Exorcist priest accused of sexual abuse

The Times of London

February 26 2018

By Philip Willan

Police have arrested a Catholic priest accused of using exorcism sessions to sexually abuse a number of vulnerable young women, including a girl aged 14.

Maria Antonietta Troncone, the co-ordinating prosecutor, said that Father Michele Barone had allegedly beaten, insulted and threatened the women and subjected them to sexual acts while “liberating” them from demonic possession. They were encouraged to sleep in the nude with him and his mistress, she said, with one woman told that she would be “punished by the Madonna, St Michael and other angels and saints” if she did not perform the sexual acts demanded of her.

Father Barone, who was not authorised to carry out exorcisms, is alleged to have persuaded the women to stop taking prescribed medicines and to adopt a diet of milk, biscuits and glucose solution. He has been suspended from priestly activities for a year.

The parents of the 14-year-old victim have been placed under house arrest for alleged complicity in the abuses, as has Luigi Schettino, a local police officer who is accused of attempting to persuade the girl’s sister to withdraw an official complaint that she had lodged with his office.

The case came to light after the sister reported the alleged abuse to journalists on a satirical television programme.

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