Religious Murderers Get Off Easy

Janet Moses with inset of stolen lion statue.Janet Moses was 22, a mother of two, and was surrounded by people who "loved" her when she died a horrible torturous death. Her family was trying to exorcise the demon they thought she had. 5 of her family were convicted of manslaughter. Their sentence was for community service, and 4 of them have to take a Maori culture course.

That's right, they tortured and killed their relative and received community service.
Justice France acknowledged some might not see the sentences as adequate but his reasons included:

  • They were trying to save, not harm, her.

  • Sleep deprivation greatly affected rational judgment.

  • High level of co-operation with police afterwards.

  • No-one suffered more from the death than the offenders and their family.

So, if you suffer when you're drowning your sister for two days, make sure you don't get any sleep, and proclaim that you're trying to save her. That makes it A-OK. How does that make any logical sense?

Ms Moses' family thought she was under a makutu  (a Maori curse) connected with her sister stealing a concrete lion from the Greytown Hotel.

In the days before her death on October 12, 2007, her extended family gathered around her. The Crown said she was mentally ill but the family took advice from a tohunga.

Apparently misunderstanding his advice, the family tried to cure her themselves when she deteriorated.

Group hysteria took over and they made up a treatment using water, the judge said.

A 14-year-old girl also injured that night recovered and is back living with the two caregivers who were acquitted of allowing her to be ill-treated.

Ms Moses' paternal grandfather, Charlie Moses, who had tried to get outside help for her, said he accepted the sentences. "All we want to do is get on with our life. As far as I'm concerned the outcome was right."

His tearful wife, Janet, after whom Ms Moses was named, said her granddaughter was "at peace now".

Hours later, the extended Rawiri family emerged from the court building. None, including Ms Moses' mother, would comment but another relative, Te Waina Pou, said the sentences were a relief.

"[The whanau] will get together and begin to live their lives again. There's a lot of love here ... I think all this has strengthened them."

Greytown Hotel owner Wayne Agent, says the lion statues seized as evidence should be returned. "It's not that we want them back, but they came from here and they may as well come back. I intend to have them blessed when they return."

This is completely insane to me. Perhaps a part of their "community service" should be to learn critical thinking skills as well as a healthy dose of skepticism. I don't have a good answer for what's appropriate in such a situation. But this doesn't seem like the right way to handle things. A woman was tortured and died a horrible death because of religion. If it were done out of "love" in any other circumstance, the family would at least be locked up for being criminally insane, wouldn't they?

Why does their "sacred" religion make it OK to torture and kill? And how often do horror stories like these go on every day around the world, and we don't hear about them because they seem normal to the locals? It's barbaric.


  1. There is something else to say here as well. The "treatment" wasn't even a part of their religion.

    They MADE it up.

    So many things can be drawn from this. It wasn't really a part of their religion, they should go instantly to jail. Who says it was to try to save her? They could have been trying to kill her, and just defended themselves as such... they made up the treatment after all, a lie, so they can certainly lie about this.

    Furthermore, the fact that they made it up is what commonly happens today. Religious just make up what they want, and then look at the Bible afterward. Views and morals do not come from holy books, they are reinforced by the holy books, and in most cases for the worst.

  2. HOLY MOSES!!!!! (pun intended) But WTF???

  3. So if it's made up but a lot of people believe it (it's part of their religion) that should be treated differently than if they just made it up out of whole cloth? Why is one crazy thing that leads to a dead body better than the other, or am I misunderstanding you? (I do that sometimes.)

  4. Sad but true, Neece. Sad but true. I feel conflicted myself in these cases. On the one hand, yes they are probably more heartbroken than anyone else that she died. On the other hand, they KILLED her. So, ya know.... Why does that stop mattering? I *do* think intent should be involved in sentencing; just like premeditation is treated differently from a crime of passion. But if someone ends up dead, then community service is a poor honor to that person's memory.

  5. I agree, GMN. That's a great point that they just made up the "treatment". There certainly isn't any reason I can see that they don't go to jail at least for manslaughter.

  6. This kind of thing happens all the time, Pete. It's pretty horrible, isn't it?

  7. I don't think it's about honoring someone's memory when they are sentenced. If someone is convicted of manslaughter, I think they need to go to jail for a long time. They killed a woman, poured water down her throat and nose for 2 days and then watched her drown. That's nothing trivial.
    I think they need to be taken out of society. Community service is insane.

  8. When you read this story you need not wonder which party has the worse case of mental illness. Answer: Her family.

  9. I'm with you Neece. I realized the other day that Harrison would be 14 years old now, but thanks to prayer he's been dead these past 12 years. And his parents aren't in jail. That's wrong as hell.