Exorcism case dropped

An Edgewater councilwoman under suspicion of helping to perform an exorcism on her 18-year-old daughter will not be charged, prosecutors said Tuesday.

A criminal complaint accusing Debra Jean Rogers and her husband, Daniel, of domestic battery and false imprisonment was sent to the State Attorney’s Office in July, and officials said a two-month review found there was insufficient evidence to move forward.

“The state cannot prove the charge beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt,” state attorney spokeswoman Linda Pruitt said.

The Rogerses’ attorney, Sam Masters, said his clients were relieved and pleased.

But he said the couple questions the Edgewater police’s investigation, which he called biased and unfair.

“I’m extremely thankful for the integrity and depth of the state attorney’s investigation,” Debra Rogers said Tuesday.

“I just wish it was that way with all local investigations. Some people believe what they choose to believe.”

Masters said his clients felt vilified, hurt and victimized.

“They’ve had to defend themselves against false allegations,” he said.

Rogers added: “This has been just one of the worst trials, even though we didn’t go to trial.”

The incident began June 27 when officers were called to the Rogerses’ Riverside Drive home because their daughter Danielle was “acting like a crazy person,” a report states.

Officers took Danielle Rogers into custody under the Baker Act, which allows people to be confined for psychological evaluation for up to 72 hours if they are considered a danger to themselves or others.

because She was “out of control” and had to be physically restrained to prevent her from hurting herself or someone else, the report said.

At the time, Danielle Rogers was covered in olive oil and her clothes were torn, the report states.

Two days later, Danielle Rogers filed a complaint with police. She told officers that after an argument with her twin sister, her father poured oil all over her to “get the demons out.”

Masters said it was absolutely not an exorcism.

“Exorcise the demons — according to the other sister, those words were never used,” said Masters, who noted the family did on occasion anoint one another with oil and pray.

“This was a reaction by a troubled and vindictive teenager. . . . This was a personal family matter that got out of control.”

Debra Rogers said her daughter didn’t even know what an exorcism was.

She said the hardest part of this ordeal is that she always taught her daughters to tell the truth.

Rogers said her daughter lived with a friend’s family for a week after the ordeal before moving in with the city’s victim advocate. She recently moved into a dormitory at Stetson University, where she started attending classes.

“Danielle has not contacted, called or anything. There has been no opportunity for healing,” she said. “All that I want is for this kid to see and to come home.”



(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Kristen Reed, The Orlando Sentinel, Sep. 6, 2007, ttp://www.orlandosentinel.com

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday September 6, 2007.
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