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Judge won't drop charges against couple accused in praying death of daughter

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River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

A judge has refused to drop charges against the Wausau-area couple accused of praying instead of getting medical help for their dying 11-year-old daughter.

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In a 20-page ruling issued Monday, Marathon County Circuit Judge Vincent Howard said the First Amendment protects religious beliefs but not necessarily conduct, as parents still have a legal obligation to protect their kids.

The judge rejected Dale and Leilani Neumann's claim that their second-degree reckless homicide charges violate their constitutional freedom of religion.

They've pleaded innocent to those charges, but it could be awhile before the case goes to trial, if at all.

None of the involved attorneys have reacted to Monday's ruling, but Judge Howard earlier said his ruling would most likely be appealed.

The Neumanns' daughter Madeline died on Easter Sunday and prosecutors said the parents knew for a long time she had complications of diabetes.

Dale Neumann, 46, told authorities his daughter's illness was a "test of faith."

But unlike other states, Howard says there's a limit to Wisconsin's willingness to accommodate religious means of treatment for childhood illnesses.

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