In 2017, Meally Morris Freeman, the pastor of Grace Mountaineer Tabernacle Church in Brooklyn Center, told a woman in his congregation that she had a demon in her body, and that she needed a one-on-one “deliverance” session so he could exorcise it.
The woman in question told police about what happened later, and her name has been left out of the criminal complaint describing what happened during that session, which took place before Bible study. A warning: It is explicit.
The complaint says Freeman began the deliverance session by giving the allegedly possessed woman cups of oil to drink, and after she’d swallowed them down, they began to pray. She then “fell out,” as she put it -- became listless and semi-conscious. She couldn’t remember exactly what had happened. But when she woke up, she noticed her stomach was slick with oil. So was the skin near her breasts. And her underwear was wet.
She says Freeman told her he had indeed “anointed” those areas, but that he hadn’t looked at all of them. In any case, he told her she’d need a second session later that evening -- after Bible study was over. He told her to send her daughter home with a babysitter.
Once again, Freeman and the woman were alone, and once again, she “fell out.” But this time, when she woke up, she discovered her pants and underwear were hanging around her ankles, and her shirt and bra were pulled up over her chest. Her breasts and crotch were covered in oil. She caught sight of Freeman, who was dousing her with more oil from a water bottle.
The complaint says he ordered her to get on her hands and knees, and then to sit back with her legs spread apart, slicking her with oil and probing her with his finger while she was in each position. Finally, it was over. Freeman told her not to pick up her daughter from the babysitter. He “did not want people to know how late she was at the church,” the complaint says.
The woman eventually talked to a friend about her night at the church -- the oil, the tears in her underwear, Freeman’s actions. Her friend told her she hadn’t experienced “deliverance” but something far less spiritual.
The woman spoke with Freeman again and brought up what happened that night. Freeman didn’t deny feeling her up and “insert[ing] things” into her. It was part of the “deliverance process,” he said. His wife knew he sees women naked, that sometimes “things happen” during the process, that “deliverance can be very tempting.” What Freeman didn’t know was that the woman was secretly recording the conversation.
The complaint says the woman then sat down with Freeman, his wife, and a church elder to confront him about what he’d done to her. Freeman and his wife, it says, asked her not to report it to the police.
Freeman was convicted of two counts of third-degree criminal sexual assault last Monday in a Hennepin County District Court. He’s still in custody, and prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 58 months in prison. We’ll know his fate in November, when he’s expected to be sentenced.
That, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman (no relation), is pretty much a “top of the box” sentence for sexual assaults of this variety.
“We in the county attorney’s office are pretty incensed by this, too,” he says. And the fact that the jury only took 20 minutes to get to a verdict, he says, tells you something.
“I think the jury saw through whatever he said about ‘a deliverance process’ pretty quickly.”