April 11, 2011 - “spank him until it’s obvious he’s totally broken.” Chilling words from page fifty-nine of Michael Pearl’s controversial parenting guide, ‘To Train Up A Child’. The book was discovered at the home of Kevin and Elizabeth Shatz, along with the battered body of their adopted daughter, Lydia, who died as result of months of abuse. An older daughter required hospitalization for abuse related injuries, but survived.
According to testimony, the Shatz’s were following the written instructions of Tennessee pastor Michael Pearl, when they beat their daughters with a fifteen-inch length of plumbing supply line. Lydia died from a severe beating instigated by her failure to properly pronounce a word. The case marked the second time that Pearl’s book had been linked to a child abuse death in a matter of a few years. A third child was ‘trained’ to death by followers of Michael Pearl a few years later. An online petition to remove the book from Amazon.com currently has tens of thousands of signatures.
Both parents were sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to a litany of child abuse charges.
Explore Full Coverage of the Shatz case at Homeschooling’s Invisible Children
Smithfield, NC - In 2008, adoptive mother Lynn Paddock was convicted of torture and murder, in death of her four-year-old son adopted son Sean. Six surviving children testified at trial that they had been beaten almost daily with flexible plastic rods, wooden spoons and other devices. A forensic pediatrician described the abuse as “ritualistic torture”, while Assistant Johnston County District Attorney Paul Jackson showed jurors the “whipping stick” Paddock used on the children, as well as photos of bruises on their bodies.
“This was soul murder,” Jackson said.
Testifying at trial, Lynn Paddock said she and her husband decided to use discipline techniques they learned from the evangelical Rev. Michael Pearl, who publishes books and articles on how to raise obedient children.
“We liked Michael Pearl’s (system) because it was quick (and) it didn’t demean the child and bring their self-esteem down,” she said. As of 2014, the death of Sean Paddock is one of three confirmed deaths circumstantially linked to Pearl’s parenting guide, To Train Up A Child. An online petition to remove the book from Amazon.com now has tens of thousands of signatures.
Read Lynn Paddock’s Statement to Investigators (Courtesy of WRAL)