Date: Mon Jan 31 1994 23:57:00
From: mick howland
Subj: Exorcism update
From "Sunday Times" Perth Western Australia, Sunday, January 30th, 1994.
Exorcism team may face death charges
MELBOURNE: Four people who performed an exorcism on a woman believed
to be possessed by demons could face trial for manslaughter despite
having charges dismissed by a magistrate last year.
A spokeswoman for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Bernard
Bongiorno QC, said the matter ws being reviewed by the office.
Ms Lee Carmody said if there were no delays there could be a decision
this week on whether the four were presented directly for trial.
Joan Vollmer, 49, died a year ago during an exorcism which lasted
several days at a country property near Dimboola.
Her husband, Ralph, David Klingner, Leanne Reichenbach and Matthew
Nuske were charged with manslaughter.
But during the committal hearing in Horsham Magistrate's Court, Mr Tim
McDonald found there was insufficient evidence to convict them.
Mr McDonald, who also sat as coroner, then found they had contributed
to Mrs Vollmer's death.
The court had heard medical evidence that it was highly probable the
death was caused by cardiac arrest due to pressure on the neck.
But Mr McDonald said there was a possibility the pressure applied to
the neck did not cause the arrest.
Mr Vollmer, a pig farmer, was on holidays and unavailable for comment.
His co-accused (and aquitted) also refused to comment.
Soon after Mrs Vollmer's death, her husband spoke to media across
Australia and from overseas. He was adamant she would rise from the dead
on the day of her funeral.
When she did not, Mr Vollmer said his faith in God was not diminished.
Mr Vollmer said he believed his wife had been possessed by demons when
she came under the control of a satanic cult as a three-year-old.