I don’t want to think about how many more cases of this kind may come to light, now that the first one (to my knowledge) is being made public. It is alleged that Father Thomas Euteneuer, former director of the pro-life group Human Life International, sexually abused a woman between 2008 and 2010 in what was meant to be “exorcism sessions”, according to this report.
In the suit, the woman said she signed an “agreement for spiritual help” with the priest in 2008 because she believed she was “in desperate need of the rite of exorcism,” a ritual of evicting demons or other entities from a person or place believed to be possessed.
Father Euteneuer has said his “violations of chastity were limited to one person only, an adult woman.” He also said he never “targeted vulnerable women or otherwise sought them out for spiritual direction.”
Just great. As you may know, the Catholic Church still insists on this harmful and traumatic medieval practice of mumbling Latin verses over restrained people to cure them from their alleged demonic possession ( for values of “demonic possession” from such things as self-harm to insomnia, epilepsy, to psychiatric illnesses). I guess it shouldn’t surprise us to hear of instances such as the one above where such a ritual would be taken as an opportunity to commit sexual abuse. Once again, it is a situation where a sexual predator finds himself in a position of power over a vulnerable, traumatized and more or less helpless victim. How many more cases of this particular depravity have there been ?
I read that the case has been settled out of court now. The punishment handed out to the priest by church authorities was harsh :
The priest, who resigned from his position with Human Life International in August 2010, also returned that year to his home Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla.