ARLINGTON, Va. (CN) – 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.
Doe says that Euteneur told her “that her case was ‘severe.'”
For two months he touched her “in appropriate ways” in his offices, then in April 2008 told her “that he had received permission from the Diocese to perform the rite of exorcism,” Doe says.
On April 11, 2008, she says, “Euteneur began to hug the plaintiff while saying, ‘I wish I could go a lot further.’ He carried the plaintiff into a guest residence bedroom at HLI and HLIE, laid her on the bed, embraced her, touched her under her bra, and attempted to touch her under her underclothes, which the plaintiff stopped. Euteneur spent the entire night in bed with the plaintiff.
“During the following weeks, during every meeting, Euteneur became progressively persistent in touching the plaintiff inappropriately. He kissed the corners of her moth; stroked her legs, breasts and thighs; caressed her face; laid his body on top of hers; and frequently explained full, passionate kisses as ‘blowing the Holy Spirit into’ her.”
From April to June that year, on six occasions, Doe says, Euteneur “directed the plaintiff to undress; touched and kissed the plaintiff on all parts of her body; and digitally penetrated the plaintiff’s vagina. In addition, Euteneur directed the plaintiff to touch his penis.”
Doe claims that Euteneur “knew that his sexual violations on the plaintiff were not committed with her consent” and “would cause severe emotional distress to the plaintiff.”
Doe claims that HLI hired her as an independent contractor in September 2008, hired her as full-time employee in March 2010, and that during all this time, until June 2010, Euteneur “sexually abused her during working hours and in various rooms at HLI and HLIE headquarters.”
Doe claims that when she told Euteneur she had kept a journal “that she had kept a private journal which covered her time spent with Euteneur,” he persuaded her to “entrust the journal to him for safekeeping” while she took a vacation in Hawaii with her family.
She claims Euteneur “flew to Hawaii and secretly met with the plaintiff every morning while she was there.”
She claims that before she returned, Euteneur went to her home in Virginia “for the purpose of finding and collecting any and all other journals that the plaintiff might have kept. His attempt was unsuccessful.”
And, she claims, when she returned and asked for her journal back, “Euteneur reported that he had burned the journal ‘because it would scandalize the public and harm HLI.'”
After a final, abusive “deliverance,” Doe says, she concluded that her treatment was “illegal, inappropriate, outrageous, harmful, and completely contrary to the dictates of her understanding of Roman Catholic beliefs and practices.”
She claims she gave another priest in the Diocese a “detailed description of her relationship with Euteneur,” but Euteneur remained at HLI and HLIE for 2 more months, during which he sexually violated her two more times.
Finally, in August 2010, Euteneur resigned as president of HIL and HLIE and “was recalled to the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida,” according to the complaint.
It continues: “On January 31, 2011, Euteneur published a statement in which he wrote: ‘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.'”
She seeks punitive damages for assault, battery, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent entrustment, medical bills, and loss of enjoyment of life.
She is represented by Demetrious Pikrallidas, of Fairfax.