Another case of abuse

There are so many tragic cases of abuse, I don’t usually mention them unless the abuse was clearly tied to Christian teachings.  In the case of the Barbours the ties are not indisputable, but there are some pretty good hints.  Thankfully, this case did not end in death.

Maureen compares the Barbours with the Williams and finds quite a few eerie similarities.

There is a lot of information the 2 articles she links to from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

This story from Oct 2012 tells about how the adoption ended in tragedy.

This story from June 2014 is the follow up and tells us that the couple pleaded No Contest.

For Those Who Were Following The Hana Story

Maureen has a follow up to the Hana Story which I found interesting.

World Mag Looks At the Pearls

Kiley Crossland of World Magazine takes a look at the Pearl’s teachings in To Train Up A Pharisee.

Review of TTUAC on HeraldNet

Jenny Bardsley has a post on HeraldNet honoring Hana Alemu “Williams” and reviewing the Pearl’s book, To Train Up A Child.

She speaks more about the book and homeschooling here.

She also discusses their teachings in her review of Elizabeth Esther‘s book.

The Christian Post Looks At The Petition To Amazon

The Christian Post reports that the Change.org petition (asking Amazon to stop selling the controversial book, To Train Up A Child) is closing in on 100,000 signatures. They then take a closer look at the Pearls’ teachings and the controversy surrounding them.

International Business Times Looks At The Pearls

Today the International Business Times featured an article about the pressure being put upon Amazon to stop selling the Pearls’ book, To Train Up A Child.  This is a very good article except for a small confusion about the children who have been killed.  Sean “Paddock” was killed in 2006, Lydia “Schatz” in 2010 and Hana “Williams” in 2011.  For more information about what the Pearls’ teachings had to do with the death of Lydia, please see my post, Why Blame The Pearls At All and for more information about what the Pearls’ teachings had to do with the deaths of Sean and Hana, please see Why Blame The Pearls At All Part 2.

Did Batman Follow Pearl’s Teachings?

Chris Gavaler compares Michael Pearl to Batman as he reviews his Comic Book Bible in The Good And Evil Guide To Parenting.

The BBC Looks At The Pearls’ Training Book

Aiden Lewis of The BBC has a well researched article about the book, To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl as well as the controversy which surrounds it.

To Condition Up A Child?

Michael Pearl says that his teachings are Biblical.  Lee Woofenden does not agree and he explains why in his post, To Train Up A Child, or: Spare the Rod? What Rod?  This is a long article and worth the read.  He points out, among other things, that Mr. Pearl is actually teaching parents to condition their children which is not Biblical.

Anderson Cooper 360 Takes Another Look At The Pearls

Andersoon Cooper 360 has taken their old footage from the interview Gary Tuchman did with Pearls back in Oct 2011 and the stories they did about the death of Lydia Schatz and remixed it with new footage about Hana “Williams,” in this new episode of Godly Discipline. They then discuss the Pearls’ culpability or lack of it, in the deaths. You will find both parts of this show (in 2 videos) on this page. You will find the transcript here. The segment in question starts about 2/3 of the way down. The easiest way to find it would be to use the find feature and search for “To Train Up A Child.”

Note: Here is more information about the Find Feature.

In case anyone is wondering, I am not in favor of holding the Pearls legally accountable.  The parents are to blame for following man instead of God.  Yes, the Bible does say that teachers bear a greater responsibility and God’s judgement will be fair.  I do believe that the teachings are dangerous and do my best to convince parents not to follow them and bookstores not to sell them. However, I am not trying to get the book banned, nor to harm the Pearls in any way.

 

Hana and Pearl Are All Over The Internet

There has been a lot of attention being given lately to the Pearls and the part their book, To Train Up A Child, played in the death of Hana Aleumu “Williams.” So much attention in fact, that my blog could not handle the traffic generated by Google searches and was taken offline from the 19th until today as explained here. So, here is a rundown of the posts and articles I missed posting during that time.

It started with this article on Nov 15: Another couple found guilty of murder for parenting by “To Train Up a Child” by Alicia Bayer of the Mankato Attachment Parenting Examiner. [Read more...]

It’s Good To Be Back

So, I guess many of you noticed that this blog was down from Tuesday, November 19 at 1:00 PM PST until today.  I’m sorry to disappear without warning, but the truth is that I did not even know about it until 2 hours after it happened.

I did notice on Monday the 18th that my traffic had gone up ten-fold, but I did not know that my host would pull the plug over that.  They put up with it for what I assume was 24 hours and then advised us that they had placed a temporary block on the account because “This account was found to be consuming an inordinate amount of processor time, to the point of degrading overall system performance. While we do limit each account to no more than 25% of a system’s CPU in our terms of service, we do not actively disable accounts until they greatly exceed that number, which is what happened in this case.” Wow. [Read more...]

Hana’s Story in Slate Magazine

Kathryn Joyce did a long and very thorough investigative report for Slate Magazine on Hana’s entire story.  Her article also looks at adoption reform.  I must warn you that if you are sensitive and/or easily triggered, please do not read this story. Here is what Maureen has to say about the same article.

The above mentioned article is perfect for sharing with any politicians or celebrities who might be willing to put pressure on Amazon.com to remove the book, To Train Up A Child.  If you can’t think of anyone, here is an idea from StopSpanking.org

Please ask Patty Murray to follow Parliamentary Member Nadine Dorrie’s example to demand that Amazon remove “To Train Up a Child” — a book that advocates child abuse and has contributed to the death of Hanna Elemu, murdered by adoptive parents Carri and Larry Williams right here in Skagit County!Call Senator Murray at (866) 481-9186 OR email her at: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme

Parliamentary Member Nadine Dorrie has agreed to contact Senator Murray to advise her to speak out on behalf of children and parents! Let Senator Murray know that Washingtonians are outraged by this book!

For a sample letter and more information on this issue:

http://fundrazr.com/stories/a5WAOa/tw/61fc72

I should also mention that while Amazon.ca.uk has removed the paperback version of To Train Up A Child, the Kindle version is still available. More info here in this edited and updated post from @ADadCalledSpen.

 

British Parliament Wants Amazon to Stop Selling TTUAC

Nadine Dorries, a member of the British Parliament, is insisting that Amazon.co.uk stop selling Michael and Debi Pearl’s book, To Train Up A Child, according to an article by Jessica Elgot in the Huffington Post.

The story was then picked up by Parentdish who wrote quite a long article about the story as well as the book in question.

Also, there is a new petition on Change.com asking Amazon.co.uk to stop selling To Train Up A Child.   This petition is only about To Train Up A Child, unlike the old petition which asked Amazon to “refuse to carry books which advocate the physical abuse of children,” including, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp; and Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman.

On top of that, @ADadCalledSpen has An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos and All @Amazon About To Train Up A Child going around Twitter.

The Williams Trial – The Aftermath

Maureen has an update on the Williams, just to tie up loose ends.

Hana’s Fund

Maureen tells us about what the Ethiopian Community is working on in regards to Hana Alemu “Williams” in Hana’s Fund, Hana’s Grave Marker.

(By the way, can anyone tell me why my traffic has suddenly spiked in the last few days? Not that I mind, of course, I’m just curious.)

The Williams Trial: Day 30 – The Sentence

Tuesday October 29, 2013, the Williams were sentenced to prison for a very long time.  Carri has been sentenced for 37 years and Larry for almost 28 years.

Maureen was there and shares about it here.  You might also find this older post of interest, she wrote it the day before the sentencing.

Cindy Kunsman, of Under Much Grace, responds to Judge Cook’s comment, “I am at a complete loss as to why this happened,” in An Open Message to Judge Susan Cook About the Williams’ Sentencing: The Development of the Perfect Storm, in which she attempts to explain why.

After the sentencing, the Ethiopian Community Center had a graveside service for Hana.  (More about the graveside service.) They are working on getting a proper headstone for her grave.  So far, they have not been successful because the family owns the plot so they are considering making a memorial elsewhere. For more information on that, see the Facebook Group.

I should also mention that this might not be the last we hear of this story as there has been talk of an appeal.

Here are some news stories:

Skagit County couple receives long sentences in fatal abuse case on Kiro TV

Decades in prison for Skagit Co. pair who killed adopted girl on Komo News.

Williamses sentenced in adopted daughter’s death in the Skagit Valley Herald.
Decades in prison for Williams couple also in the Skagit Valley Herald and with more quotes

Skagit County couple sentenced to prison for adopted daughter’s death in the Seattle Times.

Couple given long sentences for death of adopted girl on King 5 News which includes video from the sentencing. In this video we see a family friend speaking on the Williams’ behalf calling them “two of the truest and purest people on this earth.”  I find that statement so flabbergasting that I don’t even know how to respond to it.

Religious Handbook Parents Carri and Larry Williams Given 65 Years for Killing Ethiopian Daughter in the UK Paper, the International Business Times.

Larry Williams’ Lawyers Still Trying

According to recent news stories, Larry Williams’ Lawyers are trying to get him a new trial and/or  a short sentence.  The sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013.

Here is the story in the Skagit Valley Herald which discusses them requesting a new trial. (Clicking on this story will add a cookie to your browser to ensure that you only view 5 such stories in any 30 day period.)

Here is the story on Kiro TV which discusses them asking for a sentence of only 5 years (with 2 years credit for time served) because he had no idea what his wife was doing while he was away at work.

Also, Carri’s lawyers want her Manslaughter conviction dropped, since she was charged for the more serious crime, according to this story in the Skagit Valley Herald.  (Clicking on this story will add a cookie to your browser to ensure that you only view 5 such stories in any 30 day period.)

Not To Worry, Carri Williams Is Being Kept Safe

In case anyone was worried about how Carri Williams is faring in jail, the Skagit Valley Herald reports that she is being kept safe in one of the Work Release pods.  This was an upgrade from the Solitary Confinement cell she was in before, as they are not healthy to use  for long term use.  It’s nice to know that they are doing their best to be as humane as possible while she is paying the price for accidentally torturing her daughter to death.  Maybe she will start to understand the concept of grace, (unmerited favor.)

Meanwhile, Larry has been in custody for 2 years and the article does not mention what protective measures they have been using to keep him alive, but one must assume that they are in place.

Sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 29.

How Could They?

Under Much Grace looks at how parents find themselves falling into abusive teachings in A Film that Helps Us Understand Why Pearl Becomes Appealing: How do parents get caught up in extreme practices?

Also of interest, she reflects on the Williams Trial in Homeschooling, Hana Williams and the “Rod of Man.”

 

The Williams Trial – Update

The Skagit Valley Herald has an article (Subscriber Content) which states that Prosecutors have dropped the charge of  Homicide By Abuse against Larry Williams.  Those who were following the trial may remember that the jury was deadlocked on that charge and were unable to return a verdict for it.  The charge was officially dropped on Sept 23.

Sentencing was originally scheduled for Oct 8, but it has been postponed until Oct 29 at 9:30 AM.

Mareen also writes about this, here.

The Seattle Times also has an article here.

How Many Churches Allow and Even Encourage Abuse

Valerie Tarico looks at the problem of  Christian discipline leading to abuse in “Bible-based” discipline has led to child abuse in Salon Magazine.  I am seeing non-believers getting more and more concerned with this issue and rightly so.  It breaks my heart that abusive Christians are giving Christianity a bad name.  Of course, it is only natural that they are trying to find a way to stop the abuse.  My only concern with that is that their definition of abuse often includes teaching children that they are sinners in need of salvation, which is the heart of the Gospel.

Because of that article, Pastor Doug Bursch (who was raised in a grace-filled, loving home) discussed the problem with M. Dolon Hickmon on his Christian Talk Radio show, Live from Seattle 820AM.  This conversation is extremely interesting as well as important.  Dolon explains how important it is for Christians to recognize abuse.  Not only do churches fail to notice abuse, they often inadvertently encourage it.  He explains how each person listening to a sermon about spanking has a different definition for the words being used.  Both abused children and their parents assume that the word, “spanking” means exactly what they are currently doing and are being validated that they should continue, even if the pastor preaching means nothing of the sort.  Raising awareness is very important and he has a lot of hope that the book he wrote will go a long way towards that.  You can get information about his book here.

 

The Beast Looks At Homeschooling

The Daily Beast looks at the problem of certain parents who use homeschooling as a way to hide their abuse  in The Sinister Side of Homeschooling.  This article does make it clear that homeschooling is usually not done as an excuse to abuse and that most homeschooling parents are not abusive.  However, the author of the piece also appears to be advocating for more oversight of homeschooling.  I am not sure I agree with that.  More children who attend public schools are abused than homeschoolers and even so, many die.  How much oversight would be necessary of homeschoolers in order to make sure that they are not abused?  I do feel that it would be a slippery slope.

To Break Down A Child – Stories Of Life Under Pearl’s Teachings

Last Week, I mentioned that Homeschoolers Anonymous was collecting stories and testimonies from those who were affected by Pearl’s teachings.   Well, their “Pearl-Style Discipline Week” is over, so I thought I would link to their collection of tragic stories.  This series is not for the sensitive and/or easily triggered. 

I especially want to highlight ExPearlSwine’s testimony in which a former Pearl follower  explains how she followed Pearl’s teachings to the letter  and exactly how and why those teachings are dangerous.

The Pearls’ defenders will say, “Oh, they took it to an extreme and should have known better.” If anyone knows better than to keep inflicting more severe discipline on an intractable child, they can only apply that knowledge by scuttling the Pearls’ sadistic teaching and being more reasonable.

 

Debate with Pearl in The Christian Post

Back in March of 2012, Jan Heimlich debated Michael Pearl in a video which was featured in The Christian Post.  Although, I did mention the debate at the time as well as Samuel Martin’s Rebuttal to one of his statements, I never gave my own rebuttal.

I would like to respond to some of Mr. Pearl’s statements.  Rather than transcribe his comments myself, I will use the quotes given in the Christian Post article.

… In our book, To Train up a Child, we clearly point out that parents should not spank when it doesn’t work; they should not spank when they’re angry. We point out that they should spank five or ten licks, no more. And we point out that the spanking should be in accordance to the size of the child. We point out they should never leave marks.

I really don’t know where he says not to spank when it doesn’t work. I would appreciate some help with that.  All I can find is him saying that if you are consistent, it will work.  Here is an example from To Train Up A Child (TTUAC)

 Those who are MOSTLY consistent must use the switch too often. Those who are ALWAYS consistent come to almost never need the switch.

[Read more...]

The Williams Trial – Next Up: Sentencing

Maureen tells us that sentencing will be Oct 8.  She got that information from the Skagit Valley Herald.

Considering Adoption Reform

Whatcom Mom had an interesting comment which I would like to highlight.

I’m hoping the readers here will have some ideas about improving adoption home study practice, based on what we have learned from the deaths of Hana Williams and Lydia Schatz and injuries to their siblings.

So you know where I’m coming from. I’m an adoptive parent of now adult daughters, one adopted as an infant from a local nonprofit agency, the other as a toddler through state foster care. I’ve been active in pre-adoptive education and post-adoption support and have had plenty of occasion to reflect on issues that arise in transracial, special needs, and international and open adoptions. I have long been concerned about adoption agencies that place especially needy and difficult children with naïve, unprepared (and maybe overconfident) families and then fail to follow up with oversight and support.

I followed the Williams trial especially closely because the family lives in my area and because I know people who have worked for, and adopted from, the agency that placed Hana and her brother Immanuel. [Read more...]

Reflections on the Williams Trial

As I reflect with sorrow and horror at the tragedy which was the Williams Trial, I find myself trying to make sense of what happened and why.

What I see as the root problem is pride. The Bible says that God hates pride.  We know that “pride goeth before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18).  I believe that very few people would argue with me when I say that Carri Williams had a problem with pride.  I heard her described as a person who had to be always right.  She was said to have perfect children.  People described her as intimidating because her children were so perfect.  I was told that when someone disagreed with her, they had a hard time confronting her because she had a reputation for a very cutting tongue.  So, when people had concerns about how she was raising her children, they just withdrew away from her and left her alone. What else could they do? She would not listen,  and she certainly would not accept help.

I’m not sure how and when she found To Train Up A Child by Michael Pearl. [Read more...]

Williams Trial – Day 29: The Verdict

Monday, September 9, 2013 the jury returned the verdict. Carri Williams was found guilty of homicide by abuse and
first-degree assault of a child. Larry Williams was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault of a child. There was no verdict on homicide by abuse charge for Larry.  The jury was unable to agree and/or the judge declared a mistrial on that charge.  Sentencing  is up to the judge and I heard that it would be in mid-October.

Here is the story in the Seattle Times.

Certainly, there will be many articles written on this story. In an effort to get this breaking news to you right away, I will post this now and add in a few links to the best articles as I find them.

Here is Maureen’s report.

Here is the story on KiroTV.

Here is the preliminary story in the Skagit Valley Herald, and here is the complete story.

Here is the story on Komo News.  In this story I found out that Larry’s Defense plans to file an appeal.

Here is the story in the US edition of The Guardian which appears to be an overseas paper.

Here is Janet Heimlich’s report of the story on her blog, Religious Child Maltreatment.

The Wartburg Watch Revisits The Pearls’ Teachings

The Wartburg Watch, takes another look at the Pearls’ teachings and The Senseless Death of Hana Williams.  They link to all their previous posts and explain their problems with the teachings.

Also, Maureen has a post about Hana’s Legacy.