Two Christian missionaries who gave violent, “Bible-inspired” beatings to their adopted children will serve less than three years in county jail, according to Patheos.
James and Paige Nachtigal adopted three children from Peru, where they were missionaries. Once they got the kids back to Kansas, they began beating them for such “sins” as not doing their homework.
The abuse was severe—a police chief and a doctor both cried as they recounted what they discovered:
- The abuse included beatings with a cane that broke the childrens’ bones, and the kids were sometimes deprived of food and a bed to sleep in.
- The children were gaunt, and reported being beaten when they didn’t do punishment pushups, sit ups, and jumping jacks correctly.
- The children also had open sores on their buttocks from spanking.
- Two 11-year-olds under their care weighed 50 and 60 pounds, a result of being denied food.
Authorities said the children likely would have died if they had not been found and rescued after one child, and 11-year-old boy, ran away. He said not doing his homework was considered a “sin” and he didn’t want to be punished.
The Christian missionary couple, who went to Peru to preach their lifestyle, according to Raw Story, told the judge that they “had no idea” what they were getting into when they decided to assume responsibility for the children they beat, giving nearly identical (and identically lame) excuses: Jim Nachtigal said, “When I set out to adopt I had no idea of the difficulties,” while Paige Nachtigal said, “I had no idea of the difficulties and behaviors I would have to deal with.”
Despite the fact that the couple pleaded guilty last year to abusing the kids, they were sentenced by Judge Joe Dickinson to just 32 months each—just under three years—in Harvey County Jail. This could have something to do with the terms of their plea deal, which state that they “admitted no guilt.”
In addition to only giving the couple only 32 months behind bars, Harvey County Chief Judge Joe Dickinson also granted them a stay so that they can get their affairs in order before reporting to jail.
The youngest girl, who was rescued at age 11, is now high school-aged but “not doing well” in the group home where she lives. “She’s so severely traumatized that she’s not doing well,” said the county attorney. “Her recovery is going to take a lot longer.”
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