The Rogue Exorcist Defense: Priest Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Woman During Exorcisms

A Virginia woman has filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, its bishop, and an anti-abortion ministry for what she alleges was sexual assault during an exorcism. The woman claims that the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, then president of Front Royal-based Human Life International Inc., made her repeatedly take off her clothes and then caressed and kissed her — saying that he was “blowing the Holy Spirit” into her. She said it gradually dawned on her that this was not your standard exorcism. The case will apparently explore the difference between showing why “Jesus Loves You” and showing how “Jesus loves you.”

The woman does appear to have returned to her senses — she is seeking more than $5.3 million in damages.

The woman came to Euteneuer seeking the exorcism and he told her that her case was “severe” and insisted on her signing an agreement to cooperate with his demands. It appears that the priest is part of the Diocese of Palm Beach. The Diocese of Arlington insists that as soon as they learned of the allegations, they asked that Euteneuer be recalled. However, the case presents interesting scope of employment and respondeat superior claims. She claims that Arlington had legal responsibility over excorists operating in its jurisdiction. In the meantime, HLI appears to be developing a rogue exorcist defense despite his being their former president. Stephen Phelan, spokesman for HLI, said “we can only emphasize that such behavior was never within the scope of his employment with HLI.”

Companies will often claim that employees were on “a frolic or a detour” when they committed a tort. However, courts tend not to cut these job descriptions too narrowly. He was after all engaging in an exorcism, which varies greatly in the conduct of the priest in fighting the devil (who presumably cannot be deposed on the subject). Moreover, Euteneuer was not named in the lawsuit because he and the woman previously reached a financial settlement. Euteneuer acknowledged “violating the boundaries of chastity with an adult female who was under my spiritual care.”

Below is a statement from Euteneurer:

Statement of Fr. Thomas Euteneuer: setting the record straight

January 31, 2011

It is with great sadness, but also with a certain measure of relief, that I can now respond to the many inquiries about my departure as president of Human Life International (HLI) at the end of August 2010. It has been painful for me to remain silent in light of the ongoing speculation, particularly when much of it assigned blame to those who were, in fact, blameless. I am thankful to be able to set the record straight so that speculation can stop and blame can be placed right where it belongs – with me.

The circumstances that led to my departure from HLI were related exclusively to my own decisions and conduct within the ministry of exorcism that I carried out independently from my responsibilities at HLI. The vast majority of my decisions and conduct, both personally and in this ministry, were morally sound and consistent with all standards of pastoral care of persons. Moreover, they were all motivated exclusively by my desire to give priestly assistance to people in great spiritual distress. I must acknowledge, however, that one particularly complex situation clouded my judgment and led me to imprudent decisions with harmful consequences, the worst of which was violating the boundaries of chastity with an adult female who was under my spiritual care.

I take full responsibility for my own poor judgment, my weakness and my sinful conduct that resulted from it. I offer no excuse for my professional or moral failures, nor do I shift the blame to anyone else. I state without reserve that I am deeply sorry for my actions. I have personally apologized, where possible, to anyone I have harmed. I am saddened beyond words for my fall, not only because of the harm done to my priesthood and my family, but also because of the harm done to all others who are affected, to the faith of those who placed so much trust in me and our Church, and to the pro-life movement so populated with heroic, faithful people. I must face and make amends for the disappointment I have caused. I have, of course, asked for God’s forgiveness and I have confidence in his boundless mercy. I am now grateful to be able to publicly ask for all of yours as well.

As to my departure from HLI, Church officials are completely without blame, having dealt in a timely and appropriate manner with a crisis that was not of their making. I offer this statement as a matter of justice to vindicate Church officials who have been unjustly criticized by those writing and speaking in ignorance of the facts.

While I would much prefer to allow this public act of contrition to stand alone, I regret having to address the malicious falsehoods that were published this past week on various internet sites. I can only say that I am shocked to the depths of my being at the malicious efforts by supposedly faithful Catholics to destroy a priest who has served the Church faithfully for 22 years. The campaigners have made intolerable attempts to contact my family, to defame innocent co-workers and even to solicit and to persuade others with whom I have prayed that they are victims despite their unequivocal statements to the contrary. Some have even claimed falsely and maliciously that there is a possessed person living in my family’s home. No one should have to endure such malevolence or such treatment of innocent family members. Despite the rhetoric of justice and truth-seeking, the sinful campaign has not made one single positive contribution to the resolution of this difficult situation that has already been handled appropriately by Church authorities for nearly six months.

While I would otherwise willingly suffer calumnies in silence to atone for my sins, and knowing how pointless it is to respond to every crackpot with a website, I cannot remain silent when such falsehoods threaten to damage the Church, the priesthood, and other innocent persons and organizations that are or have been linked to me. I therefore affirm and will never deviate from my affirmation that the following are true:

My violations of chastity were limited to one person only, an adult woman;
The violations of chastity happened due to human weakness but did not involve the sexual act;
The accusation that I “targeted” vulnerable women or otherwise sought them out for spiritual direction is utterly false and a serious defamation of my character and ministry;
With rare exceptions, my exorcism/prayer ministry was always conducted with prayer helpers (third parties) present; situations where prayer or pastoral care occurred without helpers present were exceptional situations where I believed it was necessary for me to act quickly in order to help the afflicted person; while not proper protocol, these departures from the norm were never done with a motive to be alone with vulnerable women;
I repudiate any allegations of financial impropriety in conducting my prayer/exorcism ministry; I never, under any circumstances, solicited money for the ministry other than travel-related reimbursements, nor did I use HLI donor funds to carry out this work; any gifts offered to me were unsolicited and only accepted so as not to offend the giver and in most cases immediately given to those more needy than myself;
I have no knowledge of any persons who received any financial settlement in this matter, nor have I asked for that to be given.
I pray that my two decades of faithful priestly ministry and my efforts in the defense of life will be seen in the light of the good fruits they have produced and not denigrated because of my moments of weakness in a most challenging ministry. I also wish to state that I have never entertained even the slightest thought of leaving the holy priesthood or the Roman Catholic Church as a result of my failings. Currently I am under obedience to my bishop who has allowed me to make this statement and in whose hands I leave all questions of continuing priestly ministry. I conclude with an expression of deepest gratitude for the prayers of the many generous supporters of my priesthood and of the prolife movement.

Source: Daily Mail

43 thoughts on “The Rogue Exorcist Defense: Priest Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Woman During Exorcisms

  1. This may seem like a dumb question but seriously, people seek out exorcisms? Do you just find someone on Craigslist for that? And we thing the Islam is crazy?

  2. Yes…But, did it work for him? I believe the priest was exorcising the “sex demon” within himself. The hypocrisy here is obvious, the ruling should be obvious. What is also obvious yet INVISIBLE to the faithful, Sexual desire and (at times) Lust are very powerful human motivators. They exist will exist, and religious faith is not going to change this fact. When swept under a rug and repressed or hidden, these deniers trip and fall, victim to their blind faith and false principle. Sex has been around a long time, why is it “dirty” why is enjoyment of sex in so many religious sets spun as sin?
    Healthy, respectful, mutual, consensual, fulfilling, these are acceptable adjectives to be sought in practicing sex. The dirty in sex is in its denial and hidden lusts, it is in preaching against it while burning for it…. this hypocrisy is what fetids the soul.

  3. Sometimes children “play doctor”.
    Now they can play “exorcist”.
    Question is: Is the money exchange and the confession part of the children’s game too?

    Did the Vatican approve this his conession?

  4. Well, did he make a financial settlement or not?

    “Euteneuer was not named in the lawsuit because he and the woman previously reached a financial settlement.”

    But in his statement:
    “I have no knowledge of any persons who received any financial settlement in this matter, nor have I asked for that to be given.”

    Maybe his statement preceded the settlement.

  5. My first question upon reading this story was whether he blew the Holy Spirit into her before or after the pea soup scene.

    But he should have known better. I remember that when I attended CYO dances at Blessed Sacrament School, we were expressly prohibited from blowing the Holy Spirit into each other during slow dances.

  6. At TKG……the IHM, You must have had a different Order….. They still believed in short hair….even in the 70’s…

  7. Mike A.,
    You are right. I never got the Holy Spirit blown into me at any of the sock hops sponsored by St. Lamberts or one of the local Catholic high schools. If I had only known that the priests may have been “luckier” than me, I would have protested! :)

  8. Darren,

    Question to you again….. Why or how did you pick a Plano, Texas IP Address to make your example if you live in Washington State? I am curious…..

  9. Mike A.,

    “I remember that when I attended CYO dances at Blessed Sacrament School, we were expressly prohibited from blowing the Holy Spirit into each other during slow dances.”

    Now there’s a defense for kissing I’ve never heard before! lol

  10. Gene H.:
    You’re right, that’s a terrible line. He should have explained that he was “imbuing” her with the Holy Spirit.

  11. rafflaw:
    No, but it would be less embarrassing in the confessional than saying, “We were making out.”

  12. Mike A.,
    I always wondered why the parishoners weren’t allowed to hear the priest’s confessions. He knew all of our dirt so what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

  13. Rafflaw,
    Each priest has a private line to G–. That’s how he knows how many HMs etc to give you. Nobody knows what you did—only G–. So aren’t you craving a bit much?

  14. AY,

    What you got against Plano. I bought an amateur radio there, and ate good home style across the Interstate.

    But Darren, I agree. He has been a little to holier than thou for my taste. Don’t have a clue what you’re referring to, but as always willing to stick my nose into other’s business.

    If he’s in western Washington, then I understand why he visits Plano. Rain, rain, go away; come again some other hour.

    Darren, you’re OK. Place for all here. Except certain I won’t mention just now.

  15. “Blowing the Holy Spirit into her!” Easy there, Big Fella; I doubt you have the necessary skill set to call it that. Maybe…if you could manage a “Second Coming…”

  16. I have no idea where WP’s server farm is, but there are a bunch of data centers in Plano, Arlington and North Dallas.

  17. Darren Smith,

    As Mike A said earlier on another thread….I appreciate your throughness…. However the Question is not answered which leads me again to ask…..How did you come about picking an IP Address in Plano, Texas when you state that you live in the Great State of Washington……. I was just curious…..I know that that is not my ip address…..nor any where close to where I live….. You had to have some reason to pick that one…. I am curious…..since you brought it up……and Yes Sir, it was the one you picked…. NOT I….I have saved the thread if you need me to post it here?

  18. Anonymously yours

    I fail to understand what you are asking and the relevance to living in Washington. In the example I used in the 12,000,000 thread topic I used our Professor’s TLD Domain Address (in the post two or so users above this one, the server autocompleted what I typed) What do you mean by Picking up an IP Address in Plano, Texas?” Last time I checked I am still in Washington, My employees seem to be talking with me so I guess I am here. But I guess my answer so far is insufficient so I will present the command line transaction I instigated, since it is of such utmost importance when giving a hypothetical example.

    >tracert jonathanturley.org

    Tracing route to jonathanturley . org [72.233.2.58] {{ the IP address I derived from the tracert and subsequently used in the example
    over a maximum of 30 hops:

    “snipped” 1 – 7 for security reasons

    7 12 ms 12 ms 11 ms ae-32-52.ebr2.Seattle1.Level3.net [4.69.147.182]

    8 44 ms 49 ms 49 ms ae-2-2.ebr2.Denver1.Level3.net [4.69.132.54]
    9 38 ms 46 ms 36 ms ae-1-100.ebr1.Denver1.Level3.net [4.69.151.181]

    10 52 ms 51 ms 52 ms ae-2-2.ebr2.Dallas1.Level3.net [4.69.132.106]
    11 50 ms 52 ms 50 ms ae-62-62.csw1.Dallas1.Level3.net [4.69.151.129]

    12 52 ms 50 ms 52 ms ae-12-60.car2.Dallas1.Level3.net [4.69.145.4]
    13 60 ms 52 ms 51 ms DATABANK-HO.car2.Dallas1.Level3.net [4.71.170.2]

    14 * * * Request timed out.
    15 62 ms 51 ms 52 ms 58.2.233.72.static.reverse.ltdomains.com [72.233
    .2.58]

    Trace complete.

    Now, the last ping response at the bottom indicates itdomains.com in looking at this and performing a cursory view, because doing anything extra in this is not worth my time, I would venture to say that whoever is the hosting agency for jonathanturley.org’s website probably proxies to the file server that provides the website.

  19. Re the rogue priest-exorcist:

    When is the church going to
    have a saintly exercise commemorating some victim of priestly sexual abuse; preferably several saints including man, woman, and children of both sexes. Statue group in the Vatican would be appropriate soonest.

    Re internet and Plano, Texas:

    A,B,C, D, E, g,….no dammit F, etc.
    Learning my ABCs, next week; internet tracing.

    Let me say am glad GeneH’s comment indicates that Plano has advanced in the intervening 25 years since my last visit. They may even have a couple of medium rises, and more than a little street grid. No longer a place for specialty stores who could not pay Dallas rents.

    Bet they still have home style cooking and texas barbecue served at 12AM. And maybe the interstate has eight lanes now.

  20. Once she saw his weenie it scared the demons out of her and she came to her senses. Once she came to her senses he came to the conclusion that the priesthood was not all that it was cracked up to be. The demon fled, there was only one demon, and there the couple was, two old maids, laying in a bed, one turned over to the other and said: lets stop, my fingers getting tired.
    The Catholic Church is a good thing for many Americans. They can go into this building seven days a week and be absolved and de-demonized for all things they did that were wrong. The Catholic Church is good for many demons. They go in with the parishoners and get released from the parishoner’s body, stay in limbo by the front door, and walk out body and soul with another parishoner. The demons help the parishoner steal money from the rest of society to drop off in the box at the front door or on that plate that gets passed in the aisles. The priests fly to Vegas once in a while to purge themselves of demon semen and what plays in Vegas stays in Vegas.

  21. Wow, when the guy did something obviously wrong, it was bad judgment, violating boundaries, some weird vague phrases about chastity, and ho hum ho hum blah blah blah.

    But when others SPOKE about him so’s he didn’t like, that was really BAD and NEFARIOUS and he can’t understand how folks can be that malicious and turrbul.

    Cut the crap, man: You were dipping into some honey and you got caught. The fake humility combined with the still-self-righteous pontificating calls for compazine, not for “understanding” and least of all for blame to those who are now castigating you. Turn your other damn cheek and stop firing volleys.

  22. Blouise, I decided to put it off for tomorrow.
    I was SUPPOSED to go to sleep a few hours back but didn’t get there yet.
    (But thanks for reminding me…) ;-)

  23. […] LSN contributors include (but are not limited to) current HLI President Fr. Shenan Boquet, HLI Director of Education and Research Brian Clowes, former interim head and frequent “demographic winter” alarmist Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, current VP for Missions Fr. Peter Welch, Communications Director Stephen Phelan, HLI’s Regional Director in English-speaking Africa Emil Hagamu, and the occasional badly-formatted press release by former President Fr. Richard Welch (who seems to be the only HLI leader that LSN didn’t like).  And when Human Life International spokespeople are not contributing to LSN, the website is often reporting HLI’s leaders speeches and pronouncements with enough importance that they seem to convey an almost papal authority.  LSN has even assisted disgraced former leaders of the organization escape criticism, like founder Fr. Paul Marx.  LSN published Fr. Thomas Euteneuer’s defense of himself plus a glowing tribute, after he resigned amid scandal involving inappropriate sexual activity with a woman upon whom he was performing an exorcism (legal documents go further to allege that the sexual activity was non-consensual). […]

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