Milwaukee Minister Banned From Exorcisms

New York Times/August 28, 2003

Milwaukee -- A minister charged in the death of an autistic child during a prayer session has been ordered not to perform exorcisms as a condition of bail.

Ray Hemphill was released on a $5,000 signature bond Wednesday, meaning he did not have to post any money to get out of jail but would forfeit that amount if he violates conditions of his bail.

Hemphill, 45, was charged Tuesday with felony child abuse of Terrance Cottrell Jr., 8, who died during a prayer session Friday night at the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith.

Authorities said Hemphill had pinned the boy as the church members prayed to release "demons" from the boy, and the child suffocated.

As a strict condition of bail, Court Commissioner John J. Valenti said Hemphill was not to "engage in or even attempt any sort of exorcism or spiritual healing."

Valenti found probable cause to hold Hemphill for further court proceedings. A preliminary hearing was set for Sept. 8.

After being released, Hemphill left without answering reporters' questions.

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