In what authorities are calling a horrific crime, Rachel Hilaire and Peggy LaBossiere from East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, tortured a five-year-old girl in a voodoo ritual by tying her down and burning her. The women believed the child was misbehaving because she had a demon inside of her.
Police said the child's mother, who requested the ritual, has been taken to a hospital for a psychological treatment.
LaBossiere, 51, and Hilaire, 40, have been accused of tying up the child, cutting her, and blowing flames over her face, which will leave her permanently disfigured. The girl's eight-year-old brother was also tortured. LaBossiere and Hilaire allegedly stripped the boy naked, rubbed him with an unknown oil, and blew flames over his body. The women then threatened to chop his head off with a machete.
The women face a slew of charges including assault and battery on a child with injury, mayhem (the permanent disfigurement of a child’s face), indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14, threatening to commit a crime (murder), and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
They are being held without bail. The police report states:
(LaBossiere) further stated they have performed this for friends and family members in the past and that children are susceptible to the burning when an evil spirits leave the body.
People were understandably outraged:
I'm all for religious freedom, beliefs and practice but when it harms physical well being in any form it's not religious anymore it's evil no matter the religion, needles and blowing flames on her these women derserve the worst coming to them— Jamar_2000 (@Jamar2k) February 4, 2018
Others wondered why the mother wasn't charged with a crime:
WOW, if you can't trust your mother, then who can you trust???????— Patricia Wilson (@PatriciaLWilso6) February 4, 2018
LOCK Up the Mother for Allowing this to even happen.— Cathy DeLaRosa (@CathyDeLaRosa10) February 4, 2018
Both children have been place with children's social services.