The house where a retired Boise priest lived for 15 years — until he was accused in February of sharing child pornography online and of drug possession — has been cleaned out, freshened up and blessed by an exorcist, according to the priest preparing the property for sale.
“We bless houses all the time,” said Father John Worster, pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church the past three years. “I had our diocesan exorcist and his prayer team come and pray over the house.”
Exorcism is the warding off of demons or evil spirits. It’s more commonly performed on people than houses.
“The actual rite of exorcism involves prayers in which the priest demands that the demon(s) leave the possessed person’s body,” according to a 2017 article on Newsweek.com. “Those present are sprinkled with holy water and the priest makes the sign of the cross on the possessed person’s forehead, as well as laying his hands on them.
The Diocese of Boise evicted Father W. Thomas “Tom” Faucher from the house at West Holly Hill Drive and Hill Road soon after he was arrested. Residents in the neighborhood, which has a school, expressed concern for the safety of their children.
Mark Manweiler, Faucher’s attorney, declined to comment Friday on the exorcism of the church-owned house.
Faucher is being held at the Ada County Jail. A trial is set to begin on Oct. 15, but his attorney indicated in court on June 1 that he’s in negotiations with prosecutors on a plea deal.
On July 12, Manweiler filed a change of venue request for Faucher’s trial to be moved outside of the Fourth Judicial District on the grounds that a fair and impartial trial is not possible in Ada County due to “extensive prejudicial pre-trial publicity.”
More than a dozen offers were made by people wanting to buy the house at West Holly Hill Drive and Hill Road, and the diocese accepted one. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom house is selling in the range of $240,000 to $260,000, Worster said.
“The market is so incredibly good right now. We’re getting everything we asked for and more,” he said. “It bid itself up a bit.”
Worster said the property was filthy, and the mice were “living large and in charge.” All the appliances were replaced.
“Our main goal is to turn the house over in good condition to the next owner,” he said. “We’re painting, cleaning up the floors and cleaning carpet, even as we speak. Part of that is taking care of the spiritual side of things.”
He wanted the exorcism to clear away the “spiritual filth” associated with the house and its former occupant.
The Vatican formally recognized the Rome-based International Association of Exorcists in 2014, the Catholic News Service reported. The association said it has 250 members in 30 different countries. Worster said the Boise diocese has two exorcists.
“We believe in demonic powers. We brought in the ghostbusters,” he said. That was in early June.
There were 10 people from the diocese exorcism prayer team at the Holly Hill house; they are parishioners from different churches in the Valley. Many are prominent members of the community but don’t want to be identified publicly, Worster said.
He said he informed Bishop Peter Christensen in advance and was met with approval.
“It’s a relatively routine thing but evil is real, so we’re taking no chances,” said Worster, who prepared a meal for the “prayer warriors” after the house exorcism and blessing. “We prayed for the house and prayed in the house, just to be sure, and to reassure the public and new owners.”
Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413