Authorities awaiting complaint in Euteneuer case

Euteneuer ‘confession’ – was it criminal or just unpleasant behavior?

Father Thomas Euteneuer

This story also appears on The Huffington Post.

By Roger Bianchini
Warren County Report

A Feb. 4th statement made by Interim Human Life International President Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula in a Newsletter post acknowledges both “grave harm” to the victim of the admitted “lapses of chastity” by former HLI President Father Thomas Euteneuer, as well as the work of staff at the Front Royal, Virginia-based pro-life headquarters in treating that harm.

The Monsignor’s admission three days after the first public statement by Father Euteneuer acknowledging “imprudent decisions with harmful consequences” stemming from the priest’s “violating the boundaries of chastity with an adult female” who was under his “spiritual care” – the conduct of exorcisms in his role as a Catholic priest – raises questions about potential criminal behavior by Euteneuer.

Exactly what happened between the hard-line, no compromise former face of the pro-life movement and his female victim during the admitted “lapses of chastity” remain unknown to the general public. However, these multiple admissions of “harm”, even “grave harm” to a woman under his professional care as a priest raise complicated questions about the boundary between what is on the one hand unacceptable professional conduct versus potential criminal behavior engaged in by Father Euteneuer.

How can local and state authorities now address what has been admitted to, we asked Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brian Madden on Feb. 11. We wondered if the religious aspect of treatment for what the church defines as demonic possession, but the secular and legal world is more likely to define as a psychologically-based disorder, creates legal complications for secular authorities.

Madden pointed out that from his legal perspective, whether such a “public confession” of lapses of professional behavioral standards was made by a priest or a medical professional made absolutely no difference. He also explained that even during investigations of criminal complaints, it is sometimes determined that the behavior described, while unpleasant by some social or personal perspectives, may not qualify as criminal in nature.

That said, we asked whether Madden was currently in a position to authorize a preliminary criminal investigation by local law enforcement to determine exactly what kind of behavior the priest has admitted to and whether that behavior, the result of which is being dealt with by HLI staff in his prosecutorial jurisdiction, was potentially criminal. Based on Euteneuer’s own statement and other official descriptions of “harm” and “grave harm” to the female subject of that behavior, obvious questions remain about the potentially predatory or even criminal nature of Euteneuer’s admitted behavior.

“Most criminal prosecutions are initiated by an alleged victim or witness contacting local law enforcement to report an incident that might be a crime. A law enforcement officer makes an initial determination – sometimes after consulting with a prosecutor – whether to proceed with an investigation,” Madden began. “Sometimes a law enforcement officer directly witnesses a crime, e.g., drug possession, assault and battery, DUI, etc; sometimes an alleged crime victim goes directly to a magistrate and asks that a perpetrator be charged with a crime.”

Madden added that as of Feb. 11, “No one to our knowledge has contacted local law enforcement or a magistrate regarding any of the incidents reported by you.”

Contacted the following week, Madden said that situation had not changed.

So as of Feb. 14th, perhaps ironically Valentine’s Day, the precise status of the “violations of chastity” admitted to by Father Thomas Euteneuer on Feb. 1st remain in a secular, legal limbo.

Referenced statements

Among the materials local prosecutor Madden reviewed before replying to the question of a possible criminal investigation of Father Euteneuer were the following statements by involved parties:

• “On many occasions I have stated that our main solidarity should be with those who have been harmed … In my role as interim president I am committed to do all that I can to be of assistance. But whatever I can do in this regard totally pales in comparison with the selfless dedication of two of our employees who have put many hours assisting the young woman gravely harmed in this case.” – Interim Human Life International President Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, from a Feb. 4 HLI e-Column;

• “I must acknowledge, however, that one particularly complex situation clouded my judgment and led me to imprudent decisions with harmful consequences, the worst of which was violating the boundaries of chastity with an adult female who was under my spiritual care. I take full responsibility for my own poor judgment, my weakness and my sinful conduct that resulted from it … I state without reserve that I am deeply sorry for my actions. I have personally apologized, where possible, to anyone I have harmed.” – Father Thomas Euteneuer, from a Feb. 1 statement on LifeSiteNews website;

• “Father Euteneuer has been undergoing intensive evaluation and counseling to address admitted inappropriate crossing of adult heterosexual boundaries on the occasion of carrying out his priestly ministry … Father Euteneuer has cooperated in the process while at the same time expressing contrition for his conduct and the harm it has caused.” – Bishop Gerald Barbarito of the Diocese of Palm Beach, from a Feb. 1 post on LifeSiteNews website. Barbarito recalled Father Euteneuer from his HLI post in August 2010 after the priest’s initial confession to inappropriate behavior.

Roger Bianchini: rogerb@warrencountyreport.com

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Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm  Comments (42)  

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  1. I don’t like the idea of pressuring the victims of this man to do anything at all, given everything they have already been through.

    But I sure do hope some of those bystanders who know the true story will shine the light in the dark places so that ardent supporters of Fr. E will stop creating scandal online by their continued flattery and adulation of the man while heaping more abuse upon the spiritually-tormented/mentall-ill who trusted Fr. E to help them only to be horribly exploited. I’m tired of hearing how this means Fr. E was so much holier than the rest of us common sinners (that’s why the devil tempted him so much, don’t you know??), that the victims obviously must have been trying to seduce the poor man, and that anbody who suggests this is anything more than a story of a poor tempted priest who fell once is committing the mortal sins of calumny and detraction.

    This is a story of abuse of power, and it needs to be told so that people will quit praising the predator and violating the victims with insults and verbal abuse. I love being Catholic, but I feel shame when I see other Catholics scandalizing the world with such behavior.

    Get the truth about the abuse of power out, provide help and healing (and definitely confidentiality, if they so choose it) to the victims, and make sure whatever treatment center Fr. E has been sent to is actually doing him some good. He needs to be closely from here on out, and if there indeed has been any criminal activity, for the sake of his soul he needs to face public justice here on earth for it. We do him no favors by pretending this is anything other than it is: a horrible abuse of power by one who was masquerading as a spiritual healer. It’s heinous. He is obviously in need of much pychological help (as acknowledged by his bishop) and prayers.

    And victims, if you are reading this, please know there are plenty of Catholics out here who believe you and admire your courage for coming forth with your stories. That took serious guts! No doubt your courage has saved many others from having to experience what you did. Thank you! May you find the healing and peace you so deserve after the horrors you have been through under the guise of “exorcism”. God bless.

  2. Thank you, Timetoshinethelight, for your kind words. Were it not for SNAP and other support groups, often our friends and families, many of us would not be able to express our feelings even today. Please, supporters of survivors, withhold your pledges for a couple of months and see what happens. The Almighty Dollar rules instead of the message brought by Christ.

  3. Well said, timetoshinethelight. Well said.

  4. I fail to see a story here. There are no charges. Just another crackpot with a website as far as I can see – with comments by the head crackpot himself. Go get a real job Matt.

  5. I love (not really) how Human Life International in particular and orthodox Catholic press agencies in general, are quick to attack those in the enemy’s camp, but are almost absolutely silent, print as little as they have to, and then hurriedly move on, about this type of scandal. Where is this kind of reporting from the Catholic prolife movement’s side? (Not including Matt here!) Where is the outrage from the pulpit? Do we think God goes along with Father E’s heinous actions, lies, and the cover up just because he’s a member of the clergy. A cancer needs to be taken out at the root. Fr. E (and the like), and those that cover for him with silence are that cancer.

  6. By removal I mean being outed from public service, jailtime, and public flogging. Colonial Williamsburg still has a set of stocks, don’t they?

  7. It’s called mercy Adele. Father apologized. He has been forgiven by God, for some reason, you have set yourself above God and demand something more. Jail time? Public Flogging?
    What kind of a person are you? More importantly, how are you raising those children of yours? To hate? To never forgive?
    May God have mercy on you, despite your unwillingness to show it to Father E.

    Please know of one hour spent in adoration for you today – in the hopes that you will be converted.

    • Converted to what – apologist for sexual predators?

  8. Fr. Scalia puts it very well:

    “Justice, as the judgment of what we deserve for sin, calls us to repentance and therefore prepares us for mercy. By extending justice to a person, we in a sense show mercy because we enable that person to realize his wrongdoing and repent. Parents punish children, for example, not because they hate them, but to correct their faults—which is merciful. Justice is not opposed to mercy at all. Justice prepares us for mercy.

    Nor does mercy deny justice. Certainly false mercy overlooks or trivializes sin, making light of what in justice we deserve. True mercy, however, looks directly at sin, acknowledges its horror, understands fully the just punishment deserved—and then remits that punishment. Mercy presumes what justice demands, but then generously absolves us of it.

    Justice and mercy work beautifully together, and make no sense apart. Justice leads up to mercy, and mercy picks up where justice ends. Justice that does not allow for mercy is cold and inhuman. Mercy that does not presume justice is irresponsible and sentimental. St. Thomas Aquinas says it simply: “Justice without mercy is cruelty.” But at the same time: “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution.”

    http://catholicexchange.com/2004/03/27/81834/

    • Excellent points! Thank you.

  9. And it is quite apparent, for those with eyes to see, that Father e. has faced his justice – those who remain in the darkness, and refuse to accept the light of that truth will have their own heavy price to pay.

  10. @JennaLynn — Do you know if Father is allowed to move about on his own? Or is he being monitored 24/7?

  11. Oh good Lord. Praying for you too!

  12. Don’t you have a blog to update Jeanette? Prayers for you and Tom, may God open your hearts to conversion and truth.

  13. @JennaLynn — You didn’t answer my question. Why not?

    • I long ago determined that you were not worth it. Do know I pray for you daily….

      • You pray for people but won’t speak to them. What type of Christian is that?

  14. What justice has he faced? I guess I am one of the blind ones. When he was removed from HLI in August, he claimed it was due to his desire as a soldier of Christ to practice the virtue of obedience and that he was at complete peace about all his accomplishments at HLI (does that include his victimization of women, I wonder?):

    “A priest is a soldier of Christ and the Church, and obedience is the primary virtue of his state in life, but for my part, my discernment about this decision tells me that this is the right thing for me to do and at the right time. I have great peace about the road that lies ahead and about all that has been accomplished up to this point.”

    I wonder what his victims felt when they read those words?

    Now we know he was being removed for gross misconduct in his position as exorcist. Word to the wise: Abusers should never be allowed to write their own narratives.

    When he wrote his so-called “apology” letter, he lashed out at the “crackpots” (given the source it was coming from, I’d say it’s a badge of honor at this point), insisted it was only one woman (meanwhile, HLI mentions more than one woman having come forth with allegations), defended his decisions to break protocol during exorcism, and pulled a Bill Clinton with his “it was not a sex act” line.

    I can only imagine what his victims and their loved ones must have felt upon reading THAT letter.

    Going away quietly to a treatment center is not justice. The treatment center is (hopefully) where he will begin face and understand the nature of his abuse of others so that he can begin to heal from whatever it is that caused him to behave in such a fashion.

    I would be curious to know what this man’s victims would consider to be justice in this case. Perhaps a public assurance by the hierarchy that he will never be allowed to practice exorcism again, and that all his future ministry in the priesthood will be practiced under very close supervision (and a public accounting of exactly why this judgment was rendered–no sordid details, please–so that the vicious supporters of Fr. can no longer insult the victims with accusations that they seduced Fr. E or otherwise somehow deserved what they got)? Restitution in the form of paying for therapy for the victims and replacement of income for them if they have been rendered unable to work for any amount of time due to the spiritual/mental torment inflicted upon them by his actions? Criminal justice if it turns out any of his behavior was indeed criminal in nature?

    Justice hasn’t occurred just because you say it has. And the spritual threat of “heavy prices” to be paid by those who don’t see it the way you do does not lend credibility to your claim.

    • Allegations…. allegations. Big deal. I say, prove them. Then get back to me.

      Guess what, HLI had an axe to grind. Not only did they lose their president..they lost BIG MONEY. They are on their way out – word on the street is they had to lay off major staff…

      Off to rosary group now, guess what, we have a solid group of 100 praying for Father E – every night now, must be oh I don’t know – 15 days straight – group keeps growing and growing.
      We’ll add you to our intentions!!

      • So what you are saying is that you agree Fr. E lied, you just disagree what he was lying about? I think his statement about leaving HLI because he was practicing the virtue of obedience and needed a break while being completely “at peace” with everything he did at HLI is a total untruth, while you believe he lied in his “apology letter”, since you don’t believe any of the allegations against him. Are you saying you think he lied because HLI pressured him?

        Well, at least we agree on something. It’s a starting point.

        The next question: do you believe integrity matters?

  15. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pieter Schultz, Dan McDermott. Dan McDermott said: Authorities awaiting complaint in Euteneuer case http://wp.me/plCiN-BW [...]

  16. I so wonder why this strange group of women are so defensive of Euteneuer? I hope they are not among the victims too and just don’t know it yet. Deep down I feel there is some deep satanic connection in all this. That Euteneuer’s actions were premeditated, planned out and more about power than sex. I really believe because of the vociferousness of these strange women that defend him under the guise of Faith, (just as he blasphemed and committed sacrilege under the guise of exorcism), that there is some kind of coven behind this. St. Patrick fought off the devil worshippers, may he in the Holy Name of Jesus drive you away too, and bring you to sincere repentance. The gods you serve are big losers. The end of the book says “We Win!”

  17. @JennaLynn — Chances are one couldn’t get 100 people together every night for 15 days straight to pray the Rosary if the world was ending.

    Plaudits if you’ve done so for Fr. Euteneuer; he surely can use the prayers, but 100 … for 15 days straight?

  18. Wow Jeanette, I should have known you would doubt the prayers of the faithful – just as you have doubted the authority of the bishops. Perhaps a picture would suffice?
    Yes, today we had over 100 because our group overlapped with the Hispanics who had a planning meeting for an upcoming event. And once we explained what we were doing, they joined in and we had a bi-lingual rosary – with a deacon present. Perhaps you need a verification letter from him?

    You might not want to link to your website if you are trying to remain anonymous or go under different post names.

    Prayers before bedtime being offered for you and your husband.

    • I’m not anonymous … I’m just using many different names like you do. (Aren’t you M GRACE and later on, Lucinda Garcia? If not, you guys are identical speak twins.) And, yes, a picture would be nice. And a verification letter as to 15 days straight, 100 people praying the Rosary for Fr. Euteneuer, would be great as well. Tom might even post that with a story, if you also have some video featuring people stating they are praying for Father Euteneuer.

      But, personally, myself, yes, I think you’re full of bunk. Because people who recite the Rosary as much as you state you do (plus attend Adoration) are usually not so bitter.

      • LOL – the wife of the “off the record” blogger, the one who quotes anonymous sources…has to have PROOF of a rosary…my oh my…now that my dear is truly the best laugh I have had all month!!!

        You want us to PROVE we prayed the rosary but your husband is ok with printing accusations against a priest from “multiple emailers”…..
        I need some more coffee to digest this one…

  19. What more proof do you want? Father Euteneuer confessed [well, sort of]. Then HLI followed up with a statement that pretty much said Father was a liar, agreeing (with Tom’s sources) that there were “other” women who had issued complaints.

    You drinking decaf?

  20. … but please don’t bandy about using the Holy Rosary of The Blessed Virgin Mary, whether it be said by 100 or 1,000 or, just as bad, requiring “proof” thereof… you should both be ashamed of yourselves. This has ceased to be about Father Euteneur and the Body of Christ, but instead seems to have veered into something else entirely, the spirit of anger and pride and a contest of sorts, using “prayers” against one another? The devil is having a field day. Better one Hail Mary well said, with sincerity, humility and contrition. But maybe we should begin with praying for ourselves first, for we can fall very fast if we don’t try to discern what kind of spirit is in our own heart.

    -a poor sinner

  21. Why not re-install Fr. E. as head of HLI so that he can continue to save babies and change hearts and minds about abortion? He admitted an indiscretion, no doubt confessed it, and his action had nothing to do with his HLI work. Exiling him won’t help save preborn babies.
    Nobody seemed the least bit put off or even wanting to search for a crime when Pres. Bill Clinton got caught having his oval office indiscretions, even thought what he did was illegal under employment laws.

  22. It doesn’t look like Fr. E will be doing much of anything, much less being re-instated to run HLI, given what is now being revealed–that he lied in his apology letter:

    http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2011/02/more-on-father-thomas-euteneuer-from.html

    If the rite of exorcism means anything to you, then you should be horrified at what this man has done under the guise of performing exorcisms. What he has done is far, far worse than anything Bill Clinton ever did in the Oval office (not that I am excusing him, either, mind you).

  23. Oh he said – she said – they said…

    You have no reason to doubt Father’s statement and shame on you for casting doubt. Let’s face it – no matter what he said someone would complain and no matter what he didn’t say – people would still complain.

    Leave the man alone already – and take care of your own soul.

  24. “As for hypocritical priests, they should also be unmasked. For, under an appearance of virtue, such souls hide a secret pride, harboring too great a love for themselves and making a show of their sacrifices and lives before God and neighbor. Their own concern is their good name and their anxiety to be esteemed; they flee from every tribulation, however small it might be, and have no love for humiliation and the hidden life that Jesus Christ assumed …”
    -Words of Our Lady of Good Success from the church approved apparitions in Quito, Ecuador c. 1611
    pages 287-288

    (The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana, Volume II by Fr. Manuel Sousa Pereira, written in 1790, translated by Marian T. Horvat, Ph. D., Copyright 1999, first edition 2006 by Tradition in Action, 357 pages)

  25. As for hypocritical bloggers…they too should be unmasked…

    Find some new prey Jeanette.

  26. I think we should just pray for all those involved in this mess.

    May God have Mercy on them all.
    God bless
    Catherine

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