Jehovah’s Witness Elders Accused of Playing Rape Recording to Victim
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fullsizeNot a month goes by without fresh media claims about Watchtower’s mishandling of alleged sexual assault.

This past year alone has seen multiple instances where victims brought Watchtower before various courts to face damning evidence that its controversial policies when dealing with assault accusations have failed to protect victims and, in many cases, given de facto sanctuary to attacker. (*Links provided at end of article)

Now, another case has come to light, and this time there is a new and disturbing aspect to this otherwise sadly familiar pattern of events.

The Salt Lake Tribune Newspaper of Utah has published a story by journalist Courtney Tanner about a lawsuit now underway in Utah, where a woman has accused a Jehovah’s Witness in the Roy congregation of Webber County, of raping her on multiple occasions when she was a legal minor between 2007 and 2008.

This story differs from other experiences reported by Jehovah’s Witness abuse survivors. It appears that the alleged abuser recorded his assaults on audio and made these recordings available to the elders.

The woman alleges the elders played these recordings for hours during a judicial committee, at which she was present, and used these recordings of her own rape to prove she had sinned and consented to the rape.

I’ll just let that sink in.

Now, I’ll repeat it.

The elders played a rape survivor an audio recording of her own rape and then accused her, a minor, of giving consent.

Needless to say, the woman is claiming that both, the assaults themselves and the Judicial Committee process that followed, caused her significant physical and emotional harm. As a result, she is suing the congregation firstly for failing to provide sufficient warning about a known sexual predator. Tanner reports that:

A leader from the congregation apparently warned the girl’s parents in November 2006 that the instructor — who previously attended church sessions in Ogden and Oregon — was a “bad kid” who had “engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with a female member of the Clearfield congregation.” The plaintiff says that warning wasn’t enough.

The second part of the woman’s claim relates to the emotional injuries that she claims the elders inflicted by subjecting her to the audio recordings of her own assault in an attempt to discredit her accusations.

Untrained, Unskilled, and Unaccountable

questionThis lawsuit highlights a number of ongoing problems in how Watchtower deals with these cases.

The first and most obvious of these problems is Watchtower’s well-documented and extremely controversial stance on not automatically warning parents in a congregation if one of their members has a history of sexual violence towards children. This policy has been shown, time and again, to generate nothing but more victims as it leaves parents unaware of the danger. Whilst the plaintiff states she was warned that her attacker “engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with a female member of the Clearfield congregation,” one can easily see how such a warning would not actually communicate the danger she was in. For Witnesses, “inappropriate sexual behaviour” could simply mean consensual kissing between unmarried adults, and hardly brings to mind the danger of sexual assault.

The second is that, up until very recently, Watchtower refused to state that men convicted of child molestation could never be appointed to a position of authority. Instead, they leave a loophole in the wording of their policies that potentially allows this to happen if enough time, as deemed by them, had passed and if the accused showed sufficient repentance. The plaintive claims that her attacker was an “instructor” in the congregation. It is not clear what this title implies, and some readers have contacted JW Survey to contest the claim that her attacker was an Elder or a Ministerial Servant. Yet even if this man turns out not to have been an appointed man, the fact remains that many confirmed accounts of appointed men engaging in child abuse are on record.

While it is true that Watchtower has toughened its language on this point in recent months, (seemingly due to external pressure rather than internally driven concern) the new rules only apply to those seeking appointment. Watchtower has not yet said anything about elders already appointed with a known history of molestation. They are apparently free to continue in their position of authority and responsibility by the sheer luck of being appointed before Watchtower was forced to crack down.

The third problem occurs when an organization, like Watchtower, tries to take over the responsibilities and duties best left in the realm of judicial service and law enforcement. In a proper court of law, in any civilized nation, the situation described by the woman would be handled in a very different way. Skilled legal professionals would be designated to represent the defendant and the accused, and an experienced Judge would be appointed to oversee proceedings that would have public accountability. Any evidence, such as an audio recording of an alleged rape, would be presented and handled in a sensitive way. By doing so, this would give the defense a chance to fully respond to the evidence without putting the alleged victim through unnecessary, further trauma. Cross-examination would be done under the close supervision of the skilled and experienced judge, and, throughout the entire process, the victim would have access to professional support services.

In short, a child molestation trial and the handling of the evidence would be undertaken by people who know what they are doing: trained professionals.

By contrast, Watchtower Judicial Committees formed to deal with accusations of child rape are staffed and run by men with no professional training nor any accountability. The elder who sits down before you and starts interrogating you about quite possibly the worst moment of your life, likely has no more idea of how to effectively handle the matter than you do and is liable to no one other than Watchtower. Little wonder that one such survivor, describing her experiences before the Australian Royal Commission in Case Study 29, stated that the process of a police investigation and three court trials was still less of an ordeal than the process of a Jehovah’s Witness Judicial Committee.

Sadly, it appears that Watchtower has very little interest in substantially altering its head-in-the-sand attitude to this problem, as demonstrated by a recently leaked letter to the Spanish congregations, which we will cover in the near future.

(Updated 10/11/16 to reflect feedback.)

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**LINKS TO PREVIOUS ARTICLES ABOUT VARIOUS COURT CASES AGAINST WATCHTOWER:

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77 Responses to Jehovah’s Witness Elders Accused of Playing Rape Recording to Victim

  1. caltanzee says:

    I’m not supprised at all that such a disgusting thing such as this can occur within the confines of the watchtower kangaroo tribunals of idiots and pomous dummies.Men who are completely delusional.who has elevated themselves even above christ.And by the way.One of the reasons i quit this organization three years ago after some 45years is due to pompus idiocy of crooked elders who din’t even know scriptures or scriptural precedents but only reference to watchtower proceedures that more than not ran counter to the scriptures.The elder arrangements are nothing more than a rackerteering lynch mob.

    • Ricardo says:

      @caltanzee,
      The elder arrangement and implementation has been given to us by the GB. There is serious problems in the implementation of the elder arrangement which the GB could easily rectify. It is not a scriptural problem; the scriptures do not instruct how the arrangement should be implemented. That has been decided by the GB. After 45 years of faulty implementation, still the GB refuses to fix it.

      Thus, all blame, all fault, must be directed to the GB. The GB have trained the elders to be bullies, but have forgotten to train them how to love. As such the elders are good witnesses, but poor Christians.

      And this is a spiritual paradise? Where’s the door, let me out.

  2. Never a JW again says:

    What I want to know is, what has been done about this man? Is he in prison? Have these tapes been used to put him away? Was he DF’d from the cong? It appears that for him to have made these tapes was acceptable to these Elders and they used them to try to get the victim to admit to sin, but not to judge the man who did this? Where is this man now? Is he free to roam in another congregation? How many times did these Elders listen to this tape as voyeurs? This makes me so very angry!

    • Skittles says:

      I know all the people involved in this experience. The elders handled the issue plain wrong. The girl was underage and it shouldn’t have mattered whether or not she “consented” because underaged girl can’t ever legally consent.

      However, he was not appointed and he was not considered exemplary in any way. Maybe he gave a bible reading at one point but I, and my peers never looked at him as “good association.” Even the article says that the family was warned of the boy before any sex happened. The family is grasping at straws by calling him an instructor in the lawsuit.

      And to answer your question, he is not active

      • Covert Fade says:

        Hi Skittles. Thanks for contacting us about this. If you can email further details to our contact account we can discuss this further. I’m sure you will understand that we will need to verify what you’ve said and will need to discuss this in more detail if we are to contradict what has been reported in the news.

        Can I ask you though, do you think the girl is entitled to compensation? You say the family is grasping at straws. That would seem to imply that even though she was played a recording of her rape by the elders, who tried to use it to disprove her accusation of child sexual assault, she is not entitled to any compensation for that?

        • Skittles says:

          Sure, I’d be happy to as long as my info is kept confidential and not shared with anyone outside of jwsurvey.org.

          I do not believe she is due compensation. The perpetrator was not facilitated by the congregation. The elders acted in a boneheaded way. But it would be ridiculous to expect the elders, congregation, or the organization to be responsible for every boneheaded act. IMO, it does make a difference whether or not this girl was brutally raped against her will or raped under statutory laws. The boy was an adult by law, but barely.

          Again, the elders were extremely wrong to try and adjudicated consent since she was underage but I know that I would never want ANYONE wrongly accusing me of a brutal rape.

          Also, the boy is a creep. He always gave me the creeps. He had a history and the family was warned. So yes, adroitly calling him an “instructor” is a very slimy way of trying to give him more clout in the congregation than deserved. Just look at your article, you ran with the very tricky word play of the lawsuit and article and went off on him either being an elder or MS. Why wouldn’t any ew-JW use the proper terms in their lawsuit? Because saying that he was an instructor (which he was not) and that he had control over younger ones (which he did not) sounds better than saying he was a creepy teenager that no one liked.

          I wonder if you read the article because even the article says that the elders warned the family of the guys recent sexual improprieties. That alone should have raised the red flag that he was likely not an appointed man. Dave, who commented, was an elder. He knew the details.

          And this is tangential… this is the problem with people today. Just because we “woke up” doesn’t mean we are immune to confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. I have found 2 cases on JWnet where there are people that I knew personally and they are absolutely lying in their posts about their personal history. If we just want to commiserate that’s fine but call it was it is. I believe this website wants try and be accurate and ethical but let’s not confuse cynicism for skepticism. This is why so many people hold false truths about EVERYTHING. We need to always exercise critical thinking

          • ROBIN MILLER says:

            VERY INTERESTING. I APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENTS. THERE ARE PROBABLY MANY PEOPLE WHO LIE ON THESE WEBSITES.

          • Covert Fade says:

            So ,to clarify, you don’t feel that playing a rape victim back a recording of their own rape might needlessly upset them further?

          • Winston Smith says:

            The fact that the man recorded their sexual contact (apparently without consent) shows he was deviant. The fact that the elders forced her to listen to it is a form of abuse and their entire mishandling of the case is a form of criminal negligence.

            The elders should not be held responsible for “every boneheaded act”??? They claim they are appointed by God, they discourage members from contacting the authorities in cases of abuse, then they add to emotional scarring the way the handle it. They are absolutely responsible the minute they started playing God. To excuse them is a serious miscarry of justice.

            Had this issue been immediately reported to the authorities when it became known, it would have been better for EVERYONE involved. I have sat in those elders meetings and committees. They are totally incapable of handling these matters, completely incompetent.

            WS

          • Skittles says:

            I have said my comments and I stick by them. The article is now heavily edited from the original and doesn’t even note that. Also, saying, “Yet even if this man turns out not to have been an appointed man, the fact remains that many confirmed accounts of appointed men engaging in child abuse are on record” doesn’t give you a pass for completely missing the facts in your first write up.

            I believe that it is sloppy reporting. I don’t believe this website is exactly journalism but I do believe that the editors do have some standards for what they report

            And to Winston’s points, they claim to be appointed by god but we know they are just men. So of course they’re going to make mistakes just like the fact that most of them are actually good guys that are just trying to do what they think is right.

          • Covert Fade says:

            Skittles:

            1: You appear to have posted before I was finished with all my updates.

            2: The phrase I actually used was “sufficient warning.” I think that accurately describes the situation outlined in the linked article (which I linked and encouraged people to read).

            When warned that someone has engaged in “sexual misconduct” in JW world, that can mean anything from a kiss to consensual adult sex. It does not automatically imply a rape risk.

            3: Due to the uncertainty implied by the phrase, “instructor” I have updated the article to reflect the uncertainty.

            4: You haven’t actually provided any evidence to contradict the newspaper report itself in terms of this person’s position or the conduct of the elders, or any other events.

            You can claim anything you like about the situation, but without evidence we can verify, you’re just a voice on the internet. Send us some actual verifiable evidence we can check. To do otherwise would be a violation of basic journalistic practice, and I’m sure you would not want us to do that.

          • Eric says:

            I simply say Jehovah will deal with this mob inn a manner he deems fit..

        • Winston Smith says:

          I agree with your comments Telescopium, but I also want to point out that whether he was or was not an appointed man is immaterial. It is not the elders’ place to determine whether the girl was raped or not. It is a matter for the legal system.

          As we have learned in recent years, rape can involve so much more than the aggressive knife-to-the-throat attack that often comes to mind. It often involves coercion and other methods of control, but it is still rape. It is well beyond the elder’s compentency, with their ‘did she cry out’ policies, to determine the facts of such a case and to render the necessary aid. It should be reported to the authorities and in failing to do so they became liable.

          WS

        • Telescopium says:

          Totally agree with you Winston.

          In that case, another point of discussion about this news report is that the man apparently has not been charged with a crime and it’s unclear if any report to the police was ever made.

          I know that victims of sexual assualt need to know they’ll be listened to and believed. It’s critical for the healing process – the ARC was very specific on that point. But I’m not so naive as to believe that everyone tells the truth. And when money is thrown into the mix, then everyone had better be darn sure that it’s “truth” that’s being spoken.

          Which brings us full circle: Take it to the police and let them do their job! Will the Organization ever learn?!?

        • Miju says:

          Skittles, you are misleading people. Be careful with your little knowledg on the case. Your attempt to minimize JW elders’ uncivilized criminal behaviors is telling. You have tried to misled the readers and discredited the report on the Salt Lake Tribune as well. You are an imposter

  3. sirius says:

    Simply disgusting using fear and intimidation targeting victims.

    IMHO

    dogstar

  4. Will says:

    This is incredibly sad. I cannot even imagine what this woman went through. I hope she’s getting help. These problems just seem to be getting worse, but not really. People are feeling more empowered now to speak up and WT needs to be held accountable.

  5. Ruthlee says:

    As you pointed out CF it is the lack of accountability that is an open unhealing sore on the face of Watchtower. Their collective conscience is seared and scarred to the point now that policy or not they are behaving worse than the nations. The judicial system we are under in society makes no claim to be from God, but the watchtower insists that it is the only appointed channel from god Any man in his right mind would not put a woman through such a trauma. When satan enters the picture he sure does steal and destroy. That poor girl . She has been robbed and those wicked elders were out to destroy what little dignity she had left. If you think about it all this kangaroo court is for the sole purpose of keeping the jdubs going door to door and keeping up the façade It truly is a spectacular error on the societies part to play God. Won’t wanna be around when the axe falls on their head.No longer serving the crooked Brooklyn set, Ruthlee

  6. Chiafade says:

    The delusion of the men in this organization cannot be over emphasised. They believe that their training in the cult qualifies them to act as judges, attorneys, medical professionals, even scientists. After all “the Bible completely equips us for EVERY good work”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard an elder say that.
    I remember an elder I went to mts with tell me “if you thoroughly study the Bible there is no law career a witness isn’t qualified to do”. The last statement says it all. If you study the Bible with watchtower indoctrination you are basically a qualified paralegal or lawyer. That is the mindset of most of the men who sit on these committees. You can’t commit such brazen acts without a healthy measure of self importance and arrogance.

    Furthermore the organization would completely disavow the actions of these men. The org will say “well they acted on their own WE didn’t instruct them to do that”. Trying to completely distance themselves from the situation. Even though their policies help create such tragedies. This story is incredibly disturbing and heartbreaking.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      @Chifade. I remember several years ago I was talking with an Elder and disagreeing about the WT position on Going to college. I was maybe in my early 30’s. He told me if we read every article in the Awake magazine we will get our own college education! He was serious. I will admit I did and do enjoy many of the articles in the Awake that are neutral and informative but to say they are equal to a college education is just nonsense. In fact there are several studies done that show out of all the “MAJOR” religions in the USA the JW’s are at the very Bottom of the list as far as education and income are concerned. It just shows that education and Income are connected. The JW”s are not psychologists, nor social workers nor educated in how to help victims of abuse. They have no proper training. They are just YES men for the WT and are instructed to ONLY obey and do what they are told.

      • Telescopium says:

        PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER:
        So, you tell me that you have a college education? What was your degree in?

        PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEE:
        Well, I don’t actually have a degree. But I have read every single Awake magazine! They’re well researched and quite informative, you know.

        PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER:
        Get out of my office.

        • Big B says:

          Too funny Telescopium, but a fact non the less.

          A bachelors degree gets you in front of the interviewer for employment. I don’t care how much “experience” or how “well read” you are; if the box under employment is not checked with at least a bachelors degree completed then your resume is sent to file 13 (the waste basket). This holds true for professional and governmental positions.

          This is why I completed my bachelors degree at the age of 54 (in 2006) which enabled me to apply for government employment with my years of experience and education thus landing a job that paid me an extra $15,000 U.S. dollars a year.

          I enjoyed the campus experience greatly and made many new friends. Oh, for those J.dubs who believe that providing for yourself and your family is making you “a tool of the Devil” well, lets see the faithful and discreet slave help defray your cost of living when you lose your job by being replaced by a college graduate. Enough said.

        • Alexander the Great says:

          Our BOE’s are made up of educated individuals, Engineers, IT Experts, Interior Designers and one of them is company’s CEO. Imagine the feeling when they are in the flatform discouraging the congregation to get higher education.

          • Winston Smith says:

            Oh the hypocrisy. “Hey kids, don’t go to college, you can find work as window washers and toilet scrubbers. In the meantime we will sit back and make the big bucks, but not you, otherwise we will mark you as materialistic.”

            Those ‘fat cats’ should all quit their high paying jobs and become pioneers based on the advice from the “slave.”

            I remember the bethel speakers who would come to the assemblies and conventions and dump all over college in their talks from the platform. And I’d sit there and think, “yeah pal, the fact that I went to college and give my financial support is the only reason you are in your position and get free room, board, healthcare, etc.” Eventually, I withdrew my financial support.

            WS

      • JBob says:

        I keep coming back to this as a foundation, because there are some Millennials out there who feel they can skip formal education for a skillset and luck themselves into becoming the next .com Billionaire. And, while scores of individuals have become wealthy without a college degree, for the other 99.9% not having one is sure way to be the bottom foundation of the pyramid not only of wealth but society in general.

        Fill up your cup and out of its abundance you have more to offer to the world not only in wealth but personal development and experience.

  7. Twmack says:

    Rape is one of the most serious crimes in the book.
    To become a criminal lawyer qualified to try such cases
    takes at least 7 years study, – 4 years on an undergrad,
    course then 3 years in law school. But before they can
    practice, they must pass the bar exam which tests their
    qualifications and competence, and to become a judge
    can take up to twice as long.

    What audacity then, what presumption from this org,
    allowing bricklayers, joiners, window washers etc,
    to conduct trials and make judgements in such serious
    matters. And leading them to believe they are qualified
    to do so.

    On the elders course at Mill Hill Bethel the class was told.
    The judicial system in the congregation was a theocratic
    arrangement and therefore superior to the worldly courts.

    As a former elder and window washer I can assure anyone,
    that, that claim is delusional none sense.

  8. Dave says:

    Hi Jw Survey

    This story is substantially, true but much of the details are incorrect. This young woman is my daughter. My wife and I were present for this hearing.

    • Lesley Mitchell says:

      I am truly sorry to hear about your daughter’s ordeal and I pray she will receive justice and that the good Lord will heal her.

    • Cedars says:

      Hello Dave, thank you for reaching out to us. Would it be possible for you to email us using the address provided on our “Contact Us” page? We would very much like to hear from you and, of course, we would be more than willing to make any corrections to this article that are needed.

    • Ruthlee says:

      Sorry Dave,wife and dear daughter. Truly sorry for your ordeal. Ruthlee

    • Tara says:

      Dave, I really do not know what to say. I was raped at 15. I was not a witness then. My heart goes out to your daughter, yourself and your wife and any other family member who have been effected by this. The love and compassion on JW Survey for victims of the WT is beyond compare. You will be in my thoughts x

  9. Free Thinker says:

    Salt Lake Tribune in Utah? Now, THAT story should give a boost to the Mormonfolk. I suggest to have the LDS gobble up all those JW.-congregations. Or all JW.-congregations all across the U.S.A. Plus the JW.Org itself. What’s the difference? None! Simply integrate the 7 JW.Org-CEOs into the LDS’ “Quorum of the 12”, or their “Quorum of the 70”; since their “Prophet” Monson will soon go to Celestia to populate 10000000000000 planets across space with his heavenly birthing machine-queen, make AntMo3 their replacement “Prophet” – OUCH! That never ain’t working, bec. contrary to AntMo3, LettTheFace, SamTheHerd …, the Mormon leaders actually do have some kind of class, they come across as articulated and educated. So, I am really not sure whether the Mormons would want to lower their level by incorporating anything from JW.Org. Who in his sound mind would want to ingest rotten stuff? it only brings you down, so nah – spare the poor Joseph Smith-folk this disgrace of having to tarnish themselves with all this refuse coming from the JW.Org. Watchtower is going full steam ahead into decomposition, so let’s just nature take its path. No further action necessary.

    • Holy Connoli says:

      @freethinker. One thing about the Mormons is at least most of them are educated and go to college and many are professionals and well spoken. All the Mormons I have ever known are pretty smart and encourage going to college and personal training and physical activity. As far as their religion goes they do have some pretty CRAZY whacko Ideas and are cultish and shun like the JW”s but not as bad. Another thing they do is they help others that are not Mormons in emergencies. The WT only does a minute amount of that and mostly so the newspapers can give them good writings etc.In my opinion it is not out of real love bc they always want something special written about them for doing it.The Wt does not have a emergency fund to help outsiders. Most all religions officially help the hungry, homeless, sick etc but not the WT.

      • Becky Drees says:

        Courts in Utah have seen a lot of child sex abuse cases coming out of Warren Jeff’s fundie lds and similar cults. Such as 14 yr old girl forced to marry a much older uncle. Mainstream society (including lds) in Utah has been very motivated to prosecute these crimes– hopefully a sign that justice will be served here!

  10. Hillary says:

    This story brings tears to my eyes. How utterly deplorable are the actions of the elders. I wish “Dave”, who claimed to be the father, would have cleared up what was wrong in the article because we are all reacting to CV’s article and the news story and apparently not the whole truth.

    This crazy train of elders can’t avoid being driven into the looming ground by their actions and the call to action that has been taking place all over the world. It’s made it to Dateline before (a US news “magazine” show that focuses on the tragic), I think it’s time for another national broadcast to malign these nefarious men. People in the news world are no doubt aware of this situation. What are they waiting for? Possibly more wins in court? I don’t know how many of these trials have been lost to Watchtower and their probably worldly lawyers. I think more losses for them will create a news stir. Just accusations aren’t as effective.

  11. ScotWm says:

    The Salt Lake Tribune has this to say about the underage girl who was raped by a JW instructor: “She’s asking for a jury trial, as well as damages to exceed $300,000 to cover medical care, lawyer fees and general damages.” My guess is that Watchtower Corporation lawyers would settle out of court for this amount if they could. Apparently, this initial amount has the potential of becoming a multi-million dollar judgment.

    Based on previous experiences, Watchtower lawyers will harrass the plaintiff, delay discovery and lie. If this case results in a multi-million dollar judgment, they will appeal the decision, thus delaying payment for several years. Upon appeal, Watchtower Corporation leaders will be absolved of any guilt in this rape case causing the judgment to be drastically reduced and distributed among the local elders and the rapist.

    However, previous legal settlements cannot be relied upon to predict the outcome of future court cases. Now that the Watchtower Corporation is being continually bombarded with pedophile lawsuits, the courts may begin taking a less lenient stance on these Watchtower crimes.

  12. fadingtruth says:

    Are we 100% sure of this? I have a hard time to believe it. Let us not forget how easy may be today to accuse the organization for criminal negligence to get money in legal settlement. Before we launch in judging the whole story as true, we better wait for more news. My impression is that something here smells strange.
    It goes without saying that the behavior of the organization opens the door to any kind of possible extortion

    • Telescopium says:

      I would have to agree with you FadingTruth.

      If the elders were using the recording to prove that the situation was consensual, they must have felt there was some “gotcha” information that the girl wouldn’t be able to refute.

      Of course, as noted by Raymond Fritz O’Connor below, there’s still a whole ton of stuff that appears to be VERY illegal. The answer, as it always seems to be, is to turn everything over to the police and let them do the job they’re trained for.

  13. Lesley Mitchell says:

    “Untrained, Unskilled, and Unaccountable”

    I hope that heading relates to the Jehovah’s Witness Governing Body and Elders and not to the Christian web site that uses the same image for it’s official web site.

    From a member of the Christian web site (using that same image) who is trained, skilled and accountable.

    • John Redwood says:

      Dear Lesley

      Please be assured that the image represents our commentary on Jehovah’s Witnesses and their ongoing issues in many areas. We were not aware that this photo was used by another Christian web site, and in no way does JW Survey endorse any criticism of your faith. The photo has been used widely to represent indecision and many other related concepts. It is very likely that your faith used this photo just as we have to represent a particular concept.

      We thank you for your comment and we are quite certain that you are skilled, trained and accountable. It is our wish that one day, persons of all beliefs and faiths have equal access to education and skills which add so much to the fabric of our international society.

      Sincerely,

      JR

      • Lesley Mitchell says:

        Good to know, John. I appreciate that image is not privately owned – and it’s rather good. I think the seven men who head up the Governing Body need to do a whole lot more than scratch their heads, though. They need to be made to stop shielding known pedophiles and to start protecting vulnerable people from sexual predators.

  14. Paul says:

    Irrespective of the facts or details being incorrect, the one fact that we all know (as a past elder I have some knowledge of judicial committees) is that the processes and training that Watchtower use are woefully inadequate, antiquated and damaging. The more exposure that these harmful practises get, the sooner they will be forced to improve them. They need scrutiny to force them to change because there is zero interest in change from those at the top.

  15. Raymond Fritz O'Connor says:

    So, so, so, confused….

    Providing/displaying/playing pornography to a minor.
    Accessory to the creation and distribution of child pornography.
    Possession of child pornography.
    Harboring a known criminal.
    Child abuse.
    Contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
    Neglect of a minor.
    Being stupid (yea, it’s allowed, but it shouldn’t be)

    I know that these are not the actual charges these elders would face, but most governments have charges that handle similar crimes and I am more than certain the list would go on and on and on. These elders need to go to prison. This is beyond comprehension.

  16. al etheredge says:

    Let me get this straight. A Witness sexually assaulted an underage girl (under 16 years of age in Utah) and made an audio recording of the event? For what purpose? Did he post the video to YouTube? This is disgusting on so many levels.

    • Telescopium says:

      And then used it to defend himself in front of a Judicial Committee!

      “Well, you see, I got this porn tape here. I’m sure you’ll agree that it proves my innocence.”

    • Tara says:

      Thank you! I was hoping someone would pick up on this aspect of it. This perv. recorded his sex session. Even if it turned out to be consensual, did the young lady know she was being recorded? That in itself is a crime is it not? Then to present it to the elders as evidence against her! Entrapment much? This is making my physically sick. I have a large notice on my front door telling the elders to politely push off. They still keep knocking on my daughters door with their ‘living in the last days – come back to us’ crap. Oh but they wait until my non witness son in law is away before they do it.

      • JBob says:

        It is not illegal to record or video in Utah since it was between two private parties with one participant aware of the recording. But if the recording was made to further harass or extort, Utah law could deem the surveillance as criminal offence. Also, Utah has a close in age exemption for age of consent, so 16yo with up to 23yo is not automatically statutory rape if no reasonable knowledge of minor’s age.

        There is much unknown here that secular investigation could reveal–was there a long term exchange of texting or phone calls to lure the minor etc etc, which JudComm uncovers only through the willingness of the attendees. But, that is where the mind control kicks in where persons willingly incriminate themselves in the JudComm.

  17. FactsNotFiction says:

    I know of someone who went through a ‘Judicial Committee’ as an Adult. She said it was the most degrading, humiliating and insulting thing that ever happened to her. She says she would rather go through child birth 10 times than go through another JC. It has scarred her mentally for the rest of her life.

    I would not want us to go on a Witch hunt again here without the full facts, but…..

    Regardless of the details that led to the JC in the first place, what those Elders did, by using their authority (I don’t suppose she was given much choice), to extract a confession from a young girl, a ‘minor’, by playing back sexual content that involved the young girl herself, in front of her parents!!! This is stuff of nightmares!!. How would a young person ever recover from that! If this is true it was wrong on every level possible. It must surely be Illegal!. I hope she is successful in her case and more importantly, I hope she is getting the support she needs and I hope at some point she can leave it behind and move on.

  18. Chantal says:

    If the girl is a minor, is the adult male perp still legally guilty of statutory rape, concensual or not? And as previous commemtor said, isnt the Judicial Committe (aka Kangaroo Court) guilty of harboring a criminal, or not reporting criminal activity?

    • Big B says:

      @ Chantal:

      In answer to both of your questions; yes, if the girl is under the age of 18 it is considered statutory rape. Consensual sex cannot apply to a minor and yes, the Judicial Committee is harboring a criminal but they will never report criminal activity as the Watchtower thinks it has the same confessional privileges as the clergy in the Catholic Church. Thus the child molestation crisis in Kingdom Halls and court cases worldwide.

  19. Twmack says:

    It’s important to this organisation to present a pristine
    image both to its followers and those outside, therefore
    secrecy is of the utmost importance to them.

    Details of judicial hearings are not revealed to the cong,
    even if it involves a disfellowshipping, and definitely
    no recording devices are permitted during the procedure.
    Flock book p 90.

    This is all very well, in say, a case of smoking or that of
    a young couple allowing passion to take over. But when
    it involves a cunning and dangerous predator preying
    on vulnerable people, they need exposing.

    Surely the protection of the young takes precedence over
    that of presenting a whitewashed image!

  20. T Bundy says:

    Some facts the way “rape” can be assessed in the 50 States, for those outside USA.

    Age of consent – Utah, I think someone above said 16yo.
    Even if a minor (underage) female [usually there’s two different ages of consent one for males and one for females] appears to agree to intercourse or intimacy, if the participant is underage (a minor), it is “statutory rape” and can be prosecuted.

    As far as I know, the Watchtower doesn’t make allowances for minor versus adult, even as we see the recent “demands” for children to be baptized.

    Audio recordings and video recordings of phone or in-person conversations can be legally done as long as one of the participants consents, but the State of Utah adds a twist–if the purpose is not for tort or criminal intent. All details are not in the newspaper article or here, so it seems the minor was not aware of the recording and it was played as “proof”.

    Even so, this ignores the dynamics of molesters and rapist in manipulating minors and prey to “agree” to exploitation. As others highlighted, in a secular court, even arbitration, experts would counter to accusers. And, this is the bizarre thing, the accusers are the elders not the attacker, and sometimes turn on the victim.

    I feel fortunate that my life never had to take a turn toward the auspicious body of elders review but that’s the life of a psychopath.

  21. Twmack says:

    This sleazy Jehovah’s Witness instructor is abominable.
    Only the worst kind of human being could sexually attack
    a child and make a recording of his disgusting act.

    For what purpose was this recording made ? To produce
    evidence of the victims consent ? I don’t think so, such
    people are so arrogant they don’t think they will ever be
    caught.

    More than likely it was to force the young girl into silence,
    or to replay for his own warped gratification, which is
    typical with this kind of individual.

    Then he draws a bunch of inept chuckleheads into
    playing the recording over and over, why did they do it ?
    As a minor the victims consent was irrelevant, this they
    should have been made aware of, especially in view of
    the number of such offences occurring in their religion.

    Will they never learn, they are out of their depth, it’s the
    laws business, not theirs.

  22. outandabout says:

    ….and it all happened while Jehovah the Loving and Compassionate looked on and admired the fruits of his Wise and Correct Word.

    In The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Wed, May 19th, 1943, page 2, Fred Franz gave sworn testimony before Supreme Court Justice Ughetta and a jury that Jehovah God is the editor of the Watch Tower magazine.

    Given that the truth never changes………….

  23. dee2 says:

    This is related to the last article – got it from another exJW forum:

    Canadian current and former JWs questioning the blood issue:

    https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/5719850062184448/canadian-current-former-jws-questioning-blood-issue

  24. outandabout says:

    …and whilst looking at that, Dee, I noticed in ‘Changed Teachings of WT’, a word from Russell while discussing evolution, he said ‘man was a direct and perfect creation, made in the mental and moral image of his Creator’….

    ….so all this time I’ve been thinking we were imperfect guilt ridden scum incapable of making a sound decision without WT’s help, I’ve been just as perfect as Jehovah himself? The whole of Humanity has?

    ‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’

  25. Hakizimana Jado says:

    Who can study the Bible and be sound of mind? In one report one can read: “For some necrophiliacs, the perversion is a reflection of religious fanatism. Justification for their delusional, irrational behavior is often ‘found in the commands of the lord, which reached them in clear language ordering the brutal violation.” ( https://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/Rwanda.htm )!

  26. Hakizimana Jado says:

    Sorry, on my previous comment, the link to “For some necrophiliacs, the perversion is a reflection of religious fanatism. Justification for their delusional, irrational behavior is often ‘found in the commands of the lord, which reached them in clear language ordering the brutal violation.” is https://books.google.rw/books?id=FSNB0G7f4CsC&pg=PA110&lpg=PA110&dq=necrophiliacs+religious+fanaticism&source=bl&ots=vsARjhcf8a&sig=uhLSFj95kQOQjWr4YTQFYgRv60I&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwje1a-7roXQAhWClxoKHd3gAV0Q6AEIHTAA#v=onepage&q=necrophiliacs%20religious%20fanaticism&f=false not https://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/Rwanda.htm

  27. John Peters says:

    So all these elders are allowed to continue to serve??
    You can do anything as long as you follow orders and don’t question the bethel.
    I believe in Jehovah and his hope for the future but there is something Very corrupted about this organisation. Jehovah abanded the nation of Isreal and chose others in the past. He will do it again. When they turn against his people his doesn’t want this because they hid child abuse or covered over corruption. He wants it because they are doing what is right. Be prepared to stand before Jehovah as an individual. You can’t say I was following orders when you are asked why you did what your conscience knew was wrong.

    • ROBIN MILLER says:

      You seem the most reasonable on this.

    • Ricardo says:

      @John Peters,

      Yes, the elders can get away with murder. As can the Governing Body. Do you see the Governing Body doing anything to rectify their faulty implementation of the elder arrangement, or fix their unscripturally based judicial committee system?

      I recently heard of one case where the elders forged a letter from the Governing Body to get a brother to stop searching for justice. All three are still serving. Lying is no problem.

      But for the rank-and-file members, don’t the elders come down hard! I had to wait 1 year to qualify to auxilliary pioneer because I had a negative attitude toward the elders.

      Then, when at last I could pioneer, after 1 year the elders wanted me to step down cos I only got 839 hours in for the year, 1 hour too low. Then they yelled at me because I said I would appeal (I won the appeal).

      Our elders are bullies who have forgotten how to love.

  28. Vidiot says:

    Once again, I find myself incredulously asking: “are they crazy, or just plain stupid?”

  29. John says:

    I take issue with this statement:
    “The second is that, up until very recently, Watchtower refused to state that men convicted of child molestation could never be appointed to a position of authority. ”
    The WT still does not categorically say that a known child abuser cannot be used in a position of responsibility.
    Please show me otherwise; their most recent statements on this allow it, stating ‘it cannot be ruled out’.

    • Vidiot says:

      Maybe if they DID disqualify sex offenders – “known” or otherwise – they’d run short of willing / qualified guys to run the Org at the grassroots level.

  30. Big B says:

    This informative article is disturbing on so many counts it’s hard to phantom.

    This case, along with so many others, proves that the WTBTS is on the lunatic fringe of religious cults along with “Moonies”, “Scientology”, serpent handlers and other wacko doomsday naysayers.

    Their misinterpretation of scripture has led to their not being recognized as anything but a “cult” and the more that fact is pointed out to them of their hypocrisy and scriptural stupidity the more they ‘circle the wagons’ and dig in.

    Refusal by the rank and file to do any critical research due to FOG (fear, obligation & guilt) is responsible for most, if not all, of their major problems. Which, in turn, goes back to a lack of higher education. Hapless elders chosen (appointed) by other hapless individuals, whose major qualification is based on leadership and time spent proselytizing (cold calling) in the field ministry should not give anyone confidence in their scriptural knowledge of Biblical doctrine. Sales ability maybe, but knowledge not so much.

    Thus the ever increasing reports of the instability within the congregations led by untrained shepherds herding simple sheep into disillusionment disguised as ‘The Truth’. And they seriously believe that they are guided by Jehovah God’s Holy Spirit?
    Really?

  31. Whip It says:

    A number of years ago i was summoned into the back room in regards to my 14 year old daughters activity, a friend of hers had posted a picture on line of them selves wearing bikini’s in front of a mirror, i was tipped of, so when they produced the picture from a bag i knew it was coming, i pushed it back at them & said i wouldn’t want to be on possession of that, as its child exploitation material, funny watching them react, i should have called the cops, real scumbags

  32. Skittles says:

    I would like to point out one more time that the writer of this story took huge liberties with the details of the sltrib write up. I have emailed jwsurvey and offered them further details if they promise to keep my info private. I have not heard back but even the father of the girl that commented on this story has said that there are some problems with the facts.

    • Covert Fade says:

      Hi Skittles.
      I’ve not yet received your email but we have been having some problems with our email due to a server migration so could you please resend?

      I am happy to keep your details private, but keep in mind we will have to be able to verify the facts you send if we are to act on them.

      Many Thanks

  33. outandabout says:

    Responding to Robin Miller’s earlier comment about the possibility of people lying on this site…I agree there is definitely a chance for someone to exaggerate. It would depend on a persons personality type and the nature of their real or imagined grievance.
    But if a person were to read every article and comment on this and other similar sites and then conclude that the Watchtower is a fine organisation then that person would be in serious denial.
    If exaggeration and straight faced lying is your bag….then Watchtower is the place for you. The thing about any exaggeration on this site is it’s not leading to the rape and cover-up of many thousands of children and then hiding their their abusers, nor the overseeing of the continued killing of readers for the purpose of keeping a scam under wraps in order to hold onto a mega fortune.
    This site shows heart, while the WT corporation, like most big business, is showing it has none.
    Grievances expressed on this site don’t just appear from thin air.

  34. Dave says:

    Some informtion you all might be interested in. About a year later this young woman was reinstated. A police report was filed and eventually CPS was alerted. They investigated and interviewed the elders and the parents. They found that the parents were just trying to make sure that the child was not disfellowshipped. CPS found that the elders were guilty of child abuse. The elders appealed and the state of utah held a hearing in Administrative court and the Utah State DA’s office prosecuted the case for CPS. The elders were eventually found guilty of child abuse in March of 2010. The parents were then disfellowshipped in August of that year. They appealed and eventually appealed to the headquarters in NY. It was finally announced in Feb of 2011 that their disfellowshipping was upheld. They are now fully awake and so are both daughters and living somewhat normal lives .

    • Winston Smith says:

      Elders were found guilty of abuse and the parents are disfellowshipped for it? Typical. If you question big brother in anyway you are declared an un-person. Very Orwellian indeed.

      WS

  35. Dave says:

    Covert Fade, I am the step father of this young woman.

  36. Michelle says:

    The problem with JWs-well one problem-is that they call every baptised JW an ordained minister, send them out preaching and offer to TEACH householders what the Bible really teaches. . .an approved publisher is considered qualified to TEACH people they meet in the ministry. So, if they are sending folks out and counting their time, they are teachers, according to the WT. It’s not playing with words. They shouldn’t be sending out every warm body to PREACH since doing so, they are essentially vetting them as morally upstanding people. Putting them up on stage in any capacity says something to JWs. And everyone here knows it.

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