Sex Abuse Allegation Drives Out Palm Beach Exorcist Priest

Rev. Thomas Euteneuer abruptly resigned as President of Human Life International last August. Up until yesterday, no one knew the exact nature of his resignation. Yesterday, Euteneuer himself broke the silence by admitting to one incident of “violating the boundaries of chastity with an adult female who was under my spiritual care.” These were his own words he used to describe the circumstances of his resignation. In response to Euteneuer’s admission, his bishop, Bishop Barbarito of Palm Beach used similar language to characterize the priest’s downfall. Barbarito wrote in part, “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.”
Those of us who work with survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy recognize the language as the church’s euphemistic way of describing sexual abuse. While the priest stated in his admission letter the “inappropriate behavior” involved only one adult female, there are news reports that more women have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of the exorcist priest.
It seems that the sexual abuse took place during the priest’s exorcism rituals. Presently, according to the Bishop, the priest is receiving counseling. It’s not clear what will happen to the priest at this point. What is clear is that sexual abuse among Catholic clergy is not over. It continues to happen in spite of Church officials’ protestations that sexual abuse is a thing of the long ago past. Sadly, it isn’t and the manner in which the Church handles these allegations hasn’t changed either. Church officials continue to speak of sexual abuse in veiled language as if describing abuse as “crossing boundaries” minimizes the devastating effects on those who are abused.