Breaking News: Victim of Father Thomas Euteneuer Files Suit

By William D. Lindsey
June 26, 2012

Breaking news, thanks to this press release by David Clohessy of SNAP: a woman who alleges sexual abuse by Father Thomas Euteneuer, formerly head of the pro-life organization Human Life International, has sued the Catholic diocese of Arlington, Virginia, its Bishop Paul Loverde, and Human Life International for, as she alleges, covering up sexual abuse she says she endured as Euteneuer performed exorcisms on her.

The suit claims that the defendants knew that the rite of exorcism should not be performed by a priest acting alone and with no observers--and that this did, indeed, happen in her case, as Euteneuer, who told her that her case was "severe," took her to a bedroom where he lay with her all night, touching her, and "blowing the Holy Spirit" into her with passionate kisses. I'll spare readers other details of subsequent exorcism sessions that are provided in the preceding article, and which the plaintiff alleges involved physical violation under the guise of exorcism that became more intense.

She is also alleging that because Euteneuer knew she had kept a journal chronicling her interaction with him, he asked to keep the journal in a safe place for her and then informed her he had burnt it, and searched her house for other journals she might have kept. She also maintains that Euteneuer remained in his position at Human Life International for two months after she described in detail his violation of her to a priest of the Arlington diocese.

Though the article about Jane Doe's legal complaint against Euteneuer doesn't say this, back in March 2001, blogger Tom O'Toole reported that the victim alleges that Euteneuer burned her diary after he had visited his spiritual director Father John Corapi, who is also now in disgrace--and that Euteneuer told her Corapi had instructed him to burn the diary.

It seems to me that one of the key principles at stake in this particular lawsuit is going to be the principle tested in the case of Father Christopher Wenthe of St. Paul, Minnesota. As readers may remember, that case hinged on whether a minister is bound by legal and ethical norms that prohibit his/her manipulation or abuse of someone who comes to him or her for ministry. In the case of Wenthe, the legal system found that these norms do apply, and ministers who violate them deserve punishment.

As my elderly aunt would say, I suspect, on hearing about these stories, the Catholic church is in a mell of a hess these days. And the powerful right wing of the Catholic church, which long lionized and threw money at Euteneueur and Corapi--to a great extent, because they were models of the preening macho heterosexuality that was, we were told, going to save the priesthood from the gays and the culture of abuse in the new millennium--bears much responsibility for creating the hell. In my view, at least, it does.








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