Girl's eyes gouged in exorcism

News Limited, Australia/November 26, 2007

A 14-year-old nearly died during the same exorcism that killed her older cousin in New Zealand.

The teenager required emergency treatment after relatives believed they saw the devil in her eyes and tried to scratch out the curse with their fingers. Relatives also allegedly syringed water into her eyes and poured it down her throat in an attempt to drive out a Maori curse, The Dominion Post reported.

She was taken to Hutt Hospital, near Wellington, close to death. She needed to wear eye patches and remained in hospital for several days. It is understood that doctors believe the girl will not lose her sight.

Her cousin, Janet Moses, died during the October 12 ceremony after she had chunks gouged from her eyeballs in a bid to lift the curse, believed to have started after Ms Moses's sister stole a stone lion statue from a local pub.

Ms Moses, a 22-year-old mother of two, allegedly drowned in a plastic container while 40 relatives watched. Members of her family said Ms Moses was "marked up" on her upper arms, forearms and torso with bruises that they say were caused as she was being held down.

Family members gazed into others' eyes at the ceremony to judge whether they were cursed, treating any believed tainted, The Dominion Post reported.

Another five people, aged 14, 15, 16, 29 and 31 were also treated in the curse-lifting ceremony, but not harmed.

The teenage girl was later taken into Child, Youth and Family care. The agency has reportedly been monitoring the family out of concern for other young people involved, The Dominion Post said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Levy said police were still working through evidence, seeking legal advice and consulting Maori experts.

"We know what's happened, but we're assessing the culpability of individuals," he said.

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