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Danielle Harkins Accused of Helping St. Petersburg Teens Exorcise Demons by Cutting Each Other

A 35-year-old teacher from St. Petersburg's Lealman Asian Neighborhood Center was arrested yesterday on child-abuse charges after police say she convinced several teens to hurt each other to get rid of demons.

Danielle Harkins is accused of gathering seven kids around a campfire near the St. Petersburg Pier on Saturday evening, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Police say she then told a 17-year-old boy that "he needed to get rid of an evil tick," according to Bay News 9, and convinced another teen to help get rid of it by cutting the boy's back with a piece of broken glass.

Police say she then oversaw the cauterizing of the wound with a heated-up house key.

The TV station's report says Harkins has worked at Lealman for about five years, and "the executive director of the center says Harkins recently got into a religion but she's not sure what it's about."

No kidding. Also part of the accusations: Harkins allegedly poured perfume on a 16-year-old's hand, then set it on fire.

A Google+ account that appears to belong to Harkins also lists her as executive director of the Amarie School of Dance, which is about 2.5 miles from the pier. A Facebook page with her picture also includes a large picture of Amarie, though the studio doesn't list Harkins on its website. The Times reports none of the teens involved Saturday night were current students of the neighborhood center but did not mention the dance studio.

The phone number listed on the studio's website is no longer in service; an email request for comment has not yet been returned.


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