Two Christian missionaries who severely beat their adopted children will serve less than three years in county jail, Patheos reports.
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 produced broken bones, and the children 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 weighted 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 ran away.
The Christian missionary couple who went to Peru to preach their lifestyle told the judge that they “had no idea” what they were getting into when they decided to assume responsibility for the children they beat.
“When I set out to adopt I had no idea of the difficulties,” said Jim Nachtigal.
“I had no idea of the difficulties and behaviors I would have to deal with,” added Paige Nachtigal.
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.”