The father and step-mother of a 14-year-old girl from western Sweden were charged on Friday with repeatedly beating and burning the girl because they “thought she was a witch”, according to the prosecutor.
“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”. […]
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”. […]
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.