Judge returns couple to jail

The Telegram/April 11, 2002

Attleboro-- Two members of a religious sect were sent back to jail yesterday after again refusing to answer a judge's questions about a baby that state welfare officials believe may be in danger.

Rebecca and David Corneau appeared before Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth Nasif to face questions about the status of a baby the couple claims Rebecca Corneau miscarried in November. Because they have not given more information or provided proof, Juvenile Judge Kenneth Nasif had them jailed for contempt of court.

The state Department of Social Services believes the Corneaus may be hiding the baby and that it may be endangered because their religious beliefs reject modern medicine.

J.W. Carney Jr., the Corneaus' lawyer, said the couple "did not produce a child (yesterday) because no child has ever existed."

"The situation that parents can be held in prison indefinitely because of their failure to produce a child that does not exist sounds like a situation that could only occur in Orwell's '1984,' but that is what is happening in this case," he said.

The Corneaus have other children who have been taken into state custody.

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