Woman sues church and priests for botched exorcism

Asia-Pacific News/August 31, 2006

Singapore -- A 50-year-old woman is suing a church, two Catholic priests and seven helpers for severe side affects of a botched exorcism two years ago, news reports said on Thursday.

Amutha Valli maintains the procedure performed against her has left her so traumatized that she now needs 24-hour care, according to The Straits Times.

She claims that Father Simon Tan and Father Jacob Ong with the Novena Church attempted the exorcism on August 10, 2004.

Valli, her daughter and a friend had gone to the church with her son. She fainted, and the two priests took her to a room to rest.

With her family outside, Valli claims they performed an exorcism lasting two-and-a-half hours with the seven helpers. She said she was pinned down, throttled and verbally abused during the procedure.

Her husband Suppiah Jeyabal, a 55-year-old taxi driver, said the incident has turned his wife into a hysterical person.

'She is scared of going out by herself, cannot work, and until recently, was unable to go to the toilet unaccompanied,' he was quoted as saying.

Valli is seeking damages amounting to 250,000 Singapore dollars (160,000 US dollars), which include her loss of earnings as a tutor and future medical expenses for psychiatric treatment and medication. The previous expenses have wiped out most of the couple's savings.

Tan would not comment on the suit. He denied any act of exorcism in earlier remarks.

He said Valli had approached them for help, claiming she was possessed.

Tan, Ong and the helpers only prayed over her in an act of deliverance, he said.

A priest would have to be specially appointed by a bishop to perform any exorcism, which did not happen.

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