Arkansas Politician Believed Adopted Daughters Were Demon-Possessed… Gave them Away to a Man Who Raped One of Them

Rep. Justin T. Harris (R-West Fork) gave the girls, ages 3 and 6, to a man who admitted to sexually abusing one of them. (Danny Johnston/AP)
Rep. Justin T. Harris (R-West Fork) gave the girls, ages 3 and 6, to a man who admitted to sexually abusing one of them. (Danny Johnston/AP)


An Arkansas state legislator and his wife believed their two adopted daughters were possessed by demons and forced them to undergo exorcisms before giving them away to a former staffer, who later raped the older girl, according to a report.

Republican Justin Harris and his wife Marsha gave away the girls, ages 3 and 6, to a friend, six months after the adoption was finalized.

That friend, Eric Francis, is now serving a 40-year sentence for sexually assaulting the 6-year-old child. He was arrested six months after the girls were placed in his and his wife’s care.

The Harrises, who have three other children, said they could not handle the girls, claiming they were violent and had severe emotional problems, the Arkansas Times reported Thursday.

But sources close to the family told the paper that the Harrises thought the girls’ problems were of another world — the underworld.

The couple was convinced the girls, who they brought home in October 2012, were possessed and could communicate telepathically, sources told the paper.

That fear made them keep the girls in separate rooms under lock and key — with video surveillance and alarm systems —former babysitter Chelsey Goldsborough said. They were not allowed to interact with each other and Goldsborough entered the older girl’s room only to give her food and water, she said.

The Harrises took away the older girl’s toys “because a demon told her not to share,” according to Goldsborough.

“The first night I was over there, I just broke down and cried with this little girl because I just felt so bad for her,” Goldsborough said.

Marsha Harris showed people pictures and videos she claimed showed evidence of the older girl interacting with a demon, the former babysitter claimed.

The couple’s “obsession” with demons drove them to hold at least one exorcism, sources said. They hired experts from Alabama to force the demons out, Goldsborough said.

The Harrises’ lawyer, Jennifer Wells, denied these claims in a statement.

“Exorcisms and telepathy are not part of the Harrises’ religious practice,” she said. “They followed the techniques in a book” on therapeutic parenting techniques.

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