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Friday, June 29, 2012

"Virginia woman sues over alleged sexual abuse during exorcism"

A Reuters article appeared on Yahoo News today with the headline above. The relevant excerpts:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Virginia woman who claims a priest sexually abused her while performing an exorcism is suing a Catholic diocese and an anti-abortion group for $5.3 million in damages.

The woman claims the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer abused her between April 2008 and September 2010, according to the suit filed in Virginia's Arlington County Circuit Court....

The suit names as defendants the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and its bishop, Paul Loverde, as well as the anti-abortion group Human Life International and HLI Endowment Inc....

The woman, identified in the suit as Jane Doe, said she signed an "agreement for spiritual help" with Euteneuer in February 2008 because "she believed she was in desperate need of the rite of exorcism," the suit said.

Euteneuer repeatedly hugged, kissed and groped the woman, and said he was "blowing the Holy Spirit into her," according to the suit, which was filed on June 19. Euteneuer told the woman to undress on about six occasions, touched and kissed her body, and put his finger in her vagina, court documents said....

The woman is seeking $5 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.

I saw "The Exorcist" back when it first came out in 1973. It didn't happen like that at all. (Though the movie might have been even more popular if it had.)

I'm left wondering:

Doesn't a woman who asks for an exorcism deserve whatever she gets?

What kind of self-respecting religious institution agrees to perform an exorcism? Isn't driving demons out usually the province of primitive cultures we normally laugh at?

Does the Catholic Church need this kind of publicity?

Did Ms. Doe not suspect after the first few times she was asked to undress that something fishy might have been going on?

How do we know that she didn't expect this sort of hanky panky, and asked for an exorcism while really looking for a payday?

And how do we know that sticking a finger into a woman's vagina doesn't actually rid her of her demons? There is an entire school of thought, started by Sigmund Freud, devoted to the theorem that such treatment is exactly what some women need to calm their hysteria.

(Perhaps the Catholic Church should countersue, and say that a well placed finger can do wonders to "drive out the demons.")

Surprising that the New York Times, which so eagerly prints every story putting the Catholic Church into a bad light, hasn't given this case more publicity. Who knows, maybe they will.

Maybe I should start a business performing exorcisms.

Sounds like it could be fun.


Brian Fradet said...

John--In my humble opinion, this type of allowable activity (frivolous) lawsuits are what is making this country not worth living in. Not to condone the Catholic church, which is an insane institution--I was an alter boy--but that's besides the point. This woman is clearly a reptile posing as a human, or, in your lingo, a sociopath. Later, Brian

John Craig said...

Brian --
That possibility definitely exists, but i would also hold out the possibility that she is just an idiot.

Pete said...

Very probably a false charge. The person is obviously a crackpot and demonstrably delusional, thinking she is possessed or some such nonsense. The credibility of someone like this is less than zero. Yet, they can still file a lawsuit and hope to cash in.
People were hanged on account of accusations of witchcraft. We now know the accusers were malicious as well as being fantasists.

John Craig said...

Pete --
Everything you say is true, but to me, the credibility of anybody who would offer to perform an exorcism is also zero.

Mike said...

Don't know about exorcism, John, but I did see this in the Daily Telegraph:

I know you specialize in sociopathic flavor (and I think you are better than a lot of pro's at indentifying them) but this was interesting.

John Craig said...

Mike --
Thank you, and thank you for passing that along. It's a good description of sociopathy, and Dr. Robert Hare is generally considered the foremost expert in the field of sociopathy in this country.