TAMPA (WFLA) — Tampa police arrested a man who allegedly burned a 14-year-old child during a Santeria ceremony Sunday.
Officers responded to a home in Tampa around 1:30 a.m. due to reports of child abuse.
Upon arrival, the officer found a 14-year-old boy who said he was burned by Jaime Javier Amogueafonseca, 32, who had been invited over by the boy’s mother to join in a Santeria ceremony.
The boy told the officer he was burned by Amogueafonseca as part of a religious ritual. The officer said the child was adamant he was not a willing participant of the ceremony and does not involve himself in Santeria.
Santeria is an Afro-Caribbean religion that grew out of the slave trade in Cuba that uses rituals and ceremonies to communicate with spirits.
The officer said the child pulled up his shirt to show him a black streak of ash on the center of his back. The officer also noticed raised and opened skin, some of it in a circular pattern.
The child said Amogueafonseca approached him from behind, lifted up his shirt, and pressed the hot cigar against his bare skin.
Amogueafonseca told deputies he was possessed by spirits during the Santeria ceremony and said the child accidentally brushed up against his cigar while walking passed him.
According to the police report, Amogueafonseca told the officer he loses control of his body and is unaware of his surroundings when he’s possessed by spirits.
The mother refused to provide a sworn written or verbal statement. She did say, however, that she was having guests over that night so they could interact with spirits. She also said Amogueafonseca was possessed by a spirit, but did not harm her child.
The officer directed the mother’s attention to the open skin on her son’s back, which he said she responded saying she didn’t see anything.
Amogueafonseca was arrested for child abuse (torture).