A pastor in Brooklyn Center was found guilty on Wednesday of sexually assaulting a parishioner after telling her he had to "exorcise a demon from her body."
Meally Morris Freeman, 56, was convicted by a jury of two counts of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct following an assault during a prayer session when he was alone with the victim.
Morris was the victim's pastor at Grace Mountaineer Tabernacle Church at 6500 Brooklyn Boulevard, a church he founded, and he committed the assault on Sept. 20, 2017.
The victim, who had met Freeman several years earlier at another church, said she considered him "her spiritual father," according to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, and on the day of the assault he had sought spiritual guidance from him.
Freeman proceeded to tell her that she needed a one-on-one "deliverance session," before bible study, "to exorcise a demon from her body."
This session saw him give her cups of oil to drink, and after they began to pray she "entered a trance-like state." He rubbed oil onto her body while she was in this state.
He then told her she needed a second session with him after bible study that night, telling her to send her daughter home with a babysitter.
During this session, she entered the same trance-like state, and when she was conscious again, she saw her pants and underwear were around her ankles, her underwear had been ripped, and her bra had been pulled over over her chest.
Freeman then proceeded to sexually assault her.
The victim later confronted Freeman while secretly recording him, during which he did not deny the sexual assault, and said that it was part of the "deliverance process."
He also said that things happen during the deliverance event that "you don’t ask what happens, you don’t go into details and that deliverance can be very tempting."
Both Freeman and his wife later tried to convince the victim not to report what had happened to the police.
He is currently being held in prison ahead of sentencing on Nov. 9, with prosecutors seeking a 58 month prison sentence.