Convicted mother describes her ordeal in religious sect

The Boston Globe/March 4, 2004

A former member of a religious sect released last month after her trial for starving her child said she "suffered a lot" at the hands of her fellow sect members and was pained by her child's slow death.

Karen Robidoux, whose statements were broadcast on WBZ-TV 4 last night, said she was only concerned with the well-being of her son Samuel. "I knew he was sick, I knew he was suffering, and that ripped me up inside, and nobody would help me," she said.

Last month, Robidoux was cleared of murder charges but convicted of assault and battery for starving her infant son to death to fulfill a prophecy. She was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison but was set free after the verdict because she had already spent nearly three years in state custody, mostly in a psychiatric hospital.

Robidoux, 28, and her husband, Jacques, were members of a tiny sect called "The Body," which rejects modern medicine. After another member told them about a message she received from God, they began withholding solid food from their son. Her lawyer had argued that Robidoux was brainwashed. Prosecutors said the only victim was Samuel.

"I don't think I could ever have true peace, because there is a hole in my heart that's very big," she said.

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