NEWS BULLETIN: Australian Government Issues Report Condemning Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Sexual Abuse Policies
avatar

arcThe criticisms of Jehovah’s Witnesses and their various regulations, from handling of child abuse matters to the prevention of medically accepted procedures such as the transfusion of blood, have resulted in a “smear” campaign against opposers of Witness policies.

Those who find themselves as dissenting, former members of the religion are referred to as “apostates” who are “mentally diseased” according to Witness publications.

The religion of Scientology has a parallel term – they call that person a “suppressive” individual. As stated on their website:

“To be declared a Suppressive Person is extremely rare and results in expulsion from the Scientology religion. This occurs in instances of serious offenses against the Scientology faith and can also occur when an individual is found to be actively working to suppress the well-being of others”

“When someone has been expelled from the religion, that person loses both his or her fellowship with the Church as well as with other Scientologists” –   Scientology website

unbiased_sealFor Jehovah’s Witnesses, the overwhelming fear of mingling with such individuals or reading their books, articles or web sites is so ingrained, that anyone caught reading or agreeing with this information is subject to the disfellowshipping process, leaving the questioning Witness completely isolated, without friends, family, or the support network he or she desperately needs to function as a normal human being.

That said, it is a welcome relief when independent news or governmental organizations publish facts and data which originate, not from “apostate” sources, but from agencies and professionals who seek the well-being of all members of our society, particularly the most vulnerable, our children.

While there is no escaping the fact that these pseudo-religious organizations will attempt to paint the negative reports as propaganda inspired by “Satan”, the modern day Jehovah’s Witness can indulge himself in further research without the same stigma associated with reading blatant “apostate” material. This is a loophole created by the reality that most Witnesses will at least read or watch some measure of media reports and articles to keep up with the news, while being adamantly told by Governing Body leaders that they MUST avoid opposition websites.

The end result is that some Witnesses (though not the majority) can feel justified in reading unbiased court documents, research surveys, or government reports without directly connecting them with apostate material.

This brings us to the latest report from the Australian Government and its ongoing investigation into institutions which have fallen dreadfully short of the mark when it comes to reporting cases of child abuse, in particular among Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In the past 2 years, JW Survey has published dozens of articles on the subject of child abuse within the Jehovah’s Witness organization, with a climax in 2015 when we learned that the Australian Government initiated an investigation into multiple institutions whose policies seriously endangered children. For Witnesses, it was the result of the archaic application of the “two-witness” rule, and the policy of failing to contact police or child protection authorities when abuse was discovered by Witness elders.

While Witnesses still remain in denial over the allegations and findings of such commissions, the presentation of vast volumes of evidence, witness testimony, and cross examination of Jehovah’s Witness elders, attorneys and even Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson has left no doubt that the inquiry was thorough, well documented, and available for the worldwide public to view live from the comfort of their own homes. The exhibits are published HERE, and recorded video for all testimony can be viewed on YouTube following this link.

If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please view those links, we assure you they are not apostate material.

The 2015 Australian Royal Commission changed everything, and the awareness created has led to countless individuals coming forward to share their stories of abuse and the subsequent cover up by Witness elders due to organizational policy. One very recent example is the case of Tricia Franginha, whose YouTube video immediately went viral when she revealed the extreme trauma of her sexual abuse at the hands of her father, and the unbelievable cover-up which resulted from the lack of action from congregation elders.

 

 

While the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is still ongoing, we are pleased to report that as of November 28th 2016, the Commission has released a 110 page report on Jehovah’s Witnesses, and to put it mildly, there is not a single positive determination revealed, either from the original investigation in the summer of 2015, or in the subsequent submissions by both the Royal Commission and the defense of Jehovah’s Witness leadership.

For those who wish to read the entire report, the document can be read and downloaded here 

Though we have not yet had time to process and post every finding, there are some key sections of this document which reveal the unfortunate results of this extensive investigation. On page 77 of this document we find the following topic: (italics and bold ours)

“Response of the Jehovah’s Witness Organisation to the Sexual Abuse of Children”

“Having regard to the various matters we have discussed in this report, we have reached a number of general conclusions on the Jehovah’s Witness organisation’s response to the sexual abuse of children.

We do not consider the Jehovah’s Witness organisation to be an organisation which responds adequately to child sexual abuse. We do not believe that children are adequately protected from the risk of sexual abuse for the following reasons:

The organisation relies on outdated policies and practices to respond to allegations of child sexual abuse. Also, those policies and practices are not subject to ongoing and continuous review. The policies and practices are, by and large, wholly inappropriate and unsuitable for application in cases of child sexual abuse. The organisation’s retention and continued application of policies such as the two-witness rule in cases of child sexual abuse shows a serious lack of understanding of the nature of child sexual abuse.

• The organisation’s internal disciplinary system for addressing complaints of child sexual abuse is not child or survivor focused in that it is presided over by males and offers a survivor little or no choice about how their complaint is addressed.

The sanctions available within the organisation’s internal disciplinary system are weak and leave perpetrators of child sexual abuse at large in the organisation and the community.

• In deciding the sanctions to impose and/or precautions to take in relation to a known or suspected perpetrator, the organisation has inadequate regard to the risk that that perpetrator might reoffend. This demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of the nature and impact of child sexual abuse.

• The organisation’s general practice of not reporting serious instances of child sexual abuse to police or authorities – in particular, where the complainant is a child – demonstrates a serious failure by the organisation to provide for the safety and protection of children in the organisation and in the community.

The statements by the Commission as quoted above require very little explanation. In addition to to the outright and obvious flaws in the Jehovah’s Witness treatment of sexual abuse victims, the authorities involved delved even deeper into the psychology of Witness mind control, and revealed just how devastating it is to be subjected not only to abuse, but the anguish experienced by victims who were further victimized by being shunned by an organization which often sides with the perpetrator rather than the victim. One example is the case of victim BCG. The Commission reported:

“BCG has at times feared being ostracised, shunned and vilified by those around her. She said that she has always lived in fear of her father and that she had lived in fear of Jehovah.

BCG told the Royal Commission that, during the criminal proceedings against her father, she was terrified that Jehovah would kill her for having reported to the police and for bringing reproach upon his name

Fear and control of the emotions of victims was not overlooked by the team of investigators who examined every aspect of Witness culture.

In terms of raw processed data, the following information was presented in the 110 page report:

“Analysis of the Jehovah’s Witness organisation’s files also showed that:”

“• the allegations, reports or complaints that the organisation received relate to at least 1,800 alleged victims of child sexual abuse

• 579 of those against whom allegations were made confessed to having committed child sexual abuse

• of the 1,006 members against whom allegations of child sexual abuse were made, 108 were elders or ministerial servants at the time of the first instance of alleged abuse

• 28 alleged perpetrators were appointed as elders or ministerial servants after an allegation of child sexual abuse was made against them

• 401 alleged perpetrators were disfellowshipped as a result of an allegation of child sexual abuse and 230 of those alleged perpetrators were later reinstated

• of those disfellowshipped, 78 were disfellowshipped on more than one occasion as a result of an allegation of child sexual abuse

• In relation to the data, The Watchtower & Ors submitted that:

• there was no evidence before the Royal Commission that there were 1,800 victims

• the Jehovah’s Witness organisation uses a broad definition of reportable sexual misconduct and that definition includes ‘sexting’

• it is the right of an adult survivor of child sexual abuse to decide to report his or her abuse to the police and not that of the organisation

• there was no relevant legislated mandated reporting obligation in most of the jurisdictions in which the 1,006 alleged perpetrators were reported

• in many cases, ‘victims or their families did not want the secular authorities involved’

• a ‘mere recitation of numbers will not help the [Royal] Commission’.

We do not find it necessary to comment on these submissions. The numbers tell their own story. Most of these matters are addressed elsewhere in this report.”

During the initial inquest, Watchtower attorney Vincent Toole openly admitted that Sydney Bethel headquarters received at minimum 3-4 calls regarding sexual abuse cases every month (in Australia alone), which was followed by this comment from the commission:

“Mr Toole’s evidence on the frequency of calls about child sexual abuse is consistent with the number and frequency of allegations of child sexual abuse that is shown in the files that Watchtower Australia produced to the Royal Commission. Therefore, we are satisfied that the Jehovah’s Witness organisation in Australia receives approximately three to four reports of allegations of child sexual abuse each month.”

One needs to recall that the information provided by Mr Toole is current information, revealing that despite minor changes in Witness child abuse policies in the past 20 years, there has been no decrease whatsoever in child abuse allegations, leading one to conclude that the image of “Jehovah’s protection” upon his visible organization is just that – an image, or an imagined truth with no foundation.

In further testimony under oath, Watchtower solicitor Toole was forced to admit that the sexual abuse cases which eventually made their way to the police and other civil authorities did so without the cooperation of Jehovah’s Witness elders. The Commission concluded:

“There is no evidence before the Royal Commission that the Jehovah’s Witness organisation either had or did not have a role or any involvement in bringing to the attention of secular authorities any complaint of child sexual abuse that was investigated by secular authorities.

We are satisfied that it is the general practice of the Jehovah’s Witness organisation in Australia not to report allegations of child sexual abuse to the police or other authorities unless required to do so by law.”

The Two Witness Rule

Another topic covered extensively during the Royal Commission was the archaic application of what Jehovah’s Witness call the “two-witness” rule, a device which demands a 2nd Witness to a crime (such as child abuse) – which clearly never exits in cases of child molestation. Yet the JW Governing Body cling to this doctrine despite every opportunity to abandon this teaching without compromising their core beliefs.  The commission concluded:

“A complainant of child sexual abuse whose allegation has not been corroborated by confession by their abuser or a second ‘credible’ eyewitness is necessarily disempowered and subjected to ongoing traumatisation. To place a victim of child sexual abuse in such a position is today, and was 30 years ago, unacceptable and wrong.

The Royal Commission considers that, in the interests of child safety, institutions should review and improve all of their policies on child sexual abuse. The two-witness rule is an example of a policy position that, on the evidence before the Royal Commission, has not been revised or improved since the Jehovah’s Witness organisation was founded in the late 19th century. The Jehovah’s Witness organisation relies on, and applies inflexibly even in the context of child sexual abuse, a rule which was devised more than 2,000 years ago.”

Sanctions against Abusers

The internal tribunals held among Jehovah’s Witness elders lead most Witnesses to believe that they are safe from sexual predators, but in reality, even when such individuals are spiritually “convicted” and reproved or disfellowshipped, the danger to additional victims still exists. The commission correctly observed:

“if a known abuser is found to be repentant and for that reason is merely reproved, the abuser remains at large in the congregation and the community

if a known abuser is disfellowshipped and not otherwise dealt with by the authorities, the abuser remains at large in the community.”

As proven by the details of the Australian investigation as well as common knowledge of sexual predators, even Watchtower representative Spinks admitted that JW elders most often do not take into consideration recidivism among child molesters. The commission stated as a result:

“Therefore, a decision to reprove a person, rather than expel or disfellowship them from the congregation, involves no objective consideration of the risk that that person might reoffend.”

Shunning Condemned

It is no mystery that the Australian Commission has taken into account the extreme trauma faced by victims who have not only been abused (in many cases by Witnesses in authority) – but when they extricate themselves from this toxic organization to salvage their mental health and well being, they are further traumatized by experiencing complete shunning, either by disassociating themselves from the organization, or by being disfellowshipped for speaking out against the harms inflicted on them by Watchtower’s policy. While we cannot divulge details at the moment, JW Survey is currently investigating one case where multiple elders were recently removed from their positions as the direct result of speaking to the police regarding the molestation charges brought against one Jehovah’s Witness member.

It’s bad enough that JW elders would be removed and disciplined for cooperating with the authorities, but worse yet, abuse victims receive a double-dose of anguish when faced with the inability to speak up about the injustices they faced, for fear of extreme congregational discipline. Said the Commission:

“The Jehovah’s Witness organisation’s practice of shunning members who disassociate from the organisation has the very real potential of putting a survivor in the untenable position of having to choose between constant re-traumatisation at having to share a community with their abuser and losing that entire community altogether.”

Report Conclusion:

It is no surprise that with all of the evidence presented in the findings of the Commission, including the woefully damaging testimony of hired Watchtower “expert” Dr. Monica Applewhite, The report found no other recourse but to indict the Watchtower organization as lacking any proper consideration, sympathy and meaningful handling of the child abuse cases it had been made aware of for more than 50 years. Justice McClelland and his team were clearly appalled that the highest ranking member subpoenaed, Geoffrey Jackson, openly admitted that he had not even read or reviewed the testimony of the women whose lives were destroyed  by Watchtower policies, but who bravely came forward to tell their stories.

The summary stated:

“Having regard to the various matters we have discussed in this report, we have reached a number of general conclusions on the Jehovah’s Witness organisation’s response to the sexual abuse of children.

We do not consider the Jehovah’s Witness organisation to be an organisation which responds adequately to child sexual abuse. We do not believe that children are adequately protected from the risk of sexual abuse for the following reasons:

  • The organisation relies on outdated policies and practices to respond to allegations of child sexual abuse. Also, those policies and practices are not subject to ongoing and continuous review. The policies and practices are, by and large, wholly inappropriate and unsuitable for application in cases of child sexual abuse. The organisation’s retention and continued application of policies such as the two-witness rule in cases of child sexual abuse shows a serious lack of understanding of the nature of child sexual abuse.
  • The organisation’s internal disciplinary system for addressing complaints of child sexual abuse is not child or survivor focused in that it is presided over by males and offers a survivor little or no choice about how their complaint is addressed.
  • The sanctions available within the organisation’s internal disciplinary system are weak and leave perpetrators of child sexual abuse at large in the organisation and the community.
  • In deciding the sanctions to impose and/or precautions to take in relation to a known or suspected perpetrator, the organisation has inadequate regard to the risk that that perpetrator might reoffend. This demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of the nature and impact of child sexual abuse.
  • The organisation’s general practice of not reporting serious instances of child sexual abuse to police or authorities – in particular, where the complainant is a child – demonstrates a serious failure by the organisation to provide for the safety and protection of children in the organisation and in the community.”

As recently reported by JW Survey, the Royal Commission of Australia is far from finished with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Beginning March 20th 2017, an additional inquiry will be opened, with emphasis on the policies and procedures of the Witness organization which have contributed to the thousands of cases of abuse reported so far, and the methods by which the government will deal with this organization.

The real tragedy is that for both victims and Watchtower alike, most of this could have been avoided. The light at the end of the tunnel is the assurance that the unbiased investigation and exposure of Watchtower’s destructive policies will certainly lead to the awakening of countless individuals who have placed their trust in an organization that has victimized its own adherents.

 

 

John Redwood

 

 

Further reading…

http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/2016-11/report-into-jehovah%E2%80%99s-witness-organisations-releas

http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/getattachment/c2d1f1f5-a1f2-4241-82fb-978d072734bd/Report-of-Case-Study-No-29

http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-study/10908a67-70c5-4103-94cc-dac096fdb585/case-study-54,-march-2017,-sydney

Related video…

Australian Royal Commission hears that 1,006 alleged child sex abusers were covered up by Watchtower

 

Bookmark the permalink.

106 Responses to NEWS BULLETIN: Australian Government Issues Report Condemning Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Sexual Abuse Policies

  1. Openmind says:

    Hi Holy Connoli. I forgot about that garbage “we buy presents all through the year.” I never experienced that while I was in, only since leaving. Friends, family and I always give gifts all year, not just Xmas and b/days. I do remember though some JW couples going OTT over wedding anniversaries and if they had children they would be included in the celebrations. Seemed odd to me at the time to draw so much attention to themselves (one of the pathetic reasons against b/days if I recall correctly). But then again there was NOTHING else they could celebrate and have some fun. Poor misguided people.

    • Openmind says:

      Also surprised me that all the window washers accepted xmas tips and I knew many who had other employment and accepted bottles of whiskey saying “just because it’s December doesn’t mean it’s for xmas!” Bunch of hypocrites.

  2. Twmack says:

    When I was a JW and serving as an elder, I was an
    apostate. I was one of the many who could not fully
    accept that the whole body of the remnant was the
    F&DS, serving up the spiritual food for the domestics.

    Those of remnant that I knew personally had no input
    whatsoever in providing articles for the WT, etc, and
    goodness me, the sisters of that class were not even
    allowed to teach in the congregation.

    Fast forward to the 2012 annual meeting. My view has
    not changed, but now I am no longer an apostate, it’s
    now been decided that only the gb, is the slave and the
    remnant are now among the domestics.

    The teachings of this religion fluctuate so much that
    the word apostate becomes meaningless. /

    “The objectors may argue that not all of Christ’s anointed disciples have a share in preparing the spiritual food, so perhaps the “slave” pictures only the LEADING ONES and the domestics those they serve in the congregation. There is no point trying to force an interpretation of the parable. Self deception is of no benefit and is spiritually damaging.” W,T, 1st March 1981. pp 24-25.

    • Big B says:

      @ Twmack

      “The teachings of this religion fluctuate so much that
      the word apostate becomes meaningless”.

      You are exactly correct in your assessment. Give them (‘the sheeple’) the mushroom treatment; namely, keep them in the dark, feed them manure disguised as Biblical TRUTH and once their heads get to big, lop them off.

      The TRUTH has not been pinned down in over 100 years of this “organization’s” brief delusional history. The TRUTH is a constantly moving target guaranteed to be ‘adjusted’ by NEW LIGHT every 20 years.

      Most of the main doctrines that this group of Adventists teach are from a drunken sot and a bully namely, J.F. ‘Judge’ Rutherford. His lack of sobriety is quoted here:

      Penton 1997, pp. 72,73: “Although Jehovah’s Witnesses have done everything possible to hide accounts of the judge’s drinking habits, they are simply too notorious to be denied. Former workers at the Watch Tower’s New York headquarters recount tales of his inebriation and drunken stupors. Others tell stories of how difficult it sometimes was to get him to the podium to give talks at conventions because of his drunkenness. In San Diego, California, where he spent his winters from 1930 until his death, an elderly lady still speaks of how she sold him great quantities of liquor when he came to purchase medicines in her husband’s drugstore.”
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Franklin_Rutherford

      His most famous imprints on the J.W.’s are the following: name of International Bible Students Association changed to Jehovah’s Witness; place of meeting called Kingdom Halls; “Advertise, Advertise, Advertise the King and His Kingdom” door to door sales encouraged and increased (although he exempted himself from the door to door Evangelizing work he had no compulsions about sending others out); shaving the beard off Christ and all other brothers; pulling Christ off the Cross and nail him to a stake; stating that the ‘other sheep’ and ‘great crowd’ of Revelation are one and the same. And the list of idiotic doctrines goes on and on.

      Now the disillusioned sheeple are led to believe “that generation” is not one specific generation but ‘overlapping generations that make up one composite generation. (?) Really? I can make up my own doctrine as well because at best the G.B. is either guessing or lying!

      Do most of the sheeple, going in field service, realize that they have a ‘rapture’ now? According to the 2013 Watchtower, July 15 study issue look at the chart that was NOT discussed in the lesson. It shows the remnant being removed from the earth before Armageddon commences. NEW LIGHT! Most elders did not see (or understand) this chart either as it was not discussed in the Watchtower study and were dumbstruck when asked about it (by my brother).

      No wonder they stopped printing the ‘Revelation- Its Grand Climax is at Hand’ book. However, ‘the light keeps getting brighter and brighter’- Prov. 4:18. Yeah, right.

  3. Doc Obvious says:

    Matthew 24:45-51: 45 “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so! 47 Truly I say to you, he will appoint him over all his belongings.
    48 “But if ever that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ 49 and he starts to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, 50 the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, 51 and he will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his place with the hypocrites. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.

    There are 2 groups and 1 individual spoken here in these verses. The “master” pictures Jesus Christ. The “faithful and discreet slave” picture the Governing Body. And, the “domestics” picture the publishers. One thing I noticed about the Governing Body when they speak they do not mention the “master” or the “domestics”, they only speak about themselves being the Faithful and Discreet Slave. However, the scripture that they are referring to mentions 3 groups. Also, the word “domestic” is not a derogatory term for the common people. The Pharisees in Jesus day, referred to common people with derogatory speech. Jesus highly valued the common people.

    Another, item not mentioned is when the slave becomes evil. In verses 48-51, it mentions what the master would do if he finds the slave mistreating and beating his fellow slaves and domestics. He will punish the slave with the greatest severity and assign him with the hypocrites. This does not sound like an open book for the Governing Body to do whatever they want to do with the domestics or ignore their requests. It sounds like the slave is under a microscope and that anything they do adversely to the domestics will be dealt with.

    Watchtower Bible and Tract Society wants royal submission as being a “slave”. They want that Kingly response from their subjects. However, a “slave” in our modern world is not a royal title. A “slave” in the 1770’s to the present in the United States was not a lofty role. The master is over this slave and the only way the slave becomes a king is if they all treat the domestics with great respect and show deep respect for the master’s belongings. Only then, when they die will they go to heaven and rule as a king.

    Watchtower is overplaying their title and not showing respect for the domestics with this attitude that their displaying. The slave has to prove that they are loyal. Currently, they are not. The present Governing Body does not fully know their place in Jesus’ illustration.

  4. Papadopoulos says:

    Talking about pedophiles, watch this https://sli.mg/a/gaffhM

  5. Vidiot says:

    Can’t help but wonder if the WTS decided that Vincent Toole’s “services were no longer required” after that…

  6. Vidiot says:

    I strongly suspect that one of the reasons the Org has allowed this to go on and NOT made a habit of permanently dismissing offenders…

    …is that if they did, they’d have a serious shortage of “qualified brothers” to run the congregations.

  7. Keith says:

    Yesterday
    Reveal reported that the RC referred at least 700 JW matters to various police forces around Australia for prosecution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

applications-education-miscellaneous.png

Comment posting guidelines:

Kindly observe the following requirements before posting any comments to our articles or pages:


  • ABUSIVE COMMENTS - Do not post comments that include swear words or may be considered abusive, lewd, blasphemous, obscene or threatening
  • ILLEGAL COMMENTS - Do not post comments that condone or propose illegal activity, or that breach copyright law
  • OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS - Do not post comments that are off-topic and bear no relation to the page or article
  • RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY - Do not post comments that are evangelical in nature or may be construed as imposing one person's religious beliefs (or lack thereof) over those of another
  • LANGUAGE - Visitors from all countries and language groups are welcome. You may post comments in languages other than English, but we would appreciate if you could make any such comments brief. We would also be grateful if you could run any such comments through Google Translate and convert these to English, but this is not an absolute requirement.
  • LINKS - You may post links to third party websites, so long as (1) you limit these to 2 links per comment, and (2) the content on these links doesn't contravene ANY of the first four points. Specifically, you may not post URLs to websites that are evangelical in nature. Our links page has an extensive list of such sites for any who are curious about Christian beliefs in the context of Jehovah's Witnesses.

JWSurvey.org thanks all visitors in advance for respectfully observing these guidelines. Any who persistently fail to do so, despite warnings, may find themselves blocked from making further comments at the discretion of the site moderators, whose decision will be final and not open for debate.