Justice for Hana Williams...#NoMoreDeadKids {and why Christians should reject Michael & Debi Pearls' books}

Two years ago I appeared on Anderson Cooper's TV show and confronted Michael Pearl face-to-face. I explained why his so-called "Biblical" child training practices were abusive.

Just a few months before, a third child had been found dead. Hana Williams' emaciated, beaten body was discovered in the backyard of her home. The deaths drew attention to Pearl's advocacy of spanking because her adopted parents, Larry and Carri Williams, owned his book To Train Up A Child. This past week, her parents were found guilty of her death.

Hana Williams

Among other findings, the autopsy on Hana revealed "patterned contusions on the legs consistent with disciplinary impacts with a switch." Larry Williams admitted to using a plumbing supply line on Hana--the exact implement Michael Pearl suggests parents use on their children. Hana's official cause of death was hypothermia--she'd been left outside on a cold night without proper clothing.

The Sheriff's affidavit was heart wrenching to read and I found myself choking up numerous times. Yes, Larry and Carri Williams went far beyond what the Pearls explicitly recommend in their child-training books. However, the patterns and similarities in these cases should not be ignored.

Larry & Carri Williams homeschooled their 8 children and kept a meticulously organized home. When interviewed, the children gave "mimicked" answers that seemed rehearsed and the investigator noticed that the children constantly looked to their parents to see if they were giving the "right" answers.

Larry Williams interrupted the interview when Hana's younger brother told investigators that people like his sister "got spankings for lying and go into the fires of hell."

Micheal Pearl has consistently denied any responsibility for his harmful teachings; placing sole blame on "out-of-control" parents. While it seems that Pearl is not legally responsible, I believe he is morally responsible for what he advocates. Even when his techniques do not result in death, they are still harmful. As I quoted in the above clip, Pearl advocates spanking a child until he/she is "totally defeated." Those are HIS words.

My prayer is that Christians everywhere will reject the Pearls' teachings and speak up when they see this book being sold at homeschool conventions, in churches or being given as gifts at baby showers. Please remember the faces of these dead children and pray for their surviving siblings. No child deserves to be raised this way.


Sean Paddock, 2002-2006

Lydia Schatz, 2002-2010

Hana Williams, 1997-2011

 Rest in peace, precious little ones.