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Parents held for 'forcing demons' from daughter

Published: 28 Jan 2012 15:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Jan 2012 15:28 GMT+01:00

Exorcism was the motivation for repeated attacks against a 14 year-old girl from western Sweden who was regularly beaten and burned by her father and stepmother, who wanted to rid the girl of “evil spirits”, prosecutors allege.

"The girl was put through a number of things to get rid of evil spirits that possessed her, according to certain notions," said prosecutor Daniel Larson to local newspaper Borås Tidning (BT).

Police have previously been unwilling to divulge any details about the case, which occurred in Borås, in southwestern Sweden.

According to BT, suspicions first surfaced in 2004 when an anonymous report arrived at the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), but the agency opted not to pursue the matter at the time.

Six years later, in 2010, the agency received new reports that the child was being abused, as well as information indicating that her father had taken her to Skåne to force the evil daemons out of her.

The girl may have been beaten and burned over a long period of time in order to drive out demons. She was also locked up, in order to prevent her from infecting others with her evil spirits, reported the newspaper.

The prosecutor also confirmed that the case is connected to controversial local congregation The River.

"Events which we've investigated occurred on the congregation's premises, so in that sense it is connected," said Larson.

Following a four-hour remand hearing on Friday at Borås' district court, the 33-year-old step mother , who is believed to be the driving force behind the violent exorcism attempts, was remanded in custody on suspicion of gross violation of a person's integrity (grov fridskränkning).

The girl's 37-year-old father was also ordered held on remand on suspicion of being an accomplice to the assault and for false imprisonment.

Attorneys for the father and stepmother told BT that their clients deny having committed any crimes.

The head of The River congregation, Gun Hartikainen, refused to comment on the matter.

"I have nothing to say to you. Have a blessed day. Good bye," she told BT.

TT/Clara Guibourg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:39 January 28, 2012 by chantal11
She is 14... and the father is 37...

um yeah thats what happens when children have children. Obvious he was no way near ready to be a father, and then when religion gets involved... never a good situation.

poor girl
19:20 January 28, 2012 by KFF
Re: chantal11

Would say 23 is a pretty normal age to have your first child. Most people start working when they are 18-19, are pretty settled around 25 and start creating their own families. The deviants from this pattern are mostly people going to uni and/or are living in big cities.

The exorcism in this case is a combination of christian cultist behavior, together with the fervent belief in evil spirits that is fairly common among sub-saharan africans. Isn't the first time and will not be the last.
20:22 January 28, 2012 by bcarroll
Yet another way that religion harms people every day. Poor girl is right.
20:39 January 28, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
It is sad when "religious" nuts give a bad name to Christianity. As a follower of Jesus, I am saddened when such bizarre behavior causes people like @bcarroll to besmirch all of Christianity. Our Lord does not want His religion to hurt anyone. It is when human sin perverts the Word that these things happen.
21:19 January 28, 2012 by engagebrain
religion - making good people do evil, and an amazing boon to the plain evil.
22:35 January 28, 2012 by Keith #5083
"the agency opted not to pursue the matter at the time." Xcuse me, could you run that by me again?? 'opted?' You mean the agency is not mandated to act by law, it can be optional? This girl is abused,possibly, for a further six years...was that 'optional?'.

Little surprise that there has been an 'unwillingness' to discuss the case!

# chantal11

I totally agree with you.Age is a major factor. I have met some 50 year-olds that I considered grossly unfit to be parents.

¤Gun Hartikainen

As for this congregation being 'religious', well, I guess that's a category they would like to claim.The fruits of this mob,however, are decidedly rotten to the core when they - and their so-called leader Gun permit such actions.

Come and visit me,Gun, I would love to have a discussion with you about comparative religions and the meaning of the ONE great commandment.
06:41 January 29, 2012 by Grokh
thats what happens when fanatic religious have children.

if they want to exorcise the girl maybe arrest her stupid parents and put them far away from her .

now that would be some good exorcism!
07:23 January 29, 2012 by volvoman9
@ Dr. Dillweed, That's right it human kinds fault that the fairy tale isn't working. Any one who subscribes to this construct is a religious nut. One merely has to look at the rich perverted history of organized religion to find ample argument to support it's madness. It was conceived to explain that which primitive man could not understand and perverted to control and justify the abuse of mankind.
10:32 January 29, 2012 by zooeden
Ia m not surprised about the beating father who is totally nuts, I am not surprised about the stepmother who is another nutcase: The exorcism thing doesnt even bother me, cause you know, it has happened for ages that people who is crazy or religiously fanatic (same thing) have been doing exorcisims for ages!!!

Now, what really infuriates me is this: "in 2004 when an anonymous report arrived at the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), but the agency opted not to pursue the matter at the time."

Now, if we are are in the cave age like this nuts who perform exorcisms then I ask for the guillotine for the people who personally got in contact with this case in 2004, cause ignoring that fact will leave this poor little girl in mercy of a cruel and dark world...
13:00 January 29, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
@volvoman9

Name calling at the start of your rant does not befit an adult or civil discourse.
17:10 January 29, 2012 by E.N.T.W.I.N.E.D
Religion has to do nothing with this poor girl...

The problem falls within the father and this so called stepmother ....

They destroy her and destroy themselves....

If this girl is really obsessed with demonic spirit then we can refer to the right place with strong priest who can cast demons away because not all priests have this power...

I witnessed exorcism with very strong Orthodox priest in Egypt and they healed those obsessed poor people..

But If the Girl has nothing like that ... so, this is her family are responsible and they are totally crazy living in the Ice Age thinking that they can solve this problem by destroying this child like this.... with this way they did if she has no evil spirit inside of her ... it will come to her...

I recommend at the end... more investigation and put the maximum punishment
17:30 January 29, 2012 by Mickkelly
@Dr. Dilner

i think the thousands of Priests that abused children have quite a lot more to do with giving christianity a bad name, as far as your God not wanting to harm anyone?what about all the hurricanes, Tsunamis and earthquakes?

what about the millions of women that have had miscarriages, god killed these foetuses before they were even born. sadistic
18:36 January 29, 2012 by volvoman9
@ Dr. Dilner, You are right and I apologize for the cheap shot. However it makes my blood boil when the innocent ( women, children and the old or weak) are not adequately protected from delusional monsters because an elected or employed government is afraid to intercede.

It further incenses me when someone of your ilk spouts the same ageless rhetoric that they have been conditioned to reply with when confronted with the reality that the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that more atrocities have been committed in he name of religion than any for other reason. Organized religion and this faith based belief in a god are an archaic notion whose time has ceased to be of any productive use to society. It is merely the potent narcotic of reassuring simplicity.

Mankind desperately needs to shake off this yoke of imagined puppet masters and face the realities of our existence here. It hamstrings progress and allows the nutbags to control the weak and impressionable.

Yes this is a rant and one that needs to be taken up by the humans who clearly see what results of subscribing to this aged myth has brought us to. We no longer embrace the message of the tenets of religious dogma but instead fear anyone who embraces them. We see them as dangerous zealots bent on world domination. Europe and the world in general have suffered enough of these.

There is no heaven and hell and no reward or punishment at the end. This life should be enough for anyone and humans should not need the threat of hells fires or the promise of some mansion in the sky to live in harmony with their fellow man.
19:02 January 29, 2012 by bcarroll
I disagree that religion is not the problem here. With religion, you take what you "know" from revelation and authority, which fosters abuse like this. Instead, the rest of the modern world looks to research and science for answers. Exorcisms were more often than not a response to those with mental illness, causing more harm than good. To the naysayers, I say that your religion and the means of "knowing" in an epistemological sense have caused this abuse. The people involved are just gears in the system of the religion.
01:58 January 30, 2012 by Svensksmith
To say that all religion is bad because some people use religion to justify terrible actions is flawed logic. It is like saying all cars are bad because they cause accidents.

Personally, I don't care what (if any) religion another person has as long as they don't force their beliefs on me or persecute me for mine.
08:20 January 30, 2012 by karex
@volvoman9. I agree. Religion after all was created by man, not by God. As such it was flawed and doomed from the beginning.
14:28 January 31, 2012 by farnoxo
If one looked hard and objectively at all the damage that religion causes, if the Swedish state was consistent, then we should only be allowed to get religion through a state-controlled monopoly. A sort of systembolaget for those who need their little god fix every week.
22:48 January 31, 2012 by rickets
"Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told.

Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right."

-H L Mencken
12:12 February 4, 2012 by Dave N
We have a lot of this barbaric nonsense here in the UK. All imported, of course. You can take the African out of Africa but you can't take Africa out of the African.
17:43 February 6, 2012 by bethrichardson
#1 Chantal - I am 36 and my oldest just turned 18. We struggled for a while, but in the end she is a beautiful, intelligent girl and I'm told daily - by my children - that I'm a wonderful mother. I'm closer to my kids than any other parent I know. We talk about everything, and I really do mean *everything*. I agree that having chidlren so young is not ideal, but being a young parent does not make you a *bad* parent. I've actually found that older parents, who are less in touch with the modern world, tend to be the ones to cling to outrageous religions and make unreasonable demands of their children.
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