• Sweden's news in English

Parents charged for 'exorcizing' teen girl

TT/Rebecca Martin · 24 Feb 2012, 15:32

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“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.

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.
Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available