Diocese and bishop sued over sexual abuse of woman in deliverance and exorcism sessions

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

 In Arlington, Virginia last week [June 19, 2012], a woman filed suit in state court against the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, the bishop responsible for the diocese, and two pro-life organizations, seeking to hold them liable for injuries plaintiff suffered when she was sexually abused by a priest in the course of Spiritual Deliverance and the rite of exorcism. The suit seeks $5.35 million in damages. The complaint (full text) in Doe v. Catholic Diocese of Arlington, (VA Cir. Ct., filed 6/19/2012), alleges that plaintiff signed an “Agreement for spiritual help” with a priest, Thomas Enteneuer, under which he was to apply the spiritual resources of the Church to liberate plaintiff from a demonic infestation of unclean spirits. As Enteneur’s sessions with plaintiff progressed over a two year period, he touched and kissed her sexually, telling her that he was blowing the Holy Spirit into her. He also digitally penetrated here. Enteneur eventually paid for moving plaintiff closer to him, and hired her through pro-life organizations he headed. The suit claims that the Diocese and related defendants should be held liable for Enteneur’s actions.  Plaintiff alleged claims for assault, battery, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent entrustment and negligent retention. Courthouse News Service and the Huffington Post report on the lawsuit. According to the Palm Beach Post, other women have made similar charges against Eneneur, who has been recalled by his Palm Beach Diocese.