Orange County man arrested for battery during exorcism

Published: Aug. 1, 2007 at 11:03 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2007 at 4:01 AM EDT
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Eddie Useyugi, suspect
Eddie Useyugi, suspect

By Janelle MacDonald
WAVE 3 Investigator

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- A bizarre story ends with the arrest of a southern Indiana man studying to be a minister. He is accused of battering a boy during an exorcism. WAVE 3 Investigator Janelle MacDonald was in his hometown of Paoli and has more.

Detectives tell us in his hometown, 22 year old Eddie Useyugi was known as a star athlete and 2003 class valedictorian. He was a student at Indiana University and also studying at a Bloomington area church to be a minister. Church officials tell investigators what he's accused of is not a part of their teaching.

Monroe County sheriff's detective Brad Swain says, "I've never encountered something like this before."

Swain says Useyugi promised a 14 year old's family he could cure him of autism using an exorcism to cast out demons. The boy was in a group home, but Swain says Useyugi told the family, "he could be home for good. He just wouldn't have to have home visits."

Useyugi was a minister in training at Cherry Hill Christian Church and the boy's mother -- thinking the exorcism was part of church teaching -- agreed to let him try inside the family home in Monroe County.

According to Swain, "it immediately began into some physical battery of the boy. This lasted several hours."

In fact, Detective Swain says from one in the afternoon until midnight, the teen was held down and punched while, according to court papers, Useyugi commanded "come out, you filthy demon!"

Swain also says Useyugi was, "sticking fingers into the boys mouth while he was restrained on the bed, causing him to vomit," which he says Useyugi told the family would purge the demons.

Swain says the boy was scared, tried to run because, "he knew he didn't have demons in him. Why he was being abused and being told for demons to come out?"

When his mother tried to end it and call church authorities, Swain says, "he told her no, you stay in here."

In the end, it was the pastor of the church who called Child Protective Services.

Those who saw the teen say his injuries were so bad, his face was swollen and bruised and he couldn't swallow. The church asked Useyugi to leave after they learned of what happened.

Detectives say while the Cherry Hill Christian Church teaches exorcism through prayer, there is no mention of any physical contact and it appears Useyugi freelanced.

Eddie Useyugi turned himself in to police Wednesday afternoon on misdemeanor battery and felony confinement charges. When WAVE 3 went to his family's home for comment, no one answered.

Online Reporter:  Janelle MacDonald

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway