There are many challenges to overcome in facing autism; in dealing with the challenges of autism. It is disheartening to see that ignorance about autism still results in serious physical harm to autistic youths or persons with any type of mental or developmental disorder. The story of a 14 year old Bloomington Indiana youth battered by a religious zealot attempting to exorcise his demons leaves me shaking my head. Have we come so far as a society only to allow such ignorance to continue under the guise of religion? It is reported that this "exorcism" was not authorized by the church involved. But it is time mainstream religious groups denounced exorcism for what it is - primitive, harmful, ignorance. And it is time parents looked to professional health care and educational service providers to help their autistic children.
Student minister charged in attempted 'exorcism'
Monroe County - A student minister faces serious charges after investigators say he committed a crime in the name of Christianity. Police say the minister battered an autistic teenager while trying to perform an exorcism. It happened at the boy's Bloomington home.
Monroe County police say a religious ritual turned criminal inside a Bloomington home.
"I've never seen anything like this before," said Detective Brad Swain, Monroe County Sheriff's Department.
Police say 22-year-old Eddie Uyesugi, a pastor in training at Cherry Hill Christian Church, promised healing for a 14-year-old autistic boy. Uyesugi convinced the boy's mother he could cure autism with an exorcism.
"Through prayer, casting demons out," said Det. Swain. "She was initially in agreement in doing this thinking it was something authorized through the church."
But police say the exorcism turned violent, and that Uyesugi, under the guise of "God's work," battered and beat the boy.
"Sticking fingers into the boy's mouth while he was restrained on the bed, causing him to vomit. And this happened several times," said Swain. "The family said that Mr. Uyesugi told them this was to cast the demons out."
Police say Uyesugi also punched the autistic teen in the face, a ritualistic beating that lasted for eleven hours.
"He knew he didn't have demons in him. So why he was being abused and being told for demons to come out? It was really lost on him," said Swain.
The boy's mother tried unsuccessfully to end the exorcism.
Pastors at Cherry Hill church wouldn't comment on the alleged exorcism. But they told police while they do teach how to cast out demons, their methods don't include violence.
The church removed Uyesugi from the parsonage after the incident. He claimed to police he was simply trying to restrain the boy, but the attempted exorcism left the teen seriously injured.
Eddie Uyesugi faces felony confinement and misdemeanor battery charges and police have issued an warrant for his arrest. They expect him to turn himself in today.
Police say the exorcism was not authorized by the church.