According to a Reuters' news report, a 35-year-old Florida teacher has been arrested for a bizarre exorcism ritual in which she allegedly attempted to rid students of their demons. The teacher, who taught reading and writing skills at Lealman and Asian Neighborhood Family Center in St. Petersburg, met with seven former students off campus near the St. Petersburg Pier. The students were all of Asian heritage, the report notes. The group gathered around a small bonfire, and the teacher instructed the teens to cut their skin to release their evil spirits. After the skin was cut in the exorcism ritual, the wounds were set on fire, and teacher explained this was to ensure evil spirits wouldn't return.
According to police, one student's neck was sliced open with a broken bottle, and the teacher purportedly used a lighter to heat up a key which she used to seal the wound. In addition, police report that the Florida teacher allegedly poured perfume on the hand of another student and set it on fire, causing the young boy to get second-degree burns. The teens kept the exorcism a secret from their parents, but one boy told a friend about the ritual via text message, and the friend told the boy's parents, who then immediately contacted police.
The 35-year-old teacher was arrested on suspicion of child abuse. Under Florida law, child abuse can encompass any "intentional or threatened act that results in mental or physical injury on a child." State law also says that child abuse that involves torture or causes "great bodily harm" is a first-degree felony, and the penalties for this may include a lengthy prison sentence. The teacher's bail has been set at $55,000.
The crime of child abuse, or any crime against children, is taken very seriously by the state of Florida, and prosecutors will likely seek the maximum penalties in a case. Without professional legal help, any person facing these charges in Florida may face severe punishments. For dedicated legal representation in your case, contact a Pinellas County child abuse defense attorney at Musca Law. We believe everyone deserves a fair trial and will aim to ensure your legal rights are protected. Call (888) 484-5057 to discuss your case with us at no cost.