Ex-Elder to appear in court after admitting to pedophilia on Facebook

A former elder is due to face charges at Heidelberg Magistrate’s Court after admitting to molesting a six-year-old girl

On March 1st 2013 a former Jehovah’s Witness elder is due to appear at Heidelberg Magistrate’s Court in Victoria, Australia, charged with indecent assault after apologizing to his alleged victim via Facebook – according to Fairfax Media.

The accused, who has been named as Richard Hill, is said to have admitted to the woman that he abused her when she was only six-years-old, as far back as 1981, even though he seemed at the time to have escaped punishment.

It was only when his victim turned 14 and developed an interest in the opposite sex that she realised what had happened to her. However, as is so often the case in these instances, her parents’ attempts to pursue the matter with the local elders fell on deaf ears. Under the much-maligned “two witness rule” imposed by the Watch Tower Society, elders will routinely disregard accusations of child abuse unless another person happens to have been on hand to witness the incident.

More than three decades on from the attack, with the victim now 38-years-old, justice appears to be finally being served – albeit following an unexpected turn of events. In a chance encounter on Facebook, Hill was confronted by the woman he is said to have abused. He surprised her with an apology for what happened. ”I confronted him on Facebook [in private chat] and questioned him about it, and he turned around and apologised,” the woman said.

Apparently, at the time of this Facebook exchange, Hill was still a serving elder. However, in the wake of his admission, his position became untenable – especially when criminal charges ensued. ”He became an elder within the church and rose quite high up,” his victim explained. “Since he was charged he has stepped down.”

This development comes amidst a whirlwind of damaging publicity surrounding Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia. The Watch Tower Society faces ongoing legal difficulties over their failure to properly comply with working with children laws between 2008 and 2011. They also face potential scrutiny under a wide-ranging Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse that has been launched by the Australian government.

For more information on this story and similar developments, please click on the following links…


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23 Responses to Ex-Elder to appear in court after admitting to pedophilia on Facebook

  1. John Hoyle says:

    The “hits just keep on coming…”

    Add to this the arrest and extradition of another former elder in Santa Barbara, California and many more that are still in the works. When everything shakes out, there may not be enough elders left to run Kingdom Halls. I’m afraid we have only scratched the surface. Like a toilet, the organization may be all shiny and white on the outside, but lift the lid…

  2. mokihermida says:

    It is always good when these cases come to be known, child abuse is unacceptable in any circumstance, I would go to the Police right away, i don’t understand why some go to the elders.

    It’s just a waste of time,
    Picture it, i have just learned that my child has been molested, raped, touched improperly, i get on the phone call one elder, he then calls another, they have to plan to meet with me, i then wait, wait, until they call me back…Please, it seems totally insane.

  3. Frank says:

    Obviously the cracks are forming.

    Bearing in mind that there is no separation between church and state in Australia, theoretically something could be accomplished here. I have read a brochure from JW Leaks that clearly shows that there is no exemption for religion in the mandatory background checks for members who have children in their charge in Victoria.

    Of course, the law wouldn’t have existed in 1981 and so pinning it as religious responsibility will be difficult unless it can be proved that the elders in the congregation knew of the abuse.

    Whatever the case, consciousness will be raised and it will all help.

    Frank V

  4. Julia Orwell says:

    I can’t believe I missed this! I live in Australia, and I didn’t hear a thing about it. Stuff like this usually makes national news, but it didn’t. Is that because the WTS has some way of gagging the media? Australia’s media usually latches onto this sort of thing and it ends up everywhere, but here in another state I never heard of it.

  5. Julia Orwell says:

    Frank, in Australia “church” never had a ruling share therefore no separation was stated. We are a very secular nation, and churches don’t get special breaks, believe me. The working with children checks have to be undertaken by everyone working with children, and in the congregation they are technically working with all at the hall. In Queensland where I live, you have to have your Blue Card (working with children) even if you are a tradesman going to change a light bulb in a school, so I can very much imagine it would extend to churches as well. Our government is trying so hard to screen these people out, but we have known paedophiles walking into district conventions after getting out of jail. I personally know of some! Scary.

  6. LP says:

    Does anyone know how old Hill was at the time of the assault? Also, your article talks about the “parents’ attempts to pursue the matter with the local elders.” However, the news articles that I read just said that the parents “could not act because [of the two witness rule],” which seems to imply that the parents didn’t even try to pursue the matter. Do you have your own sources that indicate they actually did go to the elders? With what result?

    • Cedars says:

      LP, I imply nothing more than is implied by the article. It seems absurd to me that the JW parents of an abused child would stop themselves from involving the elders or making any allegations because of the two witness rule. My reading of the article implies that their “allegations” couldn’t be “acted on” due to the rule.

      If you insist that I find you confirmation that “unable” definitely means “blocked by the elders” then I will by all means get it for you. However, I would feel rather silly even asking given that the article rather unambiguously indicates this to be the case.

      The article text reads…
      “At that point she told her mother, who was unable to pursue it because of a Jehovah’s Witness rule that allegations of sexual abuse against elders would only be acted on if two elders witnessed it, she said.”

  7. Kat says:

    It is only the beginning!

  8. KtotheRAD "Konrad" says:

    I said it before and if there is continuity of all JW crime an abuses with a central reporting and data tracking agency, the FBI… it will be an easier matter to contain and assess…

    Also, the various Bible Students and Sects and Schisms that broke off from the Society over the years that the Society tried so hard to deny and vilify as “The Evil Slave” are still going strong(er) Generations later and there are no known reports of these types of abuses:


  9. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    The WTS instills sex in JWs in an insidiously that child sexual abuse will never stop in JWs unless they change their teachings. I tend to think they talk too much of sex in their teachings, what I think have a negative psychological sex on the WTS followers.
    JWs are told things in the world are useless: High studies, riches, family, … Robed of valuable things in life, they remain with their sex and as a result you have such stories like this one of pedophilia.
    If you review carefully their publications, stories of fornication, adultery, sex ETC. have an insidious but great role in their worship. How often do other Religious organization talk of sex WITHIN CHURCH SERVICES??
    The overall result of this OVERDOSE (if the WTS thinks bombarding JWs with stories of sex is a cure from what that call “pornoia”) can be seen clearly in their OWN PUBLICATION. For instance, the very recent issue of the magazine The Watchtower says in the paragraph 13 of the article “Safeguard Your Inheritance by Making Wise Choices” that “a considerable number of judicial actions and disfellowshippings that take place each year are the result of sexual misconduct”. You can read or hear the article yourself at http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/w20130515/safeguard-your-inheritance/

    There is a need of psychological studies about sex and JWs

  10. J. King says:

    No telling how many little girls he molested since his activity goes all the way back to 1981 (probably earlier than that). Who knows if he was not molested himself and turned into a predator at an early age. Thirty+ years of running around hurting little children with the Watchtower protecting and covering up his activity. Even had the nerve to make this guy an elder, even though they KNEW about his past behavior. Can you imagine him giving talks, knowing what he has done and not owning up to any of that publicly and trying to make restitution to this victims. Straight up disgusting hypocrite with the Watchtower supporting his ruthless behavior. So much for keeping the congregation clean, just a bunch of lies, cover-ups and hypocrites. Glad I left.

  11. Willows says:

    I must say it troubles me to hear about children being abused. The distress at the time of the abuse, and later in their lives.

    Religion is failing these children on a number of counts.

    1. What priority is religion giving to child abuse? For example.
    Are the finances of a religious organization more important than the well being of an abused child?

    Organizations loosing revenue will be quick to rectify and make changes to recover.

    Child Abuse in their ranks is another matter. It appears to sit there festering. Afraid to admit to rank and file it is happening within their organizations.

    It is time to act and tackle child abuse head on.

    Some organizations have met with the victims of child abuse and settled cases out of court with compensation and gag orders.
    This gives the impression the compensation is for the victim and the gag order is for the organization. Not allowing others know members of their organization have abused children.

    Some organizations give compensation now, and refuse to put a gag order on the victim. Letting the victim talk about the abuse
    regardless of the impact on the organization. Which is a much more Christian way to help in healing.

    2. When a child comes forward and explains an account of abuse that has happened to them. Then when confronted the abuser
    denies any child abuse. Is it Christian to do nothing and leave the child in distress, attending meetings for worship, the child knowing the abuser is guilty?

    3. It is time religion followed what they preach.
    They know there is criminal law and religious law.
    The criminal law is administered by the Governments departments of justice, courts, judges, police etc. The religious law is administered by religious organizations.

    If an Elders wife was raped, abused and killed by another member of the congregation. Can religious law handle this situation? No. It is a matter for criminal law.

    The same should, and must be applied to abusers of children.
    Child abuse is criminal. When a child comes forward and gives an account of child abuse. The Police must be called. They are experienced about these matters and handle them with great care.

    When religion wake up, and allow the Police to do their job, child abuse will decline within religious organizations. Religious organizations who fail to give justice for the abused child are not worthy to be called followers of Christ. The Government would be within it’s power to take away their tax free status. As tax payers refuse to support such organizations.

  12. Frank says:

    J. King. It is quite possible that it may have been a single incident, but highly unlikely as sexual child abuse is opportunistic and relies mainly on grooming the child for silence.

    I wouldn’t worry about conscience in such a case. Obviously it’s seared to a great degree, but at least, after some decades, shame came to call.

    Frank V

  13. messenger4truth says:

    Well let’s hope that his victim as the same courage as Candace Conti. And takes this to court. Not just for the money but for sake of other children that are still being molested at the hands of paedophiles in responsible positions within the WT.org.

  14. ExJDub says:

    Today’s the day he appears. I knew Richard Hill. He was in the monty/plenty cong. He would of been in his 20’s at the time this occurred. I can tell you know he was a sleaze. I recall being about 14 when he announced to quite a few he’d have me as a concubine. No one battered an eye lid. My mother who is a jw saw his sister and brother in law who have advised that the article only told half the story. Well he’s admitted it and appologised and this girl had obviously carried this burden for long enough to finally seek justice. Hope he gets it.

  15. alun williams says:

    any news

    • Cedars says:

      Hi Alun. There are no updates on this story as yet (that I’m aware of). Once I learn more I will either update this article or start a new one.

  16. Morgan Judd says:

    I just read your latest article on JWs lying about their shunning policy, well they also lie over their pedophile enabling rules. Numerous times I have heard JW’s say that they are not discouraged from going to the police, that it is not suggested that they inform elders as a substitute to the law.
    They will also blame the abused childs parents for not being vigilant enough,for not acting immediately, for trusting members of “gods clean organisation”
    Yet the WT actively promotes this clean us vs the dirty worldly people propaganda, they refer to themselves as spiritual people implying that all non subscribers are somehow unclean, unfit. They encourage members to feel that they are in a safe haven, an exclusive “family” one that displays true love.
    Yet there are pedophiles within this group? perhaps sitting beside you/them.
    Some are elders who undoubtedly will want to hush up pedophilia and will secretly view it as acceptable.
    Lies the whole organisation is bult upon lies.
    Lie about doctrine, flip flop about all you want WT, but for morality and decency’s sake protect the vulnerable. Stop operating like an abusive uncaring pedophile enabling family.
    Its shameful and illegal.

  17. John Dowzard says:

    Isnt it amazing that Australian media has not picked up on this story? Well anyone who might by now be thinking that JW organisation is actually Satans organisation will not be surprised at all.

  18. John says:

    Cedars why would you play into someones hand like that. lol You know they pulled the old get into the semantics of how it was said in order to smoke screen you off the real issue of what happened. I guess someone needs to open a real life clinic to De-program these Jw’s or more benefical to the x Jw’s. In any event keep up the good work and watch out for the mind games.

  19. Angry says:

    Hi there. I read your comment a year ago and have decided to reply something I’ve never done before. As you know Richard hill I’m assuming you would be aware of others in busselton as well. With out mentioning any name I would like to say that there is another paedophile in the area who molested his step granddaughter for 6 years. He is still an active jw and is in good standing never disfellowshipped. 3 local elders went to Supreme Court in perth and gave character witnesses for him despite the fact there was medical evidence proving his guilt. As there is no extra witness to this crime against a child he has been allowed to stay in the congregation and more children have been put at risk. If you know who I am speaking of and know of any other victims please reply.

  20. Tom says:

    Does anyone have any updates on Richard Hill and his child molestation charge?

  21. jeff canning says:

    I knew Richard hill and his family served in the same cong. when I was a witness. Was surprised to hear about Richard, feel a bit of sorrow for him as he did fess up, sort of…

    Also remember ‘Ted’ who smoked, tried so hard to give them up, so many times but just couldn’t seem to get off the addiction. One night he was caught by wife having a secret puff in the shed, she told elders, they threw him out as he had been warned about how evil smoking was, his son did not invite him to his wedding, his kids would come over but only on the condition he did not eat with them. He had to stay in the shed till they left. He died not long after of a heart attack. I reckon a ‘broken heart’ more likely. Sorry Ted wish you were still with us…

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