Police said that Anello abused the girl under the pretext of helping her recover from an illness with his spiritual 'healing prayers'.

Palermo, Sicily: An Italian priest was arrested on the suspicion of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl while performing an exorcism.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Father Salvatore Anello, 59, from Palermo, Sicily was held on sex abuse charges and is suspected of molesting four women apart from the minor girl.

Police said that Anello abused the girl under the pretext of helping her recover from an illness with his spiritual 'healing prayers'.

He also promised to liberate people from the possession of devil.

Along with Anello, police have also detained an army colonel who was an active member of the Renewal of the Holy Spirit Catholic community. He has also been accused of sexually assaulting women and girls seeking spiritual help.

An investigation has been launched by police who are probing victims' claims and ascertaining if there are more women and girls who have faced similar attacks.

Both the accused remain in police custody until further investigations and await trial.

By DECCAN CHRONICLE