Lawsuit says priest sexually assaulted woman during two-year exorcism

According to this story in the Washington Post, a woman sought spiritual help from Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, who at the time was the president of anti-abortion organization Human Life International Inc.  Euteneur also served as an exorcist and even published a book on the topic.  He advised that the two of them do an exorcism together.

The plaintiff alleges that Euteneuer’s sessions with her frequently involved inappropriate touching and directing her to undress. The complaint says Euteneur explained passionate kisses as “blowing the Holy Spirit” into her.

As time went on, Euteneur stepped up his inappropriate behavior during the exorcism sessions and became increasingly persistent in touching the woman.

The exorcism sessions spanned two years.  Eventually, the woman realized that the conduct was inappropriate and complained to the diocese.

After she complained, Euteneur stepped down from his position with the pro-life organization.

Apparently, she reached some type of out-of-court settlement with Euteneur, and is now seeking more than $5.3 million from the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, its bishop and the anti-abortion ministry that employed Euteneuer.

So here is what I can’t get past — two years is a very long time to be in any type of treatment (with the exception of talk therapy).  I don’t know anyone who has been part of an exorcism personally, but it seems like an awful long time to get that demon out.  Even most rehabs are only twenty-eight days.  I would think that if the diocese or the priest’s employer had any knowledge that the priest was engaged in an ongoing exorcism of this length, they will have some serious explaining to do.

That said, I’m really curious as to the facts of the case.

While I have sympathy for adult victims of priests, I also think that adult victims are both qualitatively and quantitatively different from child victims.   Not to mention that this occurred in the context of a private exorcism.  All of this could make it tough to sell to a jury.

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~ by siouxsielaw on June 29, 2012.

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