Court frees ‘exorcized’ teen girl’s parents

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

The prosecutor claimed that the parents had shaved off the girl’s hair and locked her up so that she couldn’t infect her younger siblings with her “inherent evil”. She was also allegedly subjected to a series of exorcism-like rites over the course of one year.

“According to the girl’s version of events she has been locked up, has had her feet tied together, been assaulted 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, two priests from a small religious community in Malmö, called The River, were charged.

All defendants denied the allegations against them. According to the court, there were circumstances that pointed to the accuracy of the girl’s version of events but also those that pointed to the opposite.

One argument against her was that she didn’t mention what had been done to her until much later and that she might have been affected by exorcism footage she had seen on YouTube.

The court concluded that the girl’s story wasn’t strong enough to convict the charged four against their “not guilty” plea.

The other evidence, such as a scar on the girl’s arm and statements from teachers and social workers, were not deemed enough for a guilty verdict.

One of the lay judges, however, believed that the girl’s story was credible and would have wanted the parents and the two priests to serve time in prison as well as pay the girl a hefty damage.

However, the court thought otherwise and freed all the defendants.

TT/The Local/rm

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