A Christian missionary couple gave violent, Bible-inspired beatings to their three adopted children, and they were sentenced to less than three years in jail.
Prosecutors say James and Paige Nachtigal, Kansas residents who adopted the kids while they served as missionaries in Peru, brutally beat them in the name of God.
The Nachtigals were arrested after one of the kids, an 11-year-old boy, ran away because not doing his homework was considered a “sin” and he didn’t want to be punished.
James and Paige Nachtigal, of North Newton, were sentenced Thursday for several child abuse counts. They entered Alford pleas to the charges in August in which they acknowledged prosecutors had enough evidence for convictions but admitted no guilt.
The Nachitgals were arrested in February 2016 after an 11-year-old boy was found walking barefoot in a field and told authorities he feared returning home because he hadn’t done his homework and that was a sin. The boy’s 11-year-old sister was found with a broken leg.
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.”
As the deal also mentions, prosecutors “had enough evidence for convictions,” and that was made clear during the trial. By all accounts, the trauma these children suffered was horrific.
North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan wiped back tears a few times as he described what he saw when he was called to the Nachtigal’s home in February of 2016. He went into detail of the injuries he noticed on one of the children, an 11-year-old boy.
“They did find there was a healing broken bone in his arm, and when he said he got hit it hurt, he got hit hard,” said Chief Jordan.
Dr. Kerri Weeks with KU School of Medicine in Wichita has seen thousands of abuse and neglect cases in her career…
“This case, in my opinion, in my training and expertise was extremely severe,” said Dr. Weeks.
This type of thing isn’t unheard of. Scripture-inspired beatings are all too common, but parents often get away with it in the name of “religious freedom.”
The Nachtigals actually remind me of the Turpins, another “good Christian family” that held their 13 children captive. Some of the kids were even bound with chains and padlocks, until one of the girls — a 17-year-old — escaped and called 911.
Fortunately, the starving victims — six minors and seven adults — were fed and taken to a hospital. Both parents were booked and charged with violating sections of the California Penal Code dealing with torture and child endangerment, with a bail of $9 million each.
Even though seven of the victims are technically adults, the damage was so bad that they didn’t appear that way.
The Nachtigals, like the Turpins and other extremist Christians, beat the children they were supposed to protect above all else because the Bible told them to. They take verses like Proverbs 22:15, which states that the “rod of discipline” will drive folly away from “the heart of a child,” and interpret that to mean God thinks they should use harsh physical discipline on young kids.
As I pointed out before, there are parts of scripture that contradict those ideas. (Amazing, right?) Religion isn’t necessarily the problem here, but fundamentalist adherence to certain pieces of violent scripture certainly is a big part of it.
(Screenshot via KSN)