A new lawsuit brought against a prominent exorcist/priest alleges that the plaintiff, an unnamed 32-year-old woman, was repeatedly sexually assaulted under the premise that he was ridding her of "demonic infestation." According to the lawsuit, Father Thomas Euteneuer, a former head of anti-abortion group Human Life International (HLI), first came into contact with the woman in 2008 when she was 24 years old. Along his HLI work, the 50-year-old priest was also under the supervision of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. The lawsuit describes her initial contact with him in which he had her sign an "agreement for spiritual help" and then told her that she need to cooperate fully so that he could drive out the demons that were plaguing her.
Almost immediately after the sessions with Father Euteneuer began, he began touching her inappropriately. He then took her to HLI headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia where he carried her to a guest bedroom. He then "laid her on the bed, embraced her, touched her under her bra, and attempted to touch her under her underclothes, which the plaintiff stopped”according to her statement. He then spent the rest of the night in bed with her.
Between April and June 2008, the exorcism sessions continued and "created in the plaintiff a distorted and damaging belief that exorcism was tied to sexual activity.” Though she kept what had happened secret for a time, she then disclosed the abuse to the Arlington Diocese victims' office in 2010. While she was given spiritual and psychological counseling, a spokesman for the Diocese told her that they had no responsibility for Father Euteneuer who had not been authorized to carry out an exorcism. Father Euteneuer resigned from his post at the HLI that year and was subsequently recalled to the Diocese in Palm Beach, Florida. He also published a statement that he "violated the boundaries of chastity with an adult female who was under my spiritual care.”
After other women made similar accusations, Palm Beach Bishop Gerald Barbarito announced that Euteneuer would be undergoing “intensive evaluation and counseling.” They have since settled with the plaintiff (known only as "Jane Doe") for an undisclosed amount. Father Euteneur's current whereabouts have not been made public. The current lawsuit is directed against Human Life International and the Arlington diocese for their negligence in allowing the abuse to continue.