Teen Dies After Church Members Give Him a ‘Spiritual Beating’

Two teenagers were severely beaten inside a New York church to the point where one of them died. Lucas Leonard, 19, and his brother Christopher, 17, were both beaten by members of the World of Life Church in New Hartford.

According to the New York Times both of the boys were hit and kicked for hours in an attempt to have them confess to past sins. This was what the church called a counseling session, one that the boys’ mother, father and half sister all took part in on Sunday. However, when Monday rolled around Lucas was found unresponsive inside the church and pronounced dead at the hospital. His younger brother is still under medical care trying to recover from serious injuries.

Many of the church members who participated in the counseling session of the two boys are facing charges, but it is their parents, Bruce and Deborah Leonard that have been given charges of first-degree manslaughter.

All of the six suspects who took part in the beating pleaded as not guilty, and the New York Times reports that about half a dozen other children were taken from the church property and members and placed into foster care.