Woman sues over alleged abuse by Fr. Thomas Euteneur

Interestingly, Euteneur himself is not named as a defendant.  But this item was posted today on the website of Courthouse News Service:

A Roman Catholic priest “kissed (a woman) on all parts of her body” during a so-called “exorcism” session, and “frequently explained full, passionate kisses as ‘blowing the Holy Spirit into’ her,” the woman claims in court.

Jane Doe sued the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, its Bishop Paul Loverde – who is not the priest accused of the abuse – and Human Life International and the HLI Endowment Inc., of Charlottesville, in Arlington County Court.

Doe claims she was sexually abused repeatedly by her “exorcist,” Thomas J. Euteneur, who was president of Human Life International and the HLI Endowment; Euteneur, however, is not named as an individual defendant.

Doe claims that Euteneur, a Roman Catholic priest, offers “‘spiritual deliverance’ and the performance of the rite of exorcism,” and did it “with the knowledge and consent of the Diocese and the Most Rev. Paul S. Loverde. … On at least one previous occasion, the Diocese and Bishop Loverde gave permission to Euteneur to conduct an exorcism within the Diocese.”

Doe claims that the defendants know that exorcism could be “potentially dangerous to the participants.” She says: “The defendants knew that a basic principle in the administration of an exorcism is that the priest should never act alone, and that he should always be accompanied by a support team who have been duly prepared to assist him.”

Doe says that her relationship with Euteneur began on Feb. 28, 2008, when she signed “a document entitled ‘Agreement for spiritual help.’ Among many other things, the document defines ‘deliverance’ as ‘the application of the spiritual resources of the Church to persons with demonic infestation in order to liberate them from the influence of unclean spirits.’”

Euteneur became her “deliverance minister,” and “The aforementioned documents included a requirement of ‘complete cooperation’ and travel to Euteneur’s offices at HLI,” according to the complaint.

Last year, Euteneur released a statement on the matter:

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.


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