The head pastor of a Black Earth church and his brother have been charged with a total of 12 counts of child abuse, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in Dane County Circuit Court.
Philip Caminiti, 53, head pastor and elder at Aleitheia Bible Church, and his brother, John Caminiti, 45, also of Black Earth, allegedly hit the backsides of children with rods and dowels. The alleged victims are children in the Caminitis’ family and other children whose families are part of the church.
"If you spank early and it is done right, then kids will be happy and obedient," Philip Caminiti told investigators.
He also admitted to instructing parents within the church — which holds services and meetings at his and another member’s home — to hit their children on the bare buttocks with a rod because there’s a large amount of flesh there.
He told investigators he likes the immediacy of spanking and the Bible says a rod should be used.
Philip Caminiti faces up to 6 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, or both, for each of the eight counts, which range from June 2006 to November 2010.
John Caminiti told investigators in November he uses a rod or dowel on his two youngest children at home or at church and the scriptures make it clear his behavior is allowed.
He said he does not allow his family to communicate with people outside his religious beliefs and has punished his wife and son by shunning, or confining them to their rooms to have no contact with other family members, until they corrected their disobedience.
For each of his four counts of party of a crime of mental harm to a child, he faces up to 12½ years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine, or both. The penalties for each of his four counts of intentional child abuse are the same as his brother’s.
(CNN) — Florida’s ban on adoptions by gay men and lesbians came to an official end Friday.
Attorney General Bill McCollum said the case that led to the overturning of the state’s 33-year-old law wasn’t the “right case” to take to the state’s Supreme Court.
Licensed foster parent Frank Martin Gill had sued to have the ban overturned. He wanted to adopt two boys who had been placed in his care after the Florida Department of Children and Families removed them from their home for neglect.
Gill and his partner have been raising the boys for six years.
“We are relieved that this process has finally come to an end, and that we can focus on being a family,” Gill said in a statement released Friday. “All children deserve a chance at finding a stable, loving and permanent home. Over the 33 years of the ban, this archaic law has harmed countless foster children by denying them a forever family.”
Earlier this month, the Department of Children and Families announced it would not appeal a September decision by the state’s 3rd District Court of Appeal that found the law unconstitutional.
“We had weighed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court to achieve an ultimate certainty and finality for all parties,” said Joe Follick, the department’s communications director.
“But the depth, clarity and unanimity of the DCA opinion — and that of Miami-Dade Judge Cindy Lederman’s original circuit court decision — has made it evident that an appeal would have a less than limited chance of a different outcome.”
The appeals court opinion made adoption possible for gay and lesbians in Florida statewide.
The state agency said it has removed from adoption forms the question about an applicant’s sexual orientation. Gov. Charlie Crist ordered the department to stop enforcing the law after Lederman’s ruling.
Florida was the only remaining state to prohibit gay adoption.
Brandon Hensler of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida told CNN it is possible that some other case might try to challenge the court decisions, but he thinks such a move is unlikely.
Gill and his supporters planned to celebrate McCollum’s decision late Friday.