DA: Deadly Child Abuse Case Linked To "Biblical Chastisement"
Reported by: Owen Clark
Authorities now believe that murder suspects Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were followers of a extremist Christian group that advocates hitting children.
"It's the old spare the rod, spoil the child type of proverb or whatever you want to call it, that would justify corporal punishment," said Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.
After speaking with the Schatz' other children investigators were led to No Greater Joy Ministries, a Tennessee based faith group that espouses spanking as a necessary part of "training" one's child.
The Ministries' web site details how hard and on which part of the body a child should be hit. It also describes a 1/4 inch plumber's supply line as an ideal "spanking instrument".
The Schatz are accused of using that exact type of supply line to beat their two adopted children so severely that one died and the other remains in intensive care.
"They did espouses the philosophy that they were to use this particular 1/4 inch plumbing supply line for their discipline or as they call it biblical chastisement," said Ramsey.
Investigators say the Shatz practiced a similar form of corporal punishment on their six biological children and were training their oldest daughter in the proper way to deliver spankings.
Ramsey is quick to point out that followers of No Greater Joy do not advocate spanking to the point of serious injury.
"Even the Tennessee pastor that espouse hitting children right from infancy says that you must watch that you don't cross the line. Clearly this is a situation where the line was crossed from discipline... to beating... to murder," said Ramsey.
The Schatz are facing murder and torture charges, they are scheduled to enter a plea February 25th.