Here’s a news story out of Virginia, where a woman is suing Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, the Catholic priest she’d gone to for an exorcism. According to the suit brought against the Diocese of Arlington (and the anti-abortion group he’d been president of for some reason), his behaviour made the woman feel she wasn’t being exorcised as much as sexually molested. And not just once. This went on for nearly two years.
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 suit alleges that [Bishop] Loverde and the Diocese of Arlington knew Euteneuer would perform an exorcism on the woman.
But, the question needs to be asked, how aware were they of Euteneuer’s style? Did they know that when he said “exorcism” he really meant “get it on with a gullible woman”?
Asked about the suit, the Diocese of Arlington said Euteneuer had never been its employee. He worked for Human Life International, an independent company, subject to his bishop in Palm Beach, it said.
“Rev. Euteneuer was not authorized to perform an exorcism on the plaintiff,” it said in a statement, adding that the diocese had its own exorcist.
And there’s the apparent answer. She didn’t go to a proper exorcist. So really, this is all her fault…
According to the article, she and Euteneuer reached a private settlement on the issue earlier and his status as priest has essentially been revoked by the Diocese of Palm Beach. It makes little sense to include Human Life International in the suit. President he might have been, but this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the group itself. It sounds like they’ve since distanced themselves from him and want to keep their reputation from being sullied further.
The woman is hoping for a $5.3 million payout. I know you can’t really put a price on human suffering but I really doubt she’ll get anywhere near that amount, if anything at all. Sexual abuse trials are hard to win at the best of times, let alone when it’s a church involved.
I’ll update if I ever see more about it.
Go back and read over both the press release of HLI in August of 2010 as well as the good-bye letter from Euteneuer they posted on their website that same month. Both portray the man as a pious soldier of Christ, exhausted by all his great work for the pro-life movement, retiring due to needing a break and being recalled by his bishop to Palm Beach.
Six months later, HLI admits they knew not only that Euteneur was accused of sexual misconduct but that he had actually admitted as much to them, and they then asked for his resignation.
Shameful cover-up and revictimization of the woman he molested. Plus it does certainly make you wonder what else they knew and when. The lawsuit allegess this molestatoin was going on right on HLI’s premises, over a course of many, many months, and that people should have known something was seriously wrong because all sorts of red flags were there.
That certainly puts a more sinister spin on things. I should have hunted around for more details prior to posting. Thanks for commenting.