TX Supreme Court: Exorcism protected by law

June 27, 2008 5:42:49 PM PDT
The Texas Supreme Court Friday sided with a church that was sued after members injured a teenage girl in an exorcism. The court says Pleasant Glade Assembly of God's effort to cast out demons presents a dispute over religious conduct that would unconstitutionally entangle the court in church doctrine.

A 2002 trial of the case never touched on the religious aspects.

A Tarrant County jury found the Colleyville church and its members liable for abusing and falsely imprisoning the girl, who was then 17.

The jury awarded her $300,000 for mental anguish, but the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth shaved $122,000 from the verdict for loss of future income.

The appeals court decided the church's rights to freedom of religion do not prevent the church from being held liable for mental distress triggered by a "hyper-spiritualistic environment."

The church appealed.

A Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports majority of the high court agreed with the church.

After the 2002 verdict, Pleasant Glade merged with another congregation in Colleyville.

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