Two Massachusetts women are facing multiple charges in connection with the assault of a 5-year-old girl in what East Bridgewater police are calling a religious ritual.
Rachel Hilaire, 40, and Peggy LaBossiere, 51, were held on $50,000 bail Monday after pleading not guilty during their arraignments in Brockton Superior Court. Both were charged with mayhem, assault and battery on a child with injury, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, threat to commit crime-murder, and assault and battery with dangerous weapon (large stick).
In mid-January, authorities said East Bridgewater police were contacted by Randolph police to perform a welfare check on a Randolph woman and her two young children who had been staying in East Bridgewater. When officers arrived to the home on West Union Street, they found a 5-year-old girl with burns on her face.
Following an investigation, the girl's mother told police that Hilaire and LaBossiere told her that she thought the child had an evil spirit inside her and they used a voodoo ritual to help get rid of it.
The girl's mother said the women performed a procedure where cloths were put over her face. When the child was taken to the hospital, she allegedly still had rope ties to her waist and entangled in her hair.
Police said the chemicals the women used on the girl's face burned her so badly that the burns will probably not heal.
According to police, Hilaire and LaBossiere also threatened the girl's 8-year-old brother by saying they would cut his head off. He told investigators that he witnessed the women burning things over his sister, tying her up and putting water and another unknown substance on the girl's eyes.
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Hilaire and LaBossiere taken into custody Jan. 26. Their dangerousness hearing on Thursday has been continued until next Wednesday. It's unclear if they have attorneys.
Both children are currently in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.