Priest Army officer arrested

Fondled women, girls 'to liberate them from demonic lust'

(ANSA) - Palermo, October 21 - Police on Friday arrested a Catholic priest and an Army officer on sexual assault charges. Father Salvatore Anello, known in Palermo as an exorcist and a healer, is accused of fondling two women and three underage girls when they turned to him for help. Colonel Salvatore Muratore, 52, is accused of sexually assaulting four women and one underage girl. The officer co-founded a group called the Renewal of the Holy Spirit, and went to people's homes along with the priest to allegedly free them from demonic possession and conduct "healing prayers". When the victims protested at the abuse, the colonel reportedly replied, "I'm invoking the demon of lust in order to liberate you".
    Exorcism from the devil is a permitted rite in the Catholic Church, but it must be authorized by higher-ups. Anello was not recognized as an exorcist by his diocesis, sources said.