Jehovah’s Witness David Burridge, who also goes by the name “Martin,” is accused of indecently assaulting a young girl several times between 1975 and 1983. In addition, he is alleged to have indecently assaulted a young boy between 1999 and 2001.
The 62-year-old, of Station Road in Alderholt, near Fordinbridge, denies the charges against him.
Matthew Farmer, prosecuting the case at Bournemouth Crown Court, told jurors on the first day of the trial against Burridge that the alleged victim had only realised what was happening when she was taught sex education at school.
The court heard that Burridge told the girl he was giving her “special cuddles” and that he had fallen in love with her.
***UPDATE – Since this article was posted to JWsurvey, Burridge has been acquitted of all charges. See link.***
Farmer said: “The complainant had quite a troubled life after the alleged abuse in terms of her mental health. Not that long ago, in 2012, she took an overdose and afterwards finally told her family what had happened.”
As for the male complainant, Mr Farmer says his abuse took place almost two decades later. “The alleged victim remembers feeling imprisoned,” he told the court.
A videoed police interview with the woman was also shown to jurors. In it, the female victim said: “I didn’t know at the time that there was anything wrong with why he was cuddling me. It wasn’t until I was a lot older that I realised it was all very, very wrong – I was doing sex ed at school.”
Burridge denies five counts of indecent assault and one of indecent assault on a male.
More to be uncovered
I hope to be able to report on this case in more detail as it continues. I am unsure whether Burridge held any position in his congregation, as not many details have been released as yet. As the case progresses it will be interesting to see how many similarities there are between this case and the countless others being reported.
One question I hope to be able to answer is: were the elders aware of the alleged abuse, and what did they do about it? I have yet to hear of any cases where elders have actually volunteered witness statements to police or attended court in support of the victim.
The London Branch has not released a statement yet with regards to this case, but I’m not expecting too much. I’m sure I’m not the only person who is getting a little bored of the same old press release from Watchtower. We hear how they abhor child abuse and support victims, but we are yet to see any actual evidence to support such claims.