Breaking News: Confidential Watchtower Child Sex Abuse Documents Leaked Online

There has been another development in Watchtower’s ongoing child sex abuse scandal; a large number of previously unseen and confidential Watchtower documents have been released online by the non-profit organisation FaithLeaks, which seeks to expose corruption and abuse inside religious organisations.

The 33 documents take the form of a series of letters sent between the Watchtower organisation and  individuals in the Palmer Congregation in Massachusetts. They involve a very serious case of child molestation reported in 1999 and then continue to describe events that take place over the next decade.

Reading through these documents (which have been redacted to protect the identities of all involved) one sees a very disturbing tale come to light; firstly that of awful accusations of child sex abuse from three Witness women towards a Ministerial Servant in their congregation (two of the women were the daughters of the abuser), and the subsequent dreadful mishandling of the situation by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Be warned if you decide to read the documents; they contain material you might find upsetting.

Jennings Brown, Senior Editor and Reporter at the Gizmodo website has published an excellent article summarising the sequence of events described in the letter. Says Brown:

The 69 pages of documents detail how Jehovah’s Witnesses authorities and church officials handled allegations of repeated sexual assault by one of its local leaders. The interviews and detailed notes compiled by church authorities about molestation and rape allegations are horrific. The 33 documents also provide a staggering play-by-play of how the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society—the parent corporation and governing body for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, often simply referred to as “the Watchtower”—handled the case internally over the course of nearly a decade—playing therapist, prosecutor, jury, and judge—and the lengths to which they went to keep these accusations away from the “worldly court of law.”

I highly recommend reading Brown’s article to get a detailed breakdown of what the letters tell us (You can find his article here.) but for those of us who have been following this issue for some time, the underlying sequence of events is sadly familiar. The documents show how the same official Watchtower procedures uncovered during the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse made an already terrible situation into something even worse.

For example, the elders were restricted from taking action due to the two witness rule, a Judicial Committee was called off at one point because the victim could not bring herself to “confront” her father in a religious court setting, and ultimately although events led the abuser being disfellowshipped for a time, he was later re-instated not long after, despite having committed appalling acts of sexual assault upon his own children.

Additionally, the letters reveal how Watchtower mishandled the subsequent situation of an abuse survivor having to live in the same religious community as her attacker, and how they appear to side with the abuser in some instances, especially when the actions of the survivor cause “public embarrassment” to Watchtower, and show an overall eagerness on behalf of Watchtower to keep the matter internal to the faith, and away from “worldly” eyes.

This story is clearly developing and we will endeavour to keep you updated with more details as they come to light, but for now I’d like to end by saying this: Watchtower is trying to draw a worldwide vail of secrecy over these events and policies, and is clearly hoping that the storm will blow over soon.

Thankfully, with organisations like FaithLeaks, with the brave efforts of those who are able to leak such documents to them, and most of all the brave efforts of abuse survivors who stand up and tell their story, this is one storm that Watchtower cannot ignore.

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28 Responses to Breaking News: Confidential Watchtower Child Sex Abuse Documents Leaked Online

  1. Corruption at its finest!

  2. Susan says:

    JW org has a history of trying to look like a clean organization by covering over wrongdoing at the expense of their thousands of victims. Just how many more cases of abuse are there in this heinous organization – most of which were mishandled by uneducated amateurs who never gave a hoot for the victims and only sought to protect themselves? Thank you for exposing yet another time when God’s so-called organization disgustingly showed their wolflike colors.

    • DPL says:

      What’s absolutely frightening is that this would still be happening on an unprecedented scale if it were not for the Internet and the free flow of information!!

  3. I will leave a comment but brother I need a book for my comment. This cult has destroyed many marriages and families.Off the face of the earth they need to go. How can a religion like them exist? Thay must go. ALL THEY DO IS COMPLAIN ABOUT EVERYTHING. wHAT A BUNCH OF LOSERS.

  4. sirius says:

    >>>nearly a decade—playing therapist, prosecutor, jury, and judge

    Nearly fell off my chair. To bring it more into context a JW therapist, JW prosecutor, JW jury, and JW judge. And the worst JW punishment is JW disfellowship and no JW jail time?

    dogstar

  5. Chiafade says:

    No one should be surprised by this. So when is someone going to be locked up? When are properties going to be seized and crippling amounts of money paid out? I’m sorry but $1 million dollars here and there is a drop in the bucket to watchtower. Stories like these remind me of why I take a break from exjw stuff for awhile. It gets really frustrating. Especially when you see how generally Ignorant people are of JW’s and even defend them.

    • imacountrygirl2 says:

      ChiaFade, thank you for your comment. It made me realize that I’ve become disengaged myself for a while now. It just gets so overwhelming when I think about my brother and 2 sisters and how many years we’ve lost. I agree about the frustration.

      BTW I’m 67 years old and I was molested when I was a child by our book study conductor. You would be shocked if the real numbers were ever known.

      It will be a grand day when more media take up the story of cover-up of sexual abuse by the GB and they get exposed for what they have done. Or if more of us had the courage to speak out.

      It destroys me inside to think about on-going abuse still hapening right now.

  6. Jason Evans says:

    It’s hard to put into words just how disgusting and degraded this organisation is. This latest case is just more of the same, and it’s clear they are sitting on thousands more like it and have known about these cases and the failures of their own processes and policies for decades. However, the part of the linked article that most piqued my interest and which excites me is the last paragraph:

    “FaithLeaks plans to release more documents pertaining to the Jehovah’s Witnesses authorities’ handling of other alleged sexual misconduct in the upcoming weeks.”

    I really hope Irwin Zalkin gets the go ahead to open up the dossier he is sitting on, and more of these come to light. Once the dam walls breaks this organisation will go under because they don’t have the financial resources of other religions to survive this scandal. They would have to sell a kingdom Hall for every case that comes against them, and the global congregation would soon wake up as these stories hit the media in increasing numbers and they see their places of worship being sold from under their feet. Bring it on.

    • Deborah Rush says:

      Jason your succinct comments-so appreciated-lead to our Hope of total-Exposures,and therefore the(near!)deathknell,for not just this one,but all institutions continuing to shroud their’ obscene criminal acts…they’re corrupt cold HYPOCRITES..”having a ‘form’of godly devotion but proving false to its power”.Now Newsweek also just ran an Article on this…Great!everybody do your part!Fearlessly reveal! & Thanks for another timely Expose on here,JW Survey!Just wish to God Almighty that all this could have been revealed 40,50..60 yrs ago..so many many thousands of children Hurt,all this time..the Outrage +Anger I feel?Jason,I CAN descibe it:its like wanting to tear these sick pedos(and anyone who’hides’them)apart limb from limb..but slowly,oh so slowly..maybe for years..’don’t worry Pedo,you’ll only suffer a FRACTION of what your victims went through and are still going through’. (Since I’m considered a real Christian,in spirit,word and deed,these feelings are handed over to the Real Judge,Christ..til only the next day)..until justice is done.

  7. Free Thinker says:

    After having worked my way through the documents, to me, this appears to be nothing but a “he said she said” dirty laundry affair. While the main accused may – or may not, or not completely – have done what he is being accused of, one thing is certain:

    To a believing Christian, this entire disgusting affair clearly demonstrates an utter absence of even the least trace of God’s Holy Spirit from this profoundly messy “organization”. Not even a bit, not even a fraction of it can be found operating upon & within this entity of self-styled “Witnesses” and prophets of God. While they believe to be extraordinary and unique, being “the only true ones”, imbued with the unfathomable wisdom of the entire universe, they are just as untidy, as chaotic and as disorganized as any piffling bowling club, any piddling chicken breeding association, any “corrupt worldly” company … Tell me about the discrepancy between pretense and reality.

    Of course, to anyone who is an agnostic or an atheist, this is a moot point.

    • Al Ron says:

      “…appears to be nothing but a ‘he said she said’ dirty laundry affair…the main accused may or may not, or not completely – have done what he is being accused of…”

      The same could be said for the vast majority of child sexual abuse crimes. The elders are untrained and completely inept when attempting to determine the validity of these accusations. Their bumbling and intrusive judicial committees only delay and complicate police investigations into alleged abuses. The Legal Department and the rest of Watchtower leadership are devoted to self-protection by making and slavishly following an array of petty rules with little regard for the harm this brings to the most vulnerable.

  8. Sarah says:

    Another of the most awful problems is that JWs take the side of the abuser which makes matters worse for the abused. This was the last straw (or bales maybe!) for me. Christians are told to abhor what is wicked. I can’t see a God of justice judging that sort of conduct to be good.

    The two witness rule could be good if it was used in context with all the other rules of justice, that is, to investigate thoroughly, check to see if eye-witnesses have their story correct, look at evidence not just what eye-witnesses say, leave criminal matters to the superior authorities. Once again a fundamentalist religious point of view works for harm, not good.

  9. Sarah says:

    Aagh! I’ve just read the review of the letters. What a mess. Elders get removed for informing the police who have the expertise to help the abused. Yet the abuser gets good treatment. This is a topsy turvy way of dealing with stuff. Go to the police. That’s what the Bible says to do. (Romans 13:1-40

  10. outandabout says:

    …..and God watches the whole thing, in fact, knows it’s going to happen, watches and thinks ‘I’m going to get you for that’. Reminds me of when Jesus cured a blind man but didn’t cure blindness.

  11. JM says:

    Did anyone sense “christ’s direction” in ANY of these letter writing contests?

    How many different bodies of elders did the second daughter have to tell her tale to? I lost count.

    Had the “proper authorities” been called then this whining scum would still be in prison. Instead he’s a former village idiot, aka “elder”, who knows the loopholes and is working the system to get away with the crime. Not his “sin”, his CRIME.

    I could give you a list of similar village idiots, aka “elders”, that work the system only because they have used the loopholes for all sorts of vile conduct through the years.

    I think California may get those files now, via a raid by the “Proper Authorities”.

    Stomach turning.

    • JM says:

      And most importantly, my most sincere compassion and hope for recovery goes out to the victims of this crime. I should have typed that first. The strength and courage demonstrated in these letters, BY THE VICTIMS, while not properly respected at all times within the documents, is truly extraordinary.

      May the victims find peace in their recovery and the support of those that truly have compassion for them in or outside of the “organization”.

      • Deborah Rush says:

        JM,I second your salute to these individuals.Indeed they are true Winners!My Love and admiration goes out to them also as you so nobly expressed.

  12. Whip It says:

    How on earth could any person not go to the police over this, it beggers belief, this needs to get out into the mainstream media, please someone, i recall serving as an elder that we had to investigate a brother MS who had moved away, a case that included him trying to take a bath towel of a single mother while he forced his way into the home, then it was alleged that he taught the womans son how to kiss properly, he was an unemployed creep, who moved away, we further uncovered more dirt, at that point he had disappeared, a letter was written to a congo introducing him, this was written by a geriatric elder & no one saw what he had written, i latter instigated the removal of the geriatric elder. as their was no wittnesses to the events we had our hands tied, a few years latter we received a phone call from another congo where they were looking at making him an MS again, we brought up the allegations & said we could not support this, as he had sliped through the cracks his past was hidden, the elder in this congo argued that we were wrong, so we wrote 2 letters one to them & another to the branch, anyway i am in another world now, but this all still makes me so sick & angry, i said the other day to someone, how on earth can i go door knocking & potentially have to face a question from a housholder, i can’t & won’t do that.

  13. MJ says:

    Praise God! There are some with well-trained consciences in the org. Bring the Watchtower to its knees and completely stop donating your funds.

  14. Whip It says:

    MJ, havn’t had a cent from me for a long time

  15. Morris says:

    same here. God Rules book just recently finished with a very prideful part on never soliciting for funds but then a month later they read a letter for all to try and donate $14.00 per publisher for emergency funds. In the end, they can ask all they want but you don’t need to donate ~ especially when it goes to legal fees and lawsuits. I always get asked if they can borrow my tools (leaf blower for cleanup, roof rake for snow removal, etc …). Sorry, take some of the donations and buy what you need. So many nice nice brothers that would give the shirt off their back but just as many snakes.

  16. Whip It says:

    Morris, i saw a few interesting video’s on you tube, about merging & closed congregations, the main point of one of them was the closure of a particular hall & they sold it for a lot of money, whilst they had built another one in a cheaper area, again volunteer labor & money given, the Borg then made a big profit on the sale, multiply by how many are being sold, mmm profits to pay for lawsuits.

    • Morris says:

      All religion is a business. They are pushing very hard to start studies and stop return visits if nothing has come of it after 6 months. Is it really about saving lives or gaining members which in turn could lead to donations, etc …

      Low educated individuals are more apt to donating as they can’t see through the mess and just go along without question. So much for higher education.

      I was not born into the religion and have many friends outside who are religious and great people and if I leave would not have much heartache.

      Very very sad (and prideful) to always state the ‘TRUTH’ as you insinuate others have the lie. Many comments and opinions but yet we are supposed to be a scriptural based religion.

      Always pointing the finger but yet never at themselves. I have some close friends who are elders and we talk and none have been able to answer my question on blood. fractions are allows – they agree. Whole blood is not allowed – a given. well, where you fractions come from? Well, from whole blood. Where does this whole blood come from? Well, from those (non-witnesses) blood donations. I said, aren’t we glad there us donated blood to fraction to get what is allowed. The whole blood isn’t synthetic and not from animals so it comes from humans ~ non JWs.

      We had a public talk and the speaker was so proud to show how open minded we are when he used an example of knocking on a door and the householder mentioned that if they had the truth would we convert. The speaker said we would since we are always looking for truth but then the speaker asked the householder the same question and the householder said they wouldn’t convert. Point being: we are so open minded and they aren’t. I almost went up to the speaker and mentioned we are taught to make disciples and not the other way around. If the JW converted since being so open minded they would be seen as apostate and disfellowshipped. Next time I will approach the speaker.

      More to follow.

  17. JM says:

    Out of curiosity, I went back to Youtube and viewed Geoffrey Jackson’s testimony that was given under oath by video to the Australian Royal Commission.

    He testified under oath that the judicial process does not “judge the victims”.

    Choke in disgust on that lie while reading these letters. They judged testimony insufficient if someone could not be further traumatized by confronting their own father. They judged another victim as not credible because her eyes were closed. They questioned someone’s qualifications to serve as an elder for protecting his wife before their asinine reputation.

    This is evil and their is no higher power in this.

    Only ignorance and guilt.

  18. Julio Martinez says:

    May God (who to me is still Jehovah or YHWH) allow you to continue your work and show that the only ones bringing reproach to His name are the Governing Body of Liars.

    I pray for all these poor innocent victims of the Watchtower. I can’t believe they’ve lied to us. I always had doubts and such but this is the last straw. They’ve brainwashed 8 million sincere people and we are too blind to see the Truth about the Truth. I’m literally in tears and disbelief right now but please do not give up and keep exposing the Watchtower for who they are. False Prophets.

  19. Honest Counselor says:

    The Watchtower Society is in a very desperate situation at the moment as it knows it is dying and that judgment is coming summarily! http://www.watchtowercriminals.blogspot.com

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