Exorcism Lawsuit Seeks $5M for Priest's Erotic Rites

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on July 02, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A disgraced priest sexually abused a young woman during an exorcism ritual, a lawsuit claims. The spirit is now moving her to seek $5.3 million in damages, but not from her abuser.

The woman, identified as Jane Doe, has already settled her claims against the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer of Palm Beach, Fla., Reuters reports. The financial settlement's terms were not disclosed.

Euteneuer resigned as president of an anti-abortion group and its endowment in 2010 after the woman came forward with her allegations. Weeks later, Euteneuer confessed to sexual indiscretions.

"[O]ne particularly complex situation clouded my judgment and led me to imprudent decisions with harmful consequences," the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer said in a statement posted online by LifeSiteNews.com.

The "worst" of the harm "was violating the boundaries of chastity with an adult female who was under my spiritual care," Euteneuer said.

At the time, the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer was working in Virginia where the woman lives, her exorcism sexual-abuse lawsuit states. Euteneuer is one of the few Vatican-certified exorcists in the United States, the Miami New Times reports.

But as part of the exorcism rite, Euteneuer turned erotic. He hugged, kissed, and groped the woman, claiming he was "blowing the Holy Spirit into her," the woman's lawsuit states. He also made the woman undress and violated her with his finger, Reuters reports.

The victim is suing Euteneuer's former anti-abortion group, Human Life International, for the priest's actions. The Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Va., is also named in the suit, because Arlington is where the exorcism took place.

In general, a victim can sue an entity for an employee or agent's negligence. Such a suit can also allege negligent hiring or retention of the employee.

In its defense, the Diocese of Arlington insists the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer was never its employee; HLI maintains the priest's behavior was not "within the scope of his employment." If these defenses hold up, it seems the woman's exorcism sexual-abuse lawsuit may not have a prayer.

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