ralph Myers, pastors of the First Century Gospel Church, testified that Herbert made the decisions about the welfare of his children.
However, assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said both parents have "equal responsibility of that child," saying the mother should not be treated any differently from the father.
When questioned, Clark had told the judge that he suggested a day or two before Brandon's death that Herbert tell his probation officer about Brandon's illness, but that "he said if he called anyone, it would be a denial of his faith that God could heal the child."