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Parents charged for 'exorcizing' teen girl

Parents charged for 'exorcizing' teen girl

Published: 24 Feb 2012 15:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Feb 2012 15:32 GMT+01:00

The father and step-mother of a 14-year-old girl from western Sweden were charged on Friday with repeatedly beating and burning the girl because they “thought she was a witch”, according to the prosecutor.

“According to the girl’s version of events she has been subjected to being locked up, has had her feet tied together, assault through being burned with a red-hot knife in a torture-like manner and other violent rites and exorcisms,” prosecutor Daniel Larsson wrote in a statement.

Along with the parents, a pastor from a small religious community in Malmö has been charged.

“There is a pastor in Malmö who is under suspicion but is currently abroad,” Larson wrote.

According to local paper Borås Tidning (BT), suspicions first surfaced in 2004 when an anonymous report to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) claimed all was not right, 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 demons out of her.

The 37-year-old father denies all allegations saying he has done everything in his power to help his daughter who has been feeling “mentally unsettled”.

“He says he knows of no violence against her at all,” said defence lawyer Jan Elgmark to news agency TT.

Instead, the man claims to have sought medical advice, and help from his church, in dealing with the girl's problems.

The 33-year-old step-mum is under suspicion for systematically abusing the girl over a long period of time.

“She denies these allegations,” her defence lawyer Torkel Stenbäcken told TT.

The prosecutor claims that the parents have shaved off the girl's hair and locked her up so that she couldn't infect her younger siblings with her “inherent evil”.

“My client hasn't been privy to anything like that. But there are others who are under suspicion and it is possible that they have. However, it isn't a criminal act to give someone a haircut,” Stenbäcken told TT.

He also denied that the step-mother had burned the girl with a red hot knife.

“There is no substance to those claims,” her lawyer said.

The woman has, however, admitted to some form of exorcism being performed.

“Yes, you could say that but that isn't a crime. That's religion and you're allowed to practice that,” said Stenbäcken.

He added that it wasn't the step-mother who had performed the rites, but other people. Prayers had been said in order to exorcize the demons from the girl or make her feel better.

“This is done in a religious context and I guess they thought it might help,” Stenbäcken told TT.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:53 February 24, 2012 by Grokh
Oh so if its in the name of religion or religious traditions the law doesn't apply ?

Once again religious freaks claim their traditions to defend their crimes.

And once again religious freaks seek special treatment instead of following the law like everyone else.
16:54 February 24, 2012 by SwedePea
Religion should be banned in Sweden. Period.
16:57 February 24, 2012 by engagebrain
In the 21st century there are people in Sweden who believe in witches !

I guess that there is a much evidence for witches and devils as for god(s).
17:04 February 24, 2012 by gabeltoon
This all sounds strange, could it be that this family are from another country ????
17:51 February 24, 2012 by Mxzf
see http://vgnt.se/flicka-kan-ha-utsatts-for-voodoo-riter/

There are some names there, but I have no idea if those are correct.
18:25 February 24, 2012 by zooeden
If people believe in allah and fripping jesus of course they gonna believe in evil spirits, just read the news that people believe in ghosts!!!

There is no hope in mankind, period.
18:25 February 24, 2012 by Rod Munch
So honor killings are ok now as well since they are in a "religious context." That should excite many of our Muslim readers here.
19:43 February 24, 2012 by philster61
The Power of Christ compels you.......(Dr Evil to his chair. Austin Powers, The spy who shagged me)
21:14 February 24, 2012 by Dave N
They'll be Africans. This sort of thing happens all the time in London - and it's always Africans.
21:20 February 24, 2012 by Rey Stockholm
There is no doubt it is immigrants as suggested above

Why do they want to turn sweden into the sh** ho** they left in the first place
00:09 February 25, 2012 by strixy
I think I can almost certainly tell you which part of the world those parents are originally from. When i lived in the UK there were similar cases of witch hunt and exorcism always involving people from the same region of the world... . Maybe the authorities should recognise this as a problem and start educating those people before Sweden has its Sita Kisanga and Sebastian Pinto and Child B?
04:22 February 25, 2012 by Harry®
Let the courts do their job. Fact is Girls more so nowadays are often liars and thugs and not only a male domain.
06:35 February 25, 2012 by jomamas
This has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with crazy people.

Why doesn't the journalist do their job and shed light on the ethnicity of the individuals in question?

After all, if showing a 'cross' as if it is to blame is 'journalism' than perhaps their nation and ethnic origin might tell us a little bit about the subject as well?

Or does that not fit in with the 'pro immigrant' / 'anti faith' objective of the complete and utter propaganda of popular media regarding these issues?
08:32 February 25, 2012 by bcarroll
Saying this has nothing to do with religion is like saying that Crusades were due entirely to a need for European knights to seek more sunshine. Patently absurd!
11:24 February 25, 2012 by prince T
Why are will all accusing africans. Is knutby PASTOR african as well. religious sects exists in both african and european cultures. the difference is that it is very difficult to detect among our people. the africans in europe are easy to fish out.
12:01 February 25, 2012 by Keith #5083
tut Tut,Torkel. You mean it's not a crime to forcibly shave a child's head against their express will? You mean that it is your understanding of the law that a child does not have any rights but is the property of the 'parents'?

Did I miss something about the Swedish legal system?
23:38 February 27, 2012 by Value
@SwedePea In such a case, Sweden would be more sick and degenerated than North Korea.
23:17 March 2, 2012 by Evander
I've seen things like that here in the USA. Check on those other poor kids, because there is a good chance one of them will be afflicted with "witchcraft" now that their sister is no longer available for abuse. At least the parents might be prosecuted. That wouldn't likely happen here. :-(
11:41 March 6, 2012 by wikblom
So, Evander, parents don't get prosecuted in the US for "beating and burning" their children? Surely you jest. As a former US prosecutor I can assure you they do on a regular basis.
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