F Rosa Rubicondior: Suffer Little Jehovah's Witness Children

Sunday 22 October 2017

Suffer Little Jehovah's Witness Children

Source: The Freethinker
Jehovah’s Witnesses sued in Canada for history of sex abuse cover-up | Reveal

The storm clouds are gathering over another Christian organisation as its dirty little secret of decades of child sexual abuse and systematic official cover-up, involving possibly hundreds of thousands of cases, is beginning to be revealed in all its sordid glory.

According to the Centre For Investigative Reporting (Reveal), the Jehovah's Witness parent organisation, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, is facing a $66 million law suit in Canada, brought by current and former members, claiming that it's policies protect members who sexually abuse children.

This comes on top of an earlier class action suit brought against the Jehovah's Witnesses last month in Quebec.

An ongoing investigation by Reveal has found that the parent organisation instructs local leaders to hide child abuse from law enforcement authorities as a matter of policy. The notoriously secretive organisation collects the names of members accused of child abuse but claims to handle the matter internally. It is also notorious for the bullying tactics it uses to suppress dissent and to protect the reputation of the organisation. Revealing anything detrimental to the reputation of the cult is considered the most heinous treachery, no matter that it might be true or criminal.

The Reveal report claims:

The leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses – one of the world’s most insular religions – for 25 years has instructed its elders to keep cases of child sexual abuse secret from law enforcement and members of their own congregations, according to an examination of thousands of pages of documents in recent cases.

The religion’s parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, issued the directives in at least 10 memos dating back to 1989. Although the memos were anonymously written, Watchtower officials have testified that the organization’s Governing Body approved them all.

The most recent letter, dated Nov. 6, 2014, instructed elders – the spiritual leaders of local congregations – to form confidential committees to handle potential criminal matters internally.

“In some cases, the elders will form a judicial committee to handle the alleged wrongdoing that may also constitute a violation of criminal law (e.g., murder, rape, child abuse, fraud, theft, assault),” the directive stipulates. “Generally, the elders should not delay the judicial committee process, but strict confidentiality must be maintained to avoid unnecessary entanglement with secular authorities who may be conducting a criminal investigation of the matter.”

Despite lawsuits and multi-million dollar judgements and sanctions against the JWs in New York, the organisation refuses to hand over the list of child abusing members to the courts.

It appears the organization has not established policies to prevent sexual abuse from happening and has faulty policies when sexual abuse is reported to it, at the hands of elders or otherwise.

Bryan McPhadden,
lead attorney on the Canadian case.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have faced an increasing barrage of child abuse lawsuits in recent years across North America, Europe and Australia. At least 20 child abuse lawsuits are pending against the Watchtower in the U.S.

The UK Charities Commission, the body that regulates charities, is currently investigating the JWs child protection policies and could strip them of their charitable status if they are found to failing in their legal obligation to protect children from abuse.

The Australian Watchtower is also under investigation by a government commission which has uncovered evidence of over 1000 alleged child abusers in the Australian organisation, going back to the 1950s. None of those had been reported to the police. Hundreds of these cases are now under investigation by Australian law enforcement agencies.

It's just the same old story, seen in the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and other Christian churches of those with trusted access to vulnerable people abusing their positions of trust and then being protected by the church. The interests of the church and its clerics and senior officials is always the priority with little or no regard for the interests and welfare of their victims.

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  1. The Australian Royal commission hands down its report soon, the JW's are third or fourth on the list of offending religious organisations, which is a worry given there's only about fifty thousand of them lurking down under.

    1. I look forward to that. The Pell case should be interesting too.


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