Autustic boy killed in exorcism


Peace, Love and Unity
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Reposting the article, as covered on the "Christianity" board.

Essentially, a tragedy:

The death of an autistic eight-year-old boy during a prayer service to drive out the evil spirits supposedly causing his condition has been ruled a homicide.

Terrance Cottrell, from Milwaukee in the US state of Wisconsin, suffocated after his chest was restricted, the local coroner said.

Members of the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith had been meeting regularly to pray over the young boy after his mother reportedly became concerned that he had been possessed by an evil spirit.

Local news reports said the members had wrapped him in sheets and held him down during the service last Friday.

However during the service - which his mother attended - they noticed the boy was not breathing and called paramedics, who failed to revive him.

Police sources told the Milwaukee Channel television station on Tuesday that the boy had been found dripping with sweat and with marks on his arms.

The brother of the church's pastor, Ray Hemphill, who was also present at the ceremony, was arrested shortly after the incident on suspicion of physically abusing a child, local police said.


The church pastor, David Hemphill, said that his church members had done nothing wrong, adding that they had only prayed for God to "take this spirit that was tormenting this little boy to death".

However the boy's father, Terrance Cottrell Senior, condemned the church's actions.

"Their whole theory was wrong, everything they did was wrong," he told the station.

"It was brainwashing... it was evil and not good and not of God."

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

In interviews with local newspapers, neighbours of the Cottrell family alleged that Terrance hated being touched and said that having people restrain him would likely have caused him a great deal of stress.


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I just read this thread, and I thought I'd give some sort of an update (from what little I recall from before school started).

The lay minister (I seem to recall that was the title of the man who restrained the boy) was charged with criminal child abuse or something like that. I believe he was found guilty (which caused quite a bit of relief for the disabled community here.)

I could look up the actual facts if anybody here is interested (give me another reason to pester the librarians at the Central Library here in Milwaukee.) :)

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
Go for it- or simply check up on - if they carried the story. :)
Well this is what makes America great. We have the right to ignore all the science we want and believe in stupid nonsense under the heading of "religious freedom." You jealous Brits just can't stand it, admit it!
Here's an update on the case if anybody's interested.

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Original URL:

Jury finds minister guilty in autistic boy's death


Posted: July 9, 2004

After deliberating four hours, a jury found Ray A. Hemphill guilty of felony child abuse-recklessly causing great harm in the Aug. 22 death of an autistic 8-year-old boy during a physical two-hour religious ceremony.

Hemphill, who had been free on a signature bond, was led away from the courtroom in handcuffs to wait in jail unless his family and church can post a $10,000 bail. He faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and five more on extended supervision and is to be sentenced Aug. 17.
His attorney, Thomas Harris, had contended that Terrance Cottrell Jr. had toxic amounts of three drugs in his system before going to Hemphill's storefront church, Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith, for an extended service of prayers, songs and laying on of hands as part of a series of services intended to invoke holy help to heal the boy's autism.

Assistant District Attorney Mark S. Williams contended the drugs played a minimal role in the boy's death and was backed up by Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Jeffrey Jentzen's finding that the boy suffocated and by Hemphill's admission to police he had lain on the boy for at least an hour during what Williams called a "makeshift exorcism."

After the verdict came in, Hemphill's family and parishioners slowly walked away from a throng of television cameras outside the courtroom of the highly-publicized trial.

"We're disappointed with the jury's verdict and we have no further comment," Harris said.

Outside the courthouse, Terrance Cottrell Sr. and his son's mother, Patricia Cooper, briefly embraced in the light drizzle before going their separate ways. The mother had been a participant in the ceremony and declined to comment.

The father lit up a cigarette and said he is considering asking for federal charges against Hemphill.

"I don't feel that we got justice done," the father said. "The state wasn't too zealous to up the charge (to homicide). They could've gotten a conviction on a higher charge."

Complete coverage of this story will appear online later tonight and in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in the morning.

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
I wondered whatever happened in this case. The sad part is that in certain circles of belief this could be deemed permissible.
This is absolutely appalling.

I don't think justice has been done either.

Don't know what its classified as in the US but that really should have been classified as manslaughter
They wrap kids with emotional problems in blankets, sit on their chests and scream at them, agitating the kid, and thus 'exorcising' the figurative demons. There's a new form now, where they just restrain the kid. Still junk-science, but non-fatal.
Secular exocism? Right up there with "Intelligent Design for Schools"?