The Telegram and Gazette reports that the Hartford man charged in connection with the theft of skeletal remains from a Worcester cemetery is no longer a priest.
Investigators say that Amador Medina, 32, of Hartford, Connecticut, stole the remains of three adults and two young children from Hope Cemetery in Worcester for use in a medicinal religious ritual.
Medina practices Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion developed from the beliefs and customs of the Yoruba people and incorporating some elements of the Catholic religion. At the time of his arrest Medina was a priest, also known as a Santero, of Santeria. However, a group connected to that religion has revoked his status as a member.
The Cultural Association of African Religions Babalú Aye says that "his membership has been cancelled for violating several points of the terms and conditions agreement that he signed to conserve his affiliation," They say also that followers of Santeria do not recognize the use of human bones in their religious practice.
The directors of this association claim that they have no ties to Medina, though they aknowledge that he "achieved initiation" and that the group, until now, recognized him as a priest.
They write that "Mr. Medina ... does not deserve to be respected as (a religious figure)" and that he has disgraced the institution of Babalú Aye. religious figure)" and that he has disgraced the institution of Babalú Aye.
Medina was held on $1,000 bail and is set to appear in court next month.