Update: Lori Wick, Christian Author Involved in Child Abuse Probe

Update: Lori Wick, Christian Author Involved in Child Abuse Probe May 26, 2012

There has been some resolution of last year’s allegations of child abuse of children as young as two months old at the Black Earth, Wisconsin Aleithiea Baptist Church. Philip Caminiti, the former pastor of Aleitheia Bible Church of Black Earth Wisconsin was found guilty in March of conspiracy to commit child abuse. Yesterday he was sentenced to 2 years in prison and 6 years if probation. His probation stipulates that that during his probation term, Caminiti is not to have contact with the members of his church, though he is allowed contact with his wife, children, and grandchildren.

Lori Wick and the others have yet to stand trial.

Wisconsin State Journal: Black Earth pastor gets 2 years in prison in child abuse case.

Last year Francesca T wrote this piece for NLQ about alleged child abuse at Aleithiea Baptist Church:


Lori Wick, the author of historical Christian novels has been tied to a 16 month child abuse investigation in the town of Black Earth Wisconsin (Dane County). The child abuse investigation and resulting charges surround the Aleitheia Bible Church which, Lori and her husband Bob financially support, to the tune of $500,000.

In the Dane County Sherrif’s Department press release dated 03/21/2011, there are twelve total counts of child abuse against the two elders of Aleitheia Bible Church: Philip B. Caminiti, who is the main pastor, and his brother John R. Caminiti.

Philip Caminiti’s charges are: Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm; Conspiracy to Commit (8 counts).

John Caminiti’s charges are: PTAC of Mental Harm to a Child (4 counts); Intentional Child Abuse-Bodily Harm (4 counts); Mental Harm to a Child (4 counts). (Please note that in Wisconsin, a large burden of proof lays with the prosecution in the successful prosecution with charges of Mental Harm to a Child.)

Also accused are second generation Caminitis, Mathew and Alina, the Wick’s son Timothy, Andrea Wick, and finally, Maria and Timothy Stephenson. Please see the Sheriff’s press release, linked below, for the entire list of the additional charges.

In a criminal complaint Phil is quoted as saying “the scripture is never wrong” and “pain is a good way to teach children.”

The complaint says he also told them “if you spank early and it is done right then kids will be obedient”, adding he didn’t think bruises were telltale signs of something bad.

Church members say children and infants were punished for things such as being emotional, grumpy or crying, not sitting quietly through church, crying when being handed from a mother to another person or for potty training mistakes.

These members of the church are on record as saying that they believed a “one and a half month” old child is old enough to be spanked. They also go on to say that their preferred method of spanking is by the use of wooden spoon or a 12” – 18” wooden dowel with the diameter of a quarter. These implements were described to be used on the bare skin of young children, including infants as young as 2 months old. Every parent attested to the redness or bruising of the children’s skin after such a bout of (so called) spankings.

As a note: Wisconsin Law draws the line between spanking and abuse at the creation of persistent redness or any bruising.

The twelve victims are described as children of the congregants and ranging in age from a few months old to six years old. It is also alleged that John Caminiti’s charges also stem from the punishments that he doled out to the children of other congregants.

The Caminiti brothers have been released pending trial on a signature bond.


Wisconsin State Journal: More people to be charged with child abuse for alleged Biblical punishment methods

Wisconsin State Journal: Black Earth pastor, brother charged with child abuse for spanking kids with dowels, rods

Dane County Sheriff’s Press Release: Eight Face Charges in Child Abuse Investigation

WKOW Madison (ABC Affiliate): Eight arrested in Dane Co. church child abuse investigation – Photos of Caminiti brothers included

A Lori Wick Message Board

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

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  • shadowspring

    That’s just horrible. I am so glad these monsters are being brought to justice, but I would have hoped for stronger sentences. 🙁

  • Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi sentenced Pastor Philip Caminiti to 2 years in prison for preaching the standard of God Almighty as spelled out in the scriptures. This unjust judge swung her judicial gavel at God and the clear teachings of the Bible on how to love one’s children: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24). Judge Sumi called it conspiracy to commit child abuse. God calls it loving your child. Judge Sumi doesn’t get to overrule the God who created her.

    The command from God is “in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.” (Leviticus 19:15) Judge Sumi has perversely judged God. God Almighty has a bigger gavel & it will fall on the heads of all Wisconsinites for her egregious error. The people of Wisconsin need to make their voice of opposition heard against this judge & crooked Assistant District Attorney Shelly Rusch (who asked for 5 years in prison for Caminiti).

    In this decision, Judge Sumi quashed the First Amendment (freedom of speech & religion) – the crowning jewel of our constitution: the selfsame constitution she swore an oath to God to uphold. Shame on Judge Maryann Sumi. She clearly wasn’t spanked enough as a child.

    Governor Scott Walker should stand up and pardon Pastor Philip Caminiti. He should publicly chide Judge Sumi for her flagrant trampling of the First Amendment. Westboro Baptist Church will reiterate this position when we picket this judge and the Wisconsin State Capitol in the near future.

    Jael Holroyd
    Westboro Baptist Church
    Topeka, KS

  • Alex Brown

    Clearly Jael Holroyd, having been brought up in fred phelps’ hate group that he has the gall to pass off as a church, is wrong. Judge Sumi did NOT “flagrant(ly) trample the First Amendment”; she PROTECTED CHILDREN. She didn’t “swing” a gavel at anyone.
    I suggest that Jael google “pastor” phelps and see what he did to HIS children. I’ll give you a hint. It’s ABUSE.

  • I am taking it all in – the details of the case, the Westboro Church’s sickening response, the fact that this all happened on the western edge of my county and I never knew. (Maybe because the politics of the recalls overshadowed everything?) It’s overwhelming. Thank you to this blog for adding context that was lacking in the Madison.com article I read. Ironically the abuse propagated by this Black Earth church would probably not receive much public scrutiny if it weren’t for the upcoming visit that the WBC will make to Madison on July 6th. From the WBC web site, “The pseudo-Christians of Doomed american rage that Judge Maryann Sumi, sentenced Philip Caminiti to 2 years prison for preaching about disciplining kids.Of course they should expect nothing less from the legal system of Doomed america after watching the show trials that WBC was put through.”

    Look what you’ve done, doomed america! God blessed you with religious liberty. Lying false prophets taught you to lust after fag marriage. Now your judges are putting your preachers in jail for telling you the Bible says to make children behave.”

  • Lotti

    Why don’t you read the part of the Bible where Jesus interacts with children, or speaks about them, and the follow his actions accordingly? Why don’t you read the parts of the Bible that tell you how weak humans are compared to God- and apply that fact to yourself first? Why don’t you believe in Jesus’s message of being humble… WHY DO YOU THINK YOU KNOW BETTER THAN JESUS?

  • @Catziiis

    Sadly, Jael will experience first hand the loss of a child. God will not punish WBC by taking the oldest member, but the youngest-the child she & Matthias are expecting. Jeremiah 16:6-7, Jeremiah 16:9

  • Heather

    You might want to get your facts straight. Lori Wick is not waiting to stand trial because she has not been charged with anything.

  • marie_paulner

    In the Bible times a rod or staff was used by the shepherd to guide the sheep and keep them on the right path. The rod was used also to beat off predators and protect the sheep. A shepherd who will leave 99 sheep just to go off and find one that is missing paints a picture of love and care for that sheep. From this I see that we are to guide our children and teach them with love and understanding. We also need to protect them from “predators” and things that could harm them. “Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me”. Psalm 23:4
    Read Revelations 2 where Jesus corrects the seven churches. He first builds them up by telling them all of the good things about them. Then he corrects them and gives them the chance to repent. He lovingly corrects those churches and I believe that we should follow Jesus’ example in discipline.

  • At that time she was still under investigation and possible charges.

  • Beating any living creature is not loving, it’s barbaric and should be against the law!

  • Deanna

    Spanking a baby for crying? Really?! That would be like what every hour?!