Loss of faith

Dateline: Sun 09 Feb 2014

The Indianapolis Star's Jan. 26 Page 1 story, "The exorcisms of Latoya Ammons," while it certainly attracted major media attention, is journalism at its worst -- exploitative, manipulative and sadly, an ideal example of why reporters at the newspaper need strong, thoughtful editors. 

First, the family is clearly troubled, as the reporter made note, based on files from the Department of Child Services. The mother, who claims her children were possessed by demons (especially the most vulnerable, the 7-year-old), had been investigated in the past for neglect of her kids' education for not having them in school regularly. This happened twice, in 2009 and 2012.

A child psychologist observed that the youngest child tended to act possessed whenever he was challenged, redirected or asked questions he did not wish to answer. The psychologist said, "This appears to be an unfortunate and sad case of a child who has been induced into a delusional system perpetuated by his mother and potentially reinforced" by other relativews. The problems are behavioral, no spiritual or demonic.

The "haunted" Gary home where demons allegedly were spreading oil and causing a child to climb walls had been lived in previously with no complaints; nor do the current tenants have problems, said the landlord.

Perhaps the most egregious twist is the involvement of a Catholic preist from the Gary diocese, the Rev. Mike Maginot, who has already signed a TV deal (as has the mother).

We don't know too much about this guy, except that he resisted a criminal background check required of all priests in his diocese on the grounds it was too intrusive. Exorcisms are rare in the Catholic church, and even rarer when a priest is a publicity hound. What his motivations are, God only knows. Unlike the family, he was not subjected to a psychological evaluation.

The children are the victims in the case, and not of demons, but of an irreponsible mother, grandmother and other adults who, for monetary gain, have attempted to create a frightful belief system in their lives.

The Star should not have touched this stoy with a 10-foot pole blessed by holy water.



Marie Siroky [unverified] said:

I am really troubled by media reporting this story, as well as those sharing information. It is the mother's right to disclose any health information… but that doesn't justify to this extent. Exorcism is a sacramental.. reserved for extreme cases---and for a priest to discuss this publicly and sign movie/TV deal is shameful. I do know he didn't ask for the Bishop's permission (nor would he have gotten) their approval for the book/movie deal.

2014-02-09 18:04:56

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