According to the Washington Post, Rayoung Kim was "pummeled and smothered" in her bedroom, in the ancient Korean rite of kut. In Korean culture, a shaman or "mudang" (typically a woman) communicates with spirits to drive out evil. Rayoung Kim was a Centreville High School student who may have had mental health issues, say law enforcement sources quoted by the Washington Post.
The article by Tom Jackman quotes John Goulde, director of the Asian studies program at Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Va., as saying that some highly educated people use mudangs or shamans, preferring them to modern approaches like psychotherapy.
The shaman can sometimes be connected to a Pentecostal or charismatic church, and "it's a highly emotion-packed form of religion," Goulde said. "It's very cathartic. It makes them feel good and generates support."What is appalling about such exorcisms is that it is "extremely rare for murder or manslaughter charges to be filed in relation to religious rituals. In the past 10 to 15 years, only a few cases have been prosecuted in the United States."
That also goes for parents -- who are, for example, Christian Scientists or Jehovah's Witnesses -- who refuse medical treatment for their children on religious grounds. I'm with the camp that says parents should be held accountable for harm to their children every time they refuse standard, life-saving medical treatment. If you are an adult and, based on your religion, you refuse medical treatment, that is your business. But people who refuse medical treatment for their minor children should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
As one wag put it:
If their God actually existed, he would send people like this to Hell for murdering their children. ... And to keep them from dragging down the average IQ of Heaven.