I have known Larry and Carri to be loving parents with the ability to raise children appropriately. I also firmly believe they have the ability to be healthy, contributing members of society.
These are the words spoken by pastor Richard Long at the trial of US couple who have just been sentenced to prison for inflicting such extreme cruelty on their adopted daughter, Hana, that the 13-year-old died of hypothermia brought on by severe malnutrition in her back yard in 2011. According to this report, despite pleas from their attorneys and even their pastor, the judge showed no mercy to Skagit County couple Larry and Carri Williams. The two received the maximum sentences allowable under the law.
Skagit County Superior Court Judge Susan Cook said:
I feel the punishment should match the outrage felt by this community. I am at a complete loss. I think at some point in this trial each and every one of us sat stunned and speechless without the slightest hope of making any sense of this whatsoever.
Cook sentenced Carri Williams to 37 years in prison. Her husband Larry, convicted of lesser charges, was sentenced to just under 28 years. This summer a jury convicted the Williamses of denying their children Hana and Immanuel food, beating them and making them sleep in closets or washrooms. They were fed a diet of sandwiches that had been soaked in water and vegetables that were still frozen. Some of the couple’s seven biological children sometimes took part in the abuse. During sentencing, friends of the couple argued they are good people with children who had behavioral problems they couldn’t handle. The children were adopted from Ethiopia. Said Ruth Dueck:
Larry and Carri Williams are two of the truest and purest people on this earth.
Judge Cook, however, would have none of it.
What I see is one child dead, one child with PTSD, and seven biological children who apparently believe that degrading and dehumanizing another person is completely acceptable.
According to this report, these vile religious creatures kept their children isolated by home schooling them, and used the controversial Christian parenting book To Train Up a Child to raise them. The book, by the criminally insane husband and wife team Michael and Debi Pearl, advocates the use of physical violence towards children before the need for discipline arises.
The Pearls say:
As you come to understand the difference between training and discipline, you will have a renewed vision for your family, no more raised voices, no contention, no bad attitudes, fewer spankings, a cheerful atmosphere in the home, and total obedience from your children
In the book, the couple advises “switching” a seven-month old baby for crying and clenching his fists for not getting his own way. They suggest using tools instead of hands for hitting children, suggesting willow-branch for babies and a quarter-inch plumbing supply line for older children, which Michael Pearl says is:
Too light to cause damage to the muscle or the bone.
According to kirotv.com, one witness in the Williams trial told how the book instructed parents to give unruly children cold baths, withhold food and force children outside in cold weather as punishment. To Train Up a Child has previously been linked to the death of two other children in the US. Seven-year-old Liberian-born Lydia Schatz was also killed by her adoptive parents in 2010 after they used To Train Up a Child. She was hit with a plastic tube for hours at their home in California for allegedly mispronouncing a word and died in hospital a day later from her injuries. Parents Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were both found guilty of causing her death. Sean Paddock, a four-year-old from North Carolina, was killed by his mother Lynn after she bought To Train Up a Child. He was beaten with plastic tubing to discipline him but when this did not work, she bound him so tightly in blankets that he suffocated. The Pearls have always denied their book advocates abuse, with Michael Pearl addressing his critics after Lydia’s death by saying:
I laugh at my caustic critics, for our properly spanked and trained children grow to maturity in great peace and love.
Responding to Hana’s death, he added:
We share in the sadness over the tragic death of Hana Williams. What her parents allegedly did is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of No Greater Joy Ministries and what is taught in the book. We are grieved by Hanna’s [sic] death as well as the nearly 1,700 other children that die in this country every year as the result of neglect or abuse.
He listed several passages of the book that he said warned against abuse.
If, as alleged, Hanna’s parents owned a copy of the book, it is obvious from these quotes and their actions, that they either have not read it or totally ignored its contents. The alleged presence of the book makes it no more responsible for Hanna’s death than the presence of a weight loss book in the home of an overweight person is responsible for their obesity.
So, the Pearl’s advocate violence, albeit it in a “humane ” way? Well, If I owned a copy of To Train Up a Child, and encountered the Pearls, I would beat them so hard over the heads with it that blood would pour out of their ears!
In a humane way, it goes without saying.