Woman Claims Sexual Abuse in Exorcism

A woman is suing a priest who allegedly sexually abused her during exorcisms he performed on her over a two year period. The woman, identified as Jane Doe, filed a suit against the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, its Bishop Paul S. Loverde, and Human Life International, an anti-abortion ministry that the alleged abuser, Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, was president of at the time of the exorcisms. She is seeking $5.3 million in damages.

In the lawsuit, Jane Doe says she sought the help of the Rev. Euteneuer and was told she was possessed by evil spirits and required an exorcism. He said he had permission from the Diocese to perform the exorcisms, a claim the Diocese denies. During this time, he sexually abused her and told her it was part of the exorcisms. When she complained in July 2010, Euteneuer stayed in office for a few more months before resigning. He was recalled to Florida by the Diocese of Palm Beach and was ordered to undergo counseling.

Euteneuer previously admitted that he went too far and issued a formal apology. In his statement last year, he wrote, “I take full responsibility for my own poor judgment, my weakness, and my sinful conduct that resulted from it.” He is not named in the suit because he and Jane Doe already reached a financial settlement. The lawsuit seeks damages from the Diocese and HLI for allowing Euteneuer’s behavior.

MSNBC 6/29/12; Reuters 6/28/12; ABC News 6/28/12; AP 6/27/12

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