The father and step-mother of a 14-year-old girl from western Sweden, charged with repeatedly beating and burning the girl because they “thought she was a witch”, were freed of all charges on Tuesday.
“According to the girl’s version of events she has been locked up, has had her feet tied together, been assaulted 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, two priests from a small religious community in MalmÃ¶, called The River, were charged.
All defendants denied the allegations against them. According to the court, there were circumstances that pointed to the accuracy of the girl’s version of events but also those that pointed to the opposite.
One argument against her was that she didn’t mention what had been done to her until much later and that she might have been affected by exorcism footage she had seen on YouTube.
The court concluded that the girl’s story wasn’t strong enough to convict the charged four against their “not guilty” plea.
Authorities are investigating a second case of a teenage girl in BorÃ¥s who has allegedely been subjected to physical abuse such as kicks, beatings and electric shocks, as her parents tried to exorcise her from evil spirits.