I’ve been following this story for the past few weeks. I’m not sure whether this group just has taken corporal punishment to the extreme or if something even more disturbing is occurring. Essentially a group of Mennonite children were seized by Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Manitoba Child and Family Services Department after complaints of corporal punishment began to trickle out of a new Plain settlement in the province. The children have been living in foster homes since July and parents are eager to get them back. The men and a woman were charged with multiple counts of assault, including assault with a weapon. Court documents allege that the children were assaulted with cattle prods and straps between July 2011 and Jan. 31 of this year.
While I don’t think corporal punishment is widespread among the Amish and Mennonites, there does seem to be a danger of this type of thing ingraining itself in particular communities, especially ones that are quite remote and isolated from other Plain groups. I’m not sure if there is any connection between this group and the “Manitoba colony” in Bolivia where the “ghost rapes” have been occurring. In Manitoba, the 100 or so members of Westbourne Orthodox Mennonite Church, near Gladstone, live without telephones and electricity and use horses to pull their farm machinery. Read the latest in this child abuse saga here.