Pa. mother sentenced in NJ for religious ritual Jun 25, 2011
HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — A Pennsylvania woman who made her daughter observe a bloody religious ritual in New Jersey has been sentenced to 18 months probation. Yenitza Colichon of Jamesburg pleaded guilty last month to child neglect and cruelty charges stemming from the May 2007 incident, in which she made her 7-year-old daughter watch an initiation rite in Paterson….
Passaic County prosecutors say Colichon was about to start Army basic training and wanted to protect her daughter in the Palo Mayombe religion before she left. The religion originated in central Africa.
The girl later told a teacher that she was having nightmares and child welfare officials were contacted.
Mother pleads guilty over Paterson bloody religious ritual
Monday, May 23, 2011 BY JOHN PETRICK STAFF WRITER The Record
A mother who exposed her 7-year-old daughter to bloody religious initiation rituals in Paterson that included making her watch a chicken being sacrificed and feeding the girl its heart pleaded guilty in state court Monday to cruelty and neglect of a child. A Paterson couple who were practitioners of the Palo Mayombe religion and who the mother asked to perform the ritual also were accepted into pre-trial intervention Monday for one year.
….Dolls, a shrine, religious statues, bones, machetes and bundles of sticks bearing numbers and names were among artifacts found at the home. The items, some of which had blood and animal hair on them, matched a description the girl gave about what she saw at the home.
….In addition to being fed the chicken’s heart, the rituals included making the girl witness the decapitation of a goat, and the scratching of a religious symbol into her skin.
What Price Religious “Freedom”? May 28, 2011 By Janet Heimlich
The state of Oregon stands poised to end a dangerous practice. If a bill that has passed both the House and Senate becomes law, parents who allow their sick children to die after refusing them medical care on religious grounds would no longer be granted prosecutorial immunity. Passing this bill sends an important message: Parents who harm their children for religious reasons should be punished just as severely as parents who harm their children when religion is not a factor.
Unfortunately, however, legislators and the courts still frequently maintain a double standard when it comes to deciding the fates of abusive and neglectful parents, depending on whether harm is perpetrated in the name of faith. For example, if a woman neglects to feed her child because she is strung out on drugs, she will likely be prosecuted. But if that denial happens as part of a religious fast, the law usually has no problem with it….
Oregon Senate against spiritual defense for murder
TAMI ABDOLLAH, Associated Press May 23, 2011
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Senate voted Monday to drop faith healing as a legal defense to murder after repeated deaths of children in a local church community.
The Senate voted 25-5 to approve the measure. It was drafted largely in response to the 2008 deaths of children among members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, who rely on spiritual treatments instead of medical care.
“The bottom line is that children in Oregon ought to be seeing the kind of health care they need to live, thrive and survive,” said Republican Sen. Bruce Starr of Hillsboro, who sponsored the bill.
Under the measure, prosecutors can seek first-degree manslaughter or murder charges against parents whose children died because they were treated solely with faith.