Teenager 'beaten to death by parents at church counselling session'

A 19-year-old was allegedly beaten to death by his parents during a church counselling session.

Lucas Leonard was subjected to physical punishment for hours "in the hope the would confess to prior sins and ask for forgiveness", police said.

His younger brother was also reportedly beaten inside the "sanctuary room" of the Sunday at the Word of Life Christian church in New York, but survived.

The victim's parents, Bruce Leonard, 65, and Deborah Leonard, 59, have been charged with manslaughter, which they deny.

(Top) Lucas' parents, sister Sarah Ferguson, (bottom) and churchgoers Joseph Irwin, Linda Morey and David Morey. Credit: Reuters

Lucas' sister Sarah Ferguson, 33, and three other fellow churchgoers Linda Morey, 54, David Morey, 26, and Joseph Irwin, were arrested on assault charges.

New York State Police said when they were first called, family members falsely told them Lucas had been shot.

His injuries were found to be consistent with blunt force trauma to his torso and "extremities".

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said there was not enough evidence to charge the couple with murder.

Additional charges and arrests were pending, police said.