|Father Thomas Euteneuer, South Florida's top exorcist.|
Tell us if this sounds a tad familiar, Miami: A clean-cut, best-selling celebrity Catholic priest and author from South Florida gets caught in some monkey business with a lady and loses his job. Ahem, cough, Fathercutie!
The difference this time is the offender isn't a moderate padre like Cutie -- it's Father Thomas Euteneuer, South Florida's only official exorcist and a fire-breathing pro-lifer who once told Sean Hannity he'd deny him communion for not toeing the church line. Et tu, Euteneuer?
Euteneuer says his indiscretions were limited to "one person only, an adult woman under my spiritual care" and that his crime "did not involve the sexual act." (Which leaves what, exactly? Heavy petting?)
But Euteneuer raises more questions than he answers with the lengthy statement. He decries "malicious falsehoods" on "internet sites," including one juicy rumor that "there is a possessed person living in my family's home."
"The accusation that I 'targeted' vulnerable women or otherwise sought them out for spiritual direction is utterly false," he adds.
Some victims advocates aren't buying it.
"We hope Father Euteneuer is telling the truth, but we suspect he's not," Barbara Dorris of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, tells the Sun Sentinel
. "Rarely do clerics who abuse their power do so only once."
Euteneuer rose to fame through his fiery pro-life work, including a late 90s fight against a Fort Pierce abortion clinic. In 2000, Human Life International, a pro-life organization, named him president.
In the meantime, Euteneuer also studied at the Vatican to become only of a handful of certified exorcists in the United States. Based out of his home diocese of Palm Beach, he performed scores of exorcisms and then wrote about them in a book last year called "Exorcism and the Church Militant."
Euteneuer abruptly fell off the public radar last fall, though, leaving as head of HLI and canceling public appearances to talk about the book.
The disgraced man of the cloth certainly has some work ahead to repair his public image. But don't worry, Fr. Tom -- Cutie came out of his mess with a national TV show on Fox!