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Police: Child Burned in Voodoo Ritual in Massachusetts, 2 Women Charged 


FILE - A skull and bones for a voodoo ritual are pictured in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 16, 2016.

Two sisters in Massachusetts were charged after they allegedly performed a voodoo ritual on a 5-year-old girl, burning and permanently disfiguring her, Massachusetts police said.

A Haitian hairstylist said she believed her two children — the 5-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy — were misbehaving "due to evil spirits," and sought the help of sisters Peggy LaBossiere, 51, and Rachel Hilaire, 40, to rid the children of the demon.

The sisters, of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, pleaded not guilty on January 29 to charges including mayhem and assault. They told police they had performed "cleansing baths" in the past, according to The Associated Press.

The boy told police his sister was tied down as the women blew fire over her face. He said they also cut the 5-year-old on the arm and collarbone, drawing blood. He said the women also threatened to cut his head off with a machete.

The girl suffered third-degree burns on her face.

The women denied harming or threatening the children. They next appear in court Wednesday.

The children's mother, who has not been charged, is receiving mental health treatment, according to AP.

Voodoo is a religion that evolved in the 17th century when colonists brought slaves to Haiti from West Africa.

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