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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Court hears 'exorcism' death case
Terrance Cottrell
Members of the Milwaukee church met to pray for Terrance
A court in the US state of Wisconsin has heard how an autistic boy died while being held down by worshippers and a priest during an exorcism.

Terrance Cottrell, 8, died last year in a service at the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith in Milwaukee.

The minister, Ray Hemphill, who has no theological training, has been charged with felony child abuse.

He denies abuse, and is said to have thought the boy was possessed by demons - and to have offered to banish them.

'Possessed'

Terrance's severe autism meant he could talk little and had difficulties in communicating and relating to people around him.

Last year his mother took him to the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith, where members prayed over the young boy.

A detective said in court that Mr Hemphill told her that during the exorcism he lay across the boy's chest for more than an hour.

Several worshippers, including Terrance's mother, are said to have held his legs and hands to stop him from moving.

When Mr Hemphill stood up, he was told that Terrance was not breathing.

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.


SEE ALSO:
Exorcism after Swazi witch hunt
22 Nov 02  |  Africa
Vatican lays down exorcism law
24 Nov 00  |  Europe
Congo witch-hunt's child victims
22 Dec 99  |  Africa


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