Jehovah’s Witness Elders Fined for Failure to Report Child Abuse: Watchtower Settles with Delaware
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Jehovah’s Witnesses in Delaware paid $19,500 in fines for failure to report child abuse.

On January 18th, 2018, attorneys representing Jehovah’s WItnesses signed a formal settlement agreement with the State of Delaware, concluding a historic case in which two elders and one congregation were held responsible for withholding detailed knowledge of a sexual relationship between an adult and a 14-year-old minor.

This case is unique, profound, and will likely set a precedent for other States.

According to the terms of the settlement, Jehovah’s Witnesses paid a total of $19,500 to the Delaware Department of Justice, and the body of elders from the Laurel Delaware congregation was required to attend the Stewards of Children training program and pay associated costs.

A third requirement mandated by Delaware included the signing of an affidavit stipulating that Jehovah’s Witness elders must comply with all Delaware statutes involving the reporting of child abuse. Among the itemized requirements, the Coordinator of the Body of Elders, William Perkins, agreed that communications with minors related to matters of abuse would not be treated as “penitential confessions.” This is significant, since attorneys for Jehovah’s Witnesses attempted to claim clergy privilege as their defense for failure to report.

On January 26, 2016, Justice Mary M. Johnston threw out Watchtower’s motion for summary judgment. Johnston pointed out that the elders’ sworn statements suggested that the victim and the perpetrator did not seek out the elders for private confession, which is the basic definition of penitential confession.

The case, formally called the State of Delaware versus Laurel Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Joel Mulchansingh, and William Perkins, was filed November 9th, 2015. It was brought by the Delaware Attorney General’s office following the discovery that 35-Year-old Katheryn Carmean-White had been arrested for engaging in at least 40 incidents of sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old boy. Both were baptized members of the Jehovah’s Witness religion.

Katheryn L. Carmean White

Katheryn L. Carmean-White

Deputy Attorney General Janice Tigani became aware of this case from police reports, which had been filed in 2011. The mother of the 14-year-old victim contacted local authorities. A warrant was issued for Katheryn L. Carmean-White, who was arrested on 10 counts of third-degree rape, continuous sexual abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child. Carmean-White is currently incarcerated in the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution of Delaware, serving a 6-year prison sentence.

Neither William Perkins nor Joel Mulchansingh contacted the police.

Instead, both elders initiated internal Jehovah’s Witness judicial proceedings which resulted in the disfellowshipping of both Carmean-White and her victim. Despite his age, the victim was considered a willing participant in consensual sexual acts. The repetitive nature of these sexual encounters was the foundation for disfellowshipping action by the church.

Delaware Sets the Example

Until now, the national epidemic of child abuse has been brought to light primarily through the efforts of mainstream media and numerous documented civil lawsuits. Such cases have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements against the Catholic Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses, the religions most notorious for their mishandling of abuse allegations.

While individual states have codified laws penalizing mandated reporters for failure to report child abuse, almost none have brought charges against clergymen, or elders. Tackling religious organizations is often seen as trampling the First Amendment rights of these groups.

According to Deputy Attorney General Tigani, the Delaware case was about to go to trial when Watchtower lawyers opted for a private settlement. In part, the agreement stated:

“WHEREAS this agreement is made solely for the purpose of avoiding the time and expense of further protracted litigation”

Tigani agreed that Watchtower benefitted by conforming to the stipulations of the State of Delaware, in lieu of a protracted public trial. Evidence presented on both sides, including depositions from the two Witness elders, clearly pointed to gross infraction of Delaware law.

The progressive nature of Delaware’s punitive measures for violation of mandatory reporting laws comes on the heels of the worst case of child sexual abuse in United States history. Pediatrician Earl Bradley was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms, plus 165 years in prison for the molestation of hundreds of child patients, whose average age was three. The Bradley case was so egregious that Attorney General Beau Biden abandoned his bid for his father’s vacated Senate seat to funnel all energies into the prosecution of this case.

As Delaware prosecuted and jailed the notorious Bradley, lawmakers began to question how this man could have abused so many children for more than a decade, evading detection and prosecution. In 2010, Governor Jack Markell commissioned the Dean of Widener University Law School, Linda L. Ammons, to investigate what went wrong, and to itemize necessary changes. One key discovery involved the lack of proper reporting of abuse allegations to law enforcement or other state officials. Under the topic “Mandatory Reporters,” Ammons stated:

“It is my finding that no law enforcement agency, health professional or anyone else reported the allegations regarding Dr. Bradley to any administrative or regulatory body in accordance with current Delaware law. “

Pediatrician Earl Bradley Arrested

Families of victims were shocked to discover that allegations against Bradley stemmed back to 1994 in Pennsylvania, where the doctor had completed his residency. Layers of bureaucracy stymied the reporting process. Plausible deniability was contagious, and without enforcement of reporting laws, organizations, members of clergy, and ordinary citizens are without incentive to abide by these statutes. Professor Ammon made numerous recommendations to the Governor of Delaware, including the following:

Increase penalties for violating the mandatory reporting requirements in the Medical Practices Act.”

Delaware agreed. Enforceable penalties were signed into law. Delaware code 914 states:

914 Penalty for violation.  (a) Whoever violates § 903 of this title shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for the first violation, and not to exceed $50,000 for any subsequent violation.

This code enforcement is not limited to the medical practices field. In fact, every Delaware citizen is expected to report, regardless of their occupation. The Professionals’ Guide to Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect says:

“Professional reporters are often referred to as mandated reporters, although all citizens of Delaware are required to report child abuse and neglect.” [bold, italics ours]

Jehovah’s Witness elders Joel Mulchansingh, and William Perkins were found liable, both as professional mandated reporters, and as citizens of the State of Delaware. The congregation body of elders was also named as a responsible party.

The Settlement

In addition to financial penalties paid, the Laurel Congregation body of elders was required to attend the Stewards of Children training program, an initiative sponsored by the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children. The Biden foundation is a non-profit organization created in 2015 to further the goals of the late Biden in ensuring that children are afforded every possible protection from predators.

I spoke to a representative of the Stewards of Children program, who confirmed that their educational materials have been sanctioned by courts across the United States on the basis of competent, peer-reviewed research.

The third and final settlement term involved a multi-part affidavit, signed by the Laurel Coordinator of Body of Elders, and distributed to all congregations within the State of Delaware. Terms included:

  • Communications with individual involving acts of abuse shall not be considered as “penitential confessions”
  • Communications with minors involving acts of abuse shall not be considered as “penitential confessions”
  • Elders and the Congregation will comply with the law in accordance with the two items above
  • A copy of the signed and notarized affidavit will be provided by Jehovah’s Witnesses’ attorneys to all congregations within the state of Delaware

While Jehovah’s Witnesses have been forced to comply with the terms of this settlement, there is no evidence to suggest that this organization will participate in mandatory training programs in other states or countries. Currently, Witness policy dictates that the first notification of allegations of child abuse must be made by local elders to the Jehovah’s Witness legal department in Patterson New York. This policy has a profound chilling effect upon justice for victims and protection of the community.

Exterior Sign for Laurel and Seaford Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses

Exterior Sign for Laurel and Seaford Congregations

Once their legal department advises elders whether they are in a mandatory reporting state or not, the call is handed over to the Service department, also located in Patterson. These men advise local elders of their internal judicial responsibility, such as whether to disfellowship a minor deemed as a willing participant in sexual acts.

Nowhere in Watchtower literature are victims or others encouraged to immediately contact civil authorities when allegations of abuse become known. By design, Jehovah’s Witnesses are trained to regard local elders as the primary authority, particularly when any sexual contact is discovered between two unmarried persons. 

A Precedent Has Been Set

Delaware’s lawsuit against Jehovah’s Witnesses has broken the barrier which has, until now, protected churches from prosecution for failure to report child abuse.  

In 2006, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office recommended that charges be filed against Catholic Bishop Daniel Walsh. Walsh failed to file a timely report upon discovery that Catholic Priest Xavier Ochoa sexually abused at least three boys, the youngest being 12. The delay in reporting gave Ochoa the time he needed to escape to Mexico.

According to the the San Francisco journal SFGATE:

If prosecutors decide to charge Walsh, the case would appear to mark the first time a U.S. Catholic Church official has faced criminal prosecution for failing to properly report sexual abuse.”

Charges were dropped, however, in lieu of a plea agreement in which Bishop Walsh was required to attend a four-month counseling program.

The State of Delaware did not back down so quickly in its case against Jehovah’s Witnesses, leaving Watchtower attorneys little choice but to settle the case on Delaware’s terms.

Other states may soon follow suit, including Pennsylvania, where police are investigating the abuse of 4-year-old Abby Haugh in 2005. The assault occurred inside the local Kingdom Hall and was reported to congregation elders by the victim’s father, Martin Haugh. Local elders did not contact law enforcement. 

Police are not commenting on this case, as the investigation is currently ongoing.

The terms of the Delaware settlement stipulated that once Jehovah’s Witnesses paid the agreed-upon fines, the State would dismiss civil action with prejudice.  The settlement agreement was obtained by filing a Freedom of Information Act request.

 

John Redwood

 

 

 

Court Documents:

State of Delaware V Laurel Congregation, with Motion to Dismiss Ruling

Stipulation of Dismissal

Depositions from William Perkins and Joel Mulchansingh

***Final Settlement agreement, with affidavit

 

Additional Research Documents:

State of Delaware Child Abuse Laws

Delaware Hotline for Reporting Child Abuse

Delaware Professional Guide to Reporting Abuse and Neglect

Mandatory Reporting Requirements for Delaware

How to Identify and Report Child Abuse and Neglect in Delaware

Penalties for Failure to Report Abuse- by State

Commission for Review of Bradley Case

Independent Review of the Earl Brian Bradley Case

Clergy as Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse 

 

Editor’s Afterthoughts: 

In the course of investigating the Delaware case against Jehovah’s Witnesses, it became apparent that the Witnesses settled for a variety of reasons. Aside from the inability to win the case, this civil matter was in the process of being scheduled for trial. Had the settlement not been reached, a protracted and very public trial would have been widely publicized across Delaware and picked up by media outlets across the U.S.

The monetary fines would not have differed much from the current result, with a maximum penalty of $10,000 per elder (for two elders) along with a $10,000 fine for the collective elder body, resulting in a $30,000 fine, plus court costs and legal fees. The most significant advantage of settling this case with Delaware was the fact that Watchtower was able to pay the fines without admission of guilt. 

In the eyes of the public, anyone who reads the court docket for this case will note that the final act of Delaware was to dismiss this case. While dismissal was the net result, it obscures the fact that Watchtower was held accountable for failure to report child abuse. For this reason, I found it necessary to file a Freedom of Information Act request from the State of Delaware, to obtain the documents which prove that Watchtower paid the fines for failure to report, and was forced to agree to compliance with State reporting laws. Additionally, they were required to disperse mandatory reporting materials to all congregations in Delaware. 

I hope that the public has a better understanding of what it means when a case is dismissed, and how private, behind-the-scenes settlements often reveal what actually happened. 

It is my goal to make such cases transparent, for the benefit of the public.

John Redwood

 

I would like to thank the following individuals who were both supportive and informative during the course of my research:

Janice R Tigani, Deputy Attorney General for Delaware

Novene Tate, Case Manager for Justice Johnston

Kim Siegel, FOIA Coordinator for the State of Delaware

Jeffrey Fritz, Attorney, Soloff and Zervanos

Irwin Zalkin, Attorney, Zalkin Law Firm

Michael Rezendez, Boston Globe Spotlight Team

David Gambacorta, Philadelphia Enquirer

Carrie Teegardin, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Professor Marci Hamilton

Natalie Batten, Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children

The JW Survey team

Scrappy, the cat

 

 

 

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160 Responses to Jehovah’s Witness Elders Fined for Failure to Report Child Abuse: Watchtower Settles with Delaware

  1. Jason says:

    So once again WT is exposed for its skewed view of victim vs perpetrator mentality. Justice system properly views child as a victim but WT says in their actions toward the victim when they disfellowship a child that the child is as bad as the perpetrator. Kid is double scarred for life. First at the hands of the adult perpetrator second at the hands of WT.
    By their own definition of bloodguilt the WT is covered from head to toe many times over.

  2. ruthlee says:

    So who actually pays? the watchtower corporation or the individual elders who failed to report? Will we see a shift in where the buck stops over the next avalanche of cases pending.? Are the body of elders who are charitable trustees in every congregation going to have to pick up the tab. Interesting if the corporation suddenly distance themselves from their loyal police force claiming no responsibility. Interesting times we live in cheers Ruthlee

    • John Redwood says:

      I questioned the Attorney General on this issue. During the settlement phase, an escrow account was set up by attorneys for both elders and the congregation. As you might suspect, one of those attorneys was Watchtower attorney Francis McNamara, working pro hac vice in Delaware under the license of a local attorney. The state of Delaware was paid from the escrow account. As for who funded this checking account, I don’t think it would be wild speculation to conclude that Watchtower forked over the money.

      • ruthlee says:

        Thanks John. I would expect if this escalates then wtower will worm its way out of paying and set up the trustees of each congregation to foot the bill. As I was aware when my husband was an elder the body had to become trustees for some legal reason (in Britain). This set off a warning bell for me , about 3-4 years ago. In fact it was the first thing I got my husband to do ie get off the trustees list. I reckoned if he had to cover the costs of legal fees we would lose our very modest home to pay for this. So elders be warned one of the final stings of this crooked outfit is that YOU will have to pay the legal fees if you are found guilty of harbouring a sex pervert. Also the local jws don’t own their khalls anymore so there is no collateral to fall back on. Before the top of the pyramid does it’s final disappearing act they will launder any money that they have not already squirreled away and sting the ranknfile with the lawsuits pending. Such a clever scam all for money and not god. clever clever devils. Cheers

        • Sadie-Kay says:

          OMG @ruthlee I had no idea how deceptively the WT has their publishing corporation set up so they are absolved from all responsibility for the WT crimes and thefts. Oh, please, let some justice happen to the WT criminals at the top!

      • JBob says:

        the carrot that keeps the loyal police force–well, loyal. If you do everything by Watchtower policy, HQ has your back. Break ranks, and as many Youtube videos attest, you’re out of a position and possibly out on the street and in the cold where now you will face paying fines and penalties.

        But, that’s typical from any large group or corporation.

      • Amber says:

        Watchtower should pay, since they are the ones that make the rules. However, the elders still should be punished in some way also, as a deterrent to other elders who’d just blindly follow whatever the cult Corporation tells them!

    • Shona says:

      I think this what the corporation is trying to set up – starting in Australia I believe that the victim can only sue the congregation that the abuse took place and as we all know they only have $5000 in the kitty at any one time no matter how many share the hall

  3. Ted says:

    Elders required to attend the “Stewards of Children Training Programme”,
    What a deserved humiliation for this arrogant organisation that claims
    their “theocratic system” is superior to all others.

    I have some sympathy for the two elders having once fallen for their
    line myself, maybe now these two and others will wake up to the fact
    that they’re being used as patsy’s by unprincipled and manipulative
    frauds.

    • Gwen says:

      That sounds like strategy to me. By putting the Elders through this particular type of training programme, they can claim that each Elder has had training so the onus will be put on to them if cases arise.

      As an employee for the local Council, it’s policy for them to regularly put staff members through regular training courses so that the Council protects itself from litigation. That’s why as staff members, we have to constantly cover our backs with paper-trails to the higher-ups in Management.

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you so much John for all you did in getting to the bottom of this case. I know you spent much time and money obtaining the legal documents which were sorely needed to prove to all what this crooked organization has done. So glad to have you on our side!

    • John Redwood says:

      Thank you very much Susan. Yes, I could have stopped once I was told by the attorney general that Watchtower had settled the case, paid the fines and were forced to comply with the settlement terms- but there is no doubt in my mind that individuals sympathetic to Watchtower would have cried foul if I had simply posted my own statement about the settlement. Having the documents seals the deal and lends credibility to the story. There is nothing more important to JWs than the “truth” (in theory) – so we will give them the truth. What they do with it is up to them.

      Most importantly, no matter which religion or organization we are discussing, the public deserves to know the truth.

  5. Billie says:

    19500 dollars? No problem! They just take over som kingdom halls here in Norway – sells them – and send all the money to USA – and wow, the US fines are paid off with money given to the hall by hard working poor norwegian witnesses who built the place with their own hands.

    The bonus for the norwegians are “the privilege” of driving miles after miles to another hall far away. Yippiee!

    • Markie says:

      The brothers in Norway should not complain. I have read numerous examples were brothers and sisters walked days through the jungle with literature on their backs just to make one return visit. Shame on the brothers complaining they have to drive a few extra miles.

      • Crookhunter says:

        The point is that central WT takes over “Kingdom Halls” and sell them to pay fines the Whoopstower don’t want to pay from the perpetrators own pockets – themselves. If you are a criminal – pay your own fines. Don’t steal from others.This is theft.

  6. outandabout says:

    It looks to me as if Satan via his evil worldly world has been forced, with yet another exasperated sigh, to try and teach morals to Jehovah. Tough job. What Satan is doing for Jehovah is akin to handing bullets to the enemy because he has run out. Satan can see Jehovah stumbling and helps him but Jehovah shows no gratitude. Jehovah is stuck in a black and white time warp long since gone. Jehovah can lift heavy weights, but he doesn’t think too good. If Jehovah can’t even ensure the physical and mental safety of his own cong, how the hell is he running the Universe. Oh hang on, he isn’t.

  7. Whip It says:

    Glad i never was involved in any child abuse stuff when i was an Elder, even though i was present when the Cong was searched by the Police looking for a letter that had been hidden anyway, we shared the hall at the time, so it was a matter for the other Cong, but i know quite a few Men who have served on many cases & are all guilty as hell for not going to the Authorities, WT will throw them under a bus very soon, i also noticed with the Cart that individual Elders have to take out the Liability Insurance them selves not the WT, again very dangerous because if they get sued & the Insurer doesn’t cover the claim then they will have to pay themselves, again the Borg have it all their own way when it comes to their Money.

    • Peggy says:

      What’s the deal with the cart and liability insurance? How does that work? I see women at carts? You mentioned just elders needing liability, is this world wide or USA?

      • John Redwood says:

        All JWs who participate in the cart work are on their own when it comes to purchasing any permits, or obtaining insurance if this is needed. Watchtower wants NO responsibility or liability for anything their publishers do while engaging in the preaching work. The liability insurance is not always required and is handled on a location by location basis

      • Whip It says:

        I work in the Industry here in Australia, & was approached by an Elder to get Liability Insurance, the shopping center requested it, so he was going to take out a policy as instructed, it never happened, & i warned him i wouldn’t want my name on it.

  8. Mr I Foster says:

    It’s not just JW’s that need to wake up to Rutherford’s scam of hijacking Jehovah’s name as a publicity stunt in promoting this wicked organisation he created for his own agenda. Charity Commissions who give tax breaks to this cult also need to wake up to the fact that the WTBTS does not engage in giving charity.

  9. Shona says:

    Thankyou for your tireless efforts to hold a very bright light on the darkness that is the watchtower

  10. Resister says:

    Tick Tock
    Tick Tock
    Tick Tock

  11. Sadie-Kay says:

    “Catholic Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses, the religions most notorious for their mishandling of abuse allegations.”
    Finally, a statement I’ve been waiting to see in print!
    How embarrassing for the JWs — after trying so hard to appear righteous before men!

    • outandabout says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Sadie-Kay. Once, JW’s were of the firm belief that abuse not only in their congregations but from the GB as well was absolutely impossible and hell would freeze over first. Now they have a rehearsed but ill thought out reply – “oh yes but child abuse is everywhere now and it’s another ‘sign’, while completely ignoring the fact that if they were the only ones with the real Truth, they would be the only ones without child abuse.
      No doubt many have voiced concerns to Elders who then pass that on to WT whose predictable response is to dial up the paranoia about persecution and ‘last days’. ‘Dial up the Abuse’ – that is the only card the WT can play now.
      After the last convention I can see the strain first hand here and for the first time I’m concerned for somebody’s mental health. This person was needy and sensitive and sometimes fragile as a child and was Love Bombed into the cult.

  12. Whip It says:

    The Prime Minister here in Australia is meeting with Catholic Leaders to discuss the Royal Commission findings, WT turn next?, the world is changing and these dinosaur cults are slowly dying, the average person in the Street must be sick to death of Religion.

  13. BELINDA HIGGS says:

    Thank you John for all your hard work.
    As more of these cases come to light maybe followers will pay attention and wake up.

  14. Openmind says:

    Thank you so much John for all you do – your time, hard work and expertise.

    Any details on the Stewards of Children training programme? I think the cost is minimal but what exactly does it entail? What length is it and are certificates issued? Whatever it involves I bet it’s all kept under wraps from the rank and file.

    • John Redwood says:

      Openmind

      Thanks very much for your kind words. Regarding the training program, when you read the article I have included hyperlinks you can click on to go directly to the programs such as Stewards of Children as well as the Beau Biden foundation. Yes, the cost is minimal – just about 10 US dollars for a workbook, per person. The length of the program which the JW elders were required to attend is just one day. I do not have word yet on whether any certificates are issued, but I have submitted a question to the attorney general with this and a few other questions. Yes, they certainly are keeping this from the rank and file, since only the elders are mandated to take this program right now. The other congregations in Delaware are required to distribute various materials concerning the mandatory reporting procedures and laws for Delaware. It remains to be seen if this will be taken seriously. The elders will always take their marching orders from the JW legal department before anyone else.

      • Openmind says:

        John,

        Thanks so much for taking time to answer my questions -really helpful.

        Heartfelt appreciation to you and the rest of the team for everything.

        Regards,

        O.

  15. The following is sympathetic to the likley Watchtower point of view, though it was not written by them. I does not specifically address Delaware but does the overall situation. It is a response to three incendiary articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer. It starts here and continues on my blog, as it is very lengthy:

    “The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote three incendiary articles Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Wow! did they ever make them look bad! Probably that was the intent, though it is hard to say for sure because nobody would ever say that the subject is nothing. It is the topic of child sexual abuse, the most white-hot topic of all.

    “As much as Jehovah’s Witnesses would love to say that child sexual abuse has not occurred within their ranks, they cannot. They can say, and do, that it is relatively uncommon within their ranks, but just try telling that to one who has suffered from it. There is no experience that determines one’s viewpoint more than this one. It is exacerbated by the Witnesses being said to be an ‘insular’ organization, and this ‘crime’ of being insular is pushed pedal-to-the-medal by the Philly reporter, who returns to an anti-Witness website after articles, where he is lauded as a hero. Perhaps he has 20 more of such articles up his sleeve. But it is little wonder that he is lauded: some of these gathered at the site are ones who have been victims.

    “The overall stats for child sexual abuse do not speak well for humanity. One of four girls and one of six boys will be sexually abused before they are 18 (in the U. S, according to InvisibleChildren.org)—this, despite decades of battling the evil…”

    http://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2018/07/three-incendiary-articles-from-the-philadelphia-inqurer.html

    • Resister says:

      Who wants odds on whether that rebuttal was written by a JW-Pedo or JW-Apologist-Pedo?

      • Resister says:

        “The overall stats for child sexual abuse do not speak well for humanity.”
        Then why doesn’t that flaming hypocrite do something about THAT, instead of apologizing for a piece of human garbage like the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society?
        Probably written by a WT lawyer.

        • Resister says:

          “…and this ‘crime’ of being insular…” LOL I love how the writer places quotes around the word “crime”. Like being insular is not a crime. Uh, yeah, it kinda is, dumbass. Slander, libel, coercion, inhibiting people’s freedom of movement, restricting freedom of speech and thought, obtaining money from people through fraudulence and intentional misinformation / disinformation – all crimes, buddy. If you’re reading this, and you are in fact a WT lawyer, consider going back to Harvard and asking nicely for a refund.

  16. outandabout says:

    but, Tom, it’s quite clear that if the WT had not gone unchallenged by the outside world, child abuse within their ranks would still be a secret and cases would be soaring. WT have had to be beaten with a stick every inch of the way and the ARC offered perfectly reasonable advice which they ignored.
    You’re right, your view is sympathetic to the WT and whereas the Witnesses themselves are generally decent folk, the WT corporation is another of the many blights on humanity that the world is addressing and will win.
    Winston Churchill observed that “Islam is the largest retrograde force that exists”, and he was right. Watchtower and others like them are a retrograde force as well and we don’t need them so please stop supporting them.
    The WT are a seriously deluded bunch of individuals and just like we don’t take delusion into account when dealing with a mass murderer, neither should we with them because their delusion and coercion is responsible for the number of deaths a mass murderer could only dream of.

    • Resister says:

      Outie, why shouldn’t Botchtower ignore the recommendations from the ARC? Remember what His Lordship, the Most Highly Educated & Deserving Future Ruler of the Universe, Geoffrey Jackson so apostolically declared before those worldly primitives?

      “THE BIBLE IS OUR CONSTITUTION!!!”

    • It cannot be that Witnesses are “generally decent people” and the leadership is vile. It is an ‘apple does not all far from the tree’ situation.

      • Ricardo says:

        But it is true. The r&f are sincere, mostly. They have been told by the elders that Jehovah will fix the situation up. Their decency has been sidetracked. Those members who are appalled are treated as evil troublemakers and kicked out (as I was). So the members are afraid. But there is a bs threshold point, and once the members see that the leadership has been conning them, large numbers will leave, just as so many decent ones already have.

        It will take time, as the elders scold anyone who looks on the internet. But it will happen. Through media exposure, it will happen. Through the number of victims growing, it will happen. An abusive organization cannot continue. When the decent ones start leaving, the existence of Watchtower org will be under threat.

        • Resister says:

          How long you wanna wait?

        • Perhaps it will not be that way

          • Ricardo says:

            There is already a noticeable trend that this is happening. The r&f have been kept in the dark about the goings-on. But when they find out they will be in shock. Then they will leave. The leadership know this, and so are trying as hard as they can to keep it secret. Which will backfire.

            When you look at the YouTube videos about why people are leaving the witnesses, a common thing that woke them up was the Australian Royal Commission. Add to that the falling publisher numbers which are about to happen and kingdom hall closures: the r&f will be able to see there are big problems.

        • The “lyingly saying every wicked sort of thing about you” that Jesus speaks of is not going to be: “Well, they woke me up while I was sleeping.” It will not be: “They were pushy at the door.”

          It will be exploitation and misrepresentation of real things. In this, case it is the sin of being ‘insular,’ as many have been throughout history, most notable the Jews. There is an upside and downside to everything, and ramifications of the downside is what captures everyone’s attention here.

      • Resister says:

        I gotta agree, Tom, as I myself have expressed many times. I mean, it’s not the SS coming to your door forcing you to do the Hitler salute at gunpoint. It’s a coupla bums in suits, or a coupla nice-smelling deluded young women in pretty dresses. JUST SAY NO. Or if you’re already in, GET OUT. I know it’s not that simple. I know Watchturd employs many dirty tricks to keep people in. But, so far at least, YOU DON’T GET SHOT FOR LEAVING JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES.
        There are many JWs who are simply deluded, as we were. But most of those wake up one day and gtfo. But I believe most are there because that’s where they WANT to be, and so I have no sympathy for them.

      • outandabout says:

        The Nazi’s were vile, Tom, but the German people were not.

        • Resister says:

          I know you mean well, outie. But let’s look at it from a purely pragmatic point of view. Suppose this was WWII. Would it be OK to kill Nazis, but not OK to kill Germans? How would you do that? How many Germans joined the Nazi party? How many Germans Heiled Hitler on a regular basis, even willingly? How many Germans volunteered for the Wehrmacht and the SS? Ohhh yes … the prestige, the pay, the honor, the sexy uniforms, the girls! There were many benefits that would’ve been hard to resist. PERSONAL benefits. And what about the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of Germans, who worked in factories building the U-boats, battleships, bombers, bombs, shells, fighter planes, tanks, guns, bullets, grenades, etc? Those factories needed to be bombed. How can you be sure you’ll only be killing the vile Nazis? How do you differentiate between the Nazi who gives the orders and the German who follows those orders? Or, would it be reasonable to just sit the whole thing out and maybe hope Jesus prys his royal holy ass off his heavenly throne and does something before your own ass gets shipped off to a concentration camp or slave labor camp, while Planet Earth gets to experience another Dark Age under the Glorious 1000-Year Reich.
          It’s not chess. It’s more like a mad brawl.

          • outandabout says:

            Resister…there was a time when I was so angry with WT it would have given me enormous satisfaction to march into their headquarters with a 50 cal. machine gun and tear the place to shreds. I understand your anger.
            The German people……also the victims of propaganda during a time in history which made them ripe for exploitation. Only a tiny few knew what was being done in their name or if any had an inkling that things weren’t right they soon learnt to shut up if they wanted to live. The Nazi’s weren’t above shooting their own people and they knew it. At the end of the day it’s all about survival – that evolutionary prerogative, remember?

          • Resister says:

            Agreed. It is about survival. As per my scenario, if you were on the battlefield, and the Nazis / Germans / Space Aliens were advancing, how much time would it take for you to convince yourself you were shooting a vile Nazi and not a sweet, innocent, peace-loving German, before you stepped on that .50? I can tell you, if you hesitated for more than a millisecond, you would not be in my squad.
            P.S. I hope you’re not one of those weirdos who occasionally comes here claiming to possess supernatural or clairvoyant powers. I don’t see how you can read emotions through the Internet. What is it that I said made you think I’m angry? I stated at the outset that I was looking at it from a purely pragmatic point of view, and you really haven’t answered a single one of my questions. All you’ve done is try to dismiss my argument as some kind of emotional outburst, which frankly is a little off-putting.

          • Resister says:

            … and condescending. It seems to be a trend these days to presume to know what another person is thinking or feeling. Everyone seems to have a Ph.D. in psychology. Like, “Why did you say ‘Merry Christmas’ to me? You must be a racist.” “Why did you compliment me on my dress? You must be a sexist misogynist male chauvinist pig who objectifies women.” Maybe it’s because we ourselves are constantly bombarded by the media telling us what to think and how to feel. If you do that, it might be a good idea to cut it out.

  17. Resister says:

    Falsehood is the first resort of the incompetent.

  18. outandabout says:

    ‘Patience’ is the word, Resister. Religion in the West has been in decline for decades, even before the internet. Each new generation is growing up less religious than their parents and I guess one reason for this is the removal of punishments for not believing and keeping quiet about it. Religion has always known it can’t stand up to scrutiny so has ruled by fear for centuries and only by doing so was it able to rule for so long. Believing was compulsory. Socrates was put to death in ancient Greece for ‘not recognizing the gods of the State’ and ‘corrupting the youth of Athens’. Christianity and Islam just simply grabbed the baton on that. Now we’re free to debate and the truth is at last seeing the light of day.

    • It would appear that @outandabout has gone atheist, but that will not be so of everyone who leaves the Witnesses. They will scatter everywhere and some are likely hurling epithets at each other on other forums, perhaps over political differences.

      Go to it, if you must, but imo it is a poor substitute for the unity such ones once had, granted that it comes with a road that is in some ways ‘narrow and cramped.’

      • Ricardo says:

        We must all be tested individually to prove our love and devotion to God. Belonging to an organization isn’t going to save us. It was always going to be this way: being tested as to the quality of our faith. Only we thought the organization would be attacked for being true to God’s standards, not for being a nest of child molesters.

      • outandabout says:

        I haven’t ‘gone atheist’, Tom. Atheism is not a belief or a condition because I was born an atheist and so was everybody else in this world but the rot sets in when the lies about who we are get drummed in by religion. So I guess we could say that being atheist is our completely natural state, a more truthful and honest state than forcing ourselves upon pain of death to believe there’s a magic man in the sky.
        But as I pointed out, the truth is arriving and it’s arriving slowly and that gives each consecutive generation time to adjust to the new reality. It’ll be painless so don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.

        • Peggy says:

          Thank you for putting it so well. I though it wrong somehow to be threatened with death and destruction in order to make an invisible magic friend love and approve of me. All religions indoctrinate. period. That just isn’t a mental condition most progressive people today want to experience. There is an awakening.

      • messenger says:

        It’s nice to have unity in the sense of nice and comfortable human relations. But that purpose has nothing to do with the religious Christ started. Conformity to ideas not in scripture is what Watchtower calls “the Truth.” That’s not what Christ claimed was “the Truth. ”

        To illustrate: If live in the United States of America. All citizens here are united as one Nation, unity. Yet we share different and conflicting ideas. Look at your scriptures again and you’ll see the scriptures make allowance for conflicting ideas inside the church. The thought that all Christians conform their thoughts to a governing bodies interpretation of scripture is not scriptural and is even further removed from what Christ said was “the Truth. ” He said he was “the Truth.”

        So, if you plan on following scripture why do you replace that by following men who tell you what to believe and tell you that belief is “the Truth? “

  19. Resister says:

    “I am God’s messenger.”
    “What is God’s message?”
    “Give God’s messenger money.”

  20. outandabout says:

    Well lets just say, Resister, that I ‘presume’ you are angry because I’ve noticed that generally, anybody who shows the slightest bit of sympathy towards a JW gets a tongue lashing from you and hey, I was the same. No worries though. Carry on, and I didn’t view that particular post as an emotional outburst from you, it’s just something I gleaned over a period of time. Anybody who has realized they’ve been used by a bunch of parasites has every right to be angry.
    As for your questions about Nazi’s/ Ordinary Germans – the only thing I can say is ‘collateral damage’. War is a very blunt instrument but I sense a misunderstanding between ourselves on that one and is this topic really worth pursuing. What say we just agree that I was right and you were wrong and leave it at that? A joke. I do have supernatural powers though. Nice of you to notice and if you like, I’ll give you a demonstration right now – see this bottle of beer I’m holding up? – now watch it disappear.

  21. Ted says:

    Sure, they’ve published reams of material to alert
    parents and children to the activities and methods
    of perverts, even back in the 50s I was assigned
    a talk in the service meeting on this very subject
    blissfully unaware that they were keeping schtum
    about deviants in their own ranks protecting THEM,
    and protecting THEMSELVES not the CHILDREN.
    1006 pedos in Australian congs, not one prosecution
    not one name published, Oh for the opportunity
    to give that talk in the service meeting again !

    • outandabout says:

      well thats revealing, Ted. If they were publishing pedo alerts to the congregation back in the 50’s, that means they had abuse problems even back then while maintaining they were the cleanest and only and were happy to have the cong. crow their heads off with delight when the Catholic abuse became news. It’s indeed a long way down from a very high horse. How embarrassing.
      Thanks for sharing that.

  22. Ted says:

    Outandabout, Yes they certainly did have the pedo problem
    in the 50s though non of us knew of it, those figures revealed
    by the ARC, reach back to that time, also the publisher numbers
    were under the million mark and began stagnating so they geed
    us all up by telling us the end would be here by 1975, publisher
    numbers rocketed and clearly so did the pedo figures.

    If the figures are less than in the general population as some
    apologists claim, then why don’t they put them out there and
    prove it ?

    • outandabout says:

      even if abuse figures were less than the general population, Ted, thats still too many. The figure for WT should be zero and they should be showing the world how to prevent abuse for any of the claims they have about themselves to be true.
      All they’ve done is show the world how to create and maintain a Pedophile Paradise.
      The Vatican and the WT……. partners in crime. Who would’ve thought.

  23. messenger says:

    Like all of you I understand the need for empathy, compassion, mercy, and that we all make mistakes. But why is it that I can receive a ticket for driving 60 miles an hour in a 50 mile zone, and precedent is just now being set in filing criminal charges against clergy for not reporting sexual child abuse when the law requires they report? Could it be partly because enough people did not tell government agencies, “What the hell are you doing to me and not doing to them? ” Why didn’t we tell? Maybe because of power they have over us?

    If you are very familiar with many of Judge Rutherford’s teachings around 1920 you might agree with me that he sounded like a nut. Why didn’t they tell him that? Maybe for the same reason. Power is one reason people follow WT.

    • Tranquillo says:

      Messenger? Is it really you? You sound quite confused, usually I do understand you ewell enough but now I have problems getting your point

  24. Markie says:

    Since it has been brought up by people on this blog. I would assume that there is probably the same amount of child abuse happening in the witness as in the general public. Maybe even slightly more because JWs are so trusting with their fellow brothers. I take exception to this website because writers and people posting make it sound like there are two or three pedophiles in every congregation, that it is rampant in the organization but there really is no proof to those type of accusations and statements . To my knowledge there has been none in the congregations I have attended. JWs are just people with the same propensities as the rest of the world so why wouldn’t there be sexual perverts?
    The problem is that the brothers do not report it like they should. It should be reported to the authorities first and if the authorities determine there has been sexual abuse then there should be a judicial hearing within the congregation. They are doing it the other way around and it is costing them millions. Easy fix yet they cling to some scriptures in the bible that may or maynot be appropriate to the situation. But I guess they got the cash to pay.

    • eyes opened says:

      Markie are you really surprised that you don’t hear or know of these things, really? How many congregations are in Australia? And yet there were over 1000 abusers that went unreported that we know of. Do you imagine everyone in the congregation was aware? Again I ask you, are you really surprised you don’t know of any cases? You’re right JW’s are not immune to immoral behavior. The ARC very clearly and appropriately used the scriptures to show that the two witness rule need not always apply. For example the maiden in the field who is raped and no one hears her scream, yet her rapist is held accountable. In cases of adultery, the two can be found guilty for spending the night together even though there are no eye witnesses to the act. So why uphold this unreasonable two witness rule with respect to children? It is harmful and doesn’t make sense.

      The two witness rule in Deuteronomy does state for any error or sin, however, the surrounding verses are speaking of murder whether intentional or accidental and also speaking about giving false testimony. This is a very serious thing considering the punishment for murder. The two witness rule would not be unreasonable and remember cities of refuge were provided as well. It does not seem these verses should have any bearing on protecting children. The verses in Matthew 18 start by showing Jesus love for children. Can you imagine a child or the child’s parent telling Jesus that someone raped or molested that child and Jesus saying he needs two witnesses? Whether or not Jesus had the inside track on what happened, his way of handling it would be the example for all. Now the Bible doesn’t have such a case as I’ve described, but again what do you think Jesus would do and even more, expect the brothers to do? Verse 15 talks about if your brother commits a sin and proceeds to explain how to handle it and only if the person doesn’t listen would you involve more people. We are talking about a “sin” you know he kicked my dog, he didn’t return my lawnmower, he cut down my tree, etc. Child abuse goes beyond sin, it is a crime. The two witness rule is inappropriate and I’m confident the brothers and their lawyers no it. Sorry kinda went on a tangent, but it’s things to consider.

      Peace

      • Markie says:

        You missed understood me but I think you want to.

        • eyes opened says:

          Well if you say I misunderstood you then perhaps I did…but for you to say I want to…not so. I don’t have a clue what you would be referring to. You have accused me but haven’t explained. I don’t intentionally look for trouble on this sight. I appreciate the open conversation encouraged on this sight.

          Regards

      • messenger says:

        Learning more and more about the men running this organization convinces me more and more that the number one rule they follow is whatever they feel best serves the organization at any particular time when confronted with any delima. They choose to disobey Ceasar’s laws and use their presentation of their two witness rule as an excuse.

        Consider this. I own the 4th edition of Crisis of Conscience printed in 2004 while the first edition was printed in 1983. The book is so damaging to the Society that logical thought tells me the Society would have sued Ray Franz’s, who was earning his living as a Gardner, after the first edition came out if libel could be proven. If that happened Watchtower would have obtained a court order injunction causing Ray Franz’s removal of falsified information. Here is just one of the many points of information contained in both the first edition and the addition I have which was printed 20 years laterallowing Watchtower 20 years to have the information removed from publication. Nathan Norr was president at a 1975 governing body meeting. During that period he exercised absolute veto power over all information the Society printed. During that meeting when a discussion of 1914 came up he said, “I know some things, I know that Jehovah is GodI, I know that Christ is God Son, I know there will be a resurrection, but I don’t know about 1914,I hope we’re right. Shortly after that in1980 the Society disfellowshipped 6 New York staff members for not believing some of the Society’s teachings and asked Ray Franzto resign and to leave. Furthermore circuit overseers were given a letter instructing them to tell elders to disfellowshipped JWs merely for not believing teaching of Watchtower, even if they were not sharing their divergent beliefs with others.

        To me the purpose of this double standard is obvious. Let us do what we believe is best and most protective of Watchtower at all times in every situation. To me that explains the logic in the positions it put forth better than any comments it makes about following scriptural principles. This incident I shared is just one of a slew of double standards I learned of.

    • Tranquillo says:

      Markie, how would you know of sexual abuse in your congregation? Unless you are an elder of course. Otherwise nobody speaks and elders tell everybody to just shut their mouths up. I know of only a few sexual abuses in the congregation (not child abuses) and they were dealt with just as usual. Quiet things up, leave it in the hands of Jehova, avoid the reproach on the name of Jehova, blaming the victims. Just the standard procedure

      • Markie says:

        You answered your own question. And yes I would have heard.

        There is not child abuse in every corner of every congregation. A thousand alleged cases over a 50 years does not translate to every congregation.

        Do you think all the cases in Australia are true? Could it be possible that some of the cases are false? Do you know what happened in all the reported cases? I think not. Its just people here just want to assume the very worst and carry it to the extreme even though they do not have all the facts because it suits their needs.

        One actual case is one too many. The way the brothers are handling it is obviously wrong and they are being punished for it.

        • Ricardo says:

          @Markie, I think that what is making people upset is the lack of seriousness shown by leadership in this matter. Can you imagine an airline company which has a plane crash simply paying a fine because the company has lots of money, but not fixing the fault in their planes? Instead of this, we see when a plane goes down there is an immediate investigation started. And when the fault is found, all airlines are to make immediate changes.

          Watchtower leadership has not done an investigation. The ARC did. WT leadership made no changes. The ARC made WT change in Australia, but those changes were not implemented worldwide. What has been implemented worldwide is a coverup: the elders are saying they know nothing, and they aren’t wanting to know anything. The GB on the broadcasts say to trust them completely and don’t listen to those rumours of court cases.

          And while all this coverup is going on, little children are being molested . And how can a 4-year-old kid make a police report against his father who is molesting him? It’s absurd! The elders who know about it could make a police report but they don’t. And that is disgusting! And that makes people angry.

          And the kids who are being molested don’t just hurt now . They hurt for their whole life. And some of us care about that. We care a lot!

          This lack of seriousness shown by leadership, the slowness to make changes, the coverup, come across as uncaring and callous.

          That perpetrators get away scot free is incredibly disturbing.

          The rank and file are under so much pressure. I didn’t get my yearly hours by 1 hour (839 hours) and the elders were at my door shouting at me and wanting me to step down from being an RP. And yet those same elders could be raping little children and getting away with it.

          Do you understand now why many people are angry about the child sex abuse happening in the congregations?

          We see the Catholic church make big changes to fix their problem. And WT leadership do nothing. But in the last Kingdom News we distributed it said: Even churches that condemn immorality have tolerated religious leaders who have sexually abused children.

          Were we criticising false religion with that statement? Or criticising ourselves?

        • tranquillo says:

          Markie, I also heard, but many years after the facts… and only a little part of them. Anyway, I think that the right approach when dealing with Child Sex Abuse is to start acting like all cases are true, not the opposite as WT does.
          Furthermore, it is worth reminding some of the conclusions reached by the Royal Commission. Data were finally provided by WT itself

          “• 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 my books, that’s allowing sexual predators to continue doing harm.

          disfelloshipped on more occasions without reporting to the police.

    • John Redwood says:

      I am going to agree with a number of statements made by Markie, but not all, at least entirely.

      First, I would agree that child abuse, domestic abuse and other forms of abuse exist in many organizations, including non-religious organizations. I would agree that yes there’s more of this in the JW organization, but the operative word here is the definition of “slightly more.” None of us have ALL of the facts, so we work with a variety of indicators. Are there “two or three” pedophiles in every congregation?

      This question has MANY answers, because we have to define all of the parameters. Such as – do we mean two or three pedophiles in each congregation over the past 10 years? 20 years? 50 years? Or do you mean at this very instant in time? And do you mean accused or convicted pedophiles, or do you mean those who have only been accused? Or those who have touched children but never been formally accused. It’s easy to see that numbers can be misleading if not defined properly.

      In my own experience, I know of close to 15 pedophiles I can think of off the top of my head in the area where I grew up. The number of victims was far more, because these perpetrators abused between 2 and 12 victims each over the course of many years. This is very common with pedophiles or sexual predators. Of all the predators I know personally, this number would most definitely reflect 2-3 per congregation, but this does not mean that this is the case in every city and every country.

      So from my comments above, you could call this anecdotal information. It’s not scientific by any means – but I can assure you it is true. And this is just for 5-6 local congregations I am familiar with, and does not include congregations where I was not aware of local scandal and drama. You can be sure that most cases are covered up, particularly given Watchtower’s policies over the past 50 years, before they were forced into complying with mandatory reporting laws in many states.

      I have sampled other areas where I have personally reviewed documents from 15 congregations in one region of the US. Based on those congregations, there were at least 1.5 pedophiles per congregation over an approximate 20-25 year period.

      When I have compared that data to the Australian Royal Commission Data, the number of predators per congregation over a decades-long span (of 20-40 years or so) yielded the same approximate number of 1-2 pedophiles per congregation. We have done other extrapolations based upon settled court cases in various areas with similar results.

      At the end of the say I don’t think it matters much whether there is 1 pedophile per congregation or three. Any child abuse is one too many, so this leaves us with the important questions, which are:

      1) Why did this happen?
      2) How should it have been dealt with?

      I agree with Markie that the bottom line is that any cases should have been reported to the authorities, then the judicial committees can render their own “spiritual” judgment as they see fit within the belief system of their religion.

      A lot of focus has been placed on the infamous 2 Witness rule- but in my opinion the real issue is the fact that JWs immediately pick up the phone and call the elders when there is a “sexual sin” – instead of calling the police. This is because they are trained to think this way – that elders are their final resource for all spiritual matters – and they consider any sexual contact a spiritual matter – regardless of what the law says. If there is a murder they will not hesitate to call the police. But if a JW touches a child – the first call is not to the police – it is to the elders, who then call the legal department.

      As Markies said, the fix is simple. And frankly, JWs can go on believing anything they wish without their religion being compromised by the civil authorities. But again – this is not how the JW religion works, and yes it is costing them millions. There is an arrogance and a complete reliance upon their 1st Amendment rights in the US, which they believe grants them immunity when it comes to how they handle things like pedophilia. This arrogance and unwillingness to change their policies is becoming deadly to the JW organization. They are damned either way. If they change, JWs will question such radical changes and might lose their faith. If they do not change, they will continue putting children at risk. They put themselves in this position. The policies go back many decades.

      One of the biggest problems is the concept that a JW should never bring reproach upon Jehovah by taking anohter JW to court – and this would include testifying in a child abuse case, or in allowing a child to tell the authorities what happened to them, then letting the police sort it all out. They do not trust the civil authorities, because they firmly believe they are controlled by Satan. This belief will ultimately be one of the causes of their demise.

      It seems the only area where Markie and I disagree on this particular subject is the “proof” of how many pedophiles there are across the globe, within the JW organization. Truth is, we will never know. But I think the public perception is valid when you consider how many have come forward – and not just from the US, but from all over Europe, Australia, the UK and elsewhere. Truth is – we are just getting started with this investigation, and I will be long dead as the investigations continue. Hopefully before then we will have the laws firmly in place which will apply to ALL religions and organizations, and the JWs will obey them.

      If they don’t, they will lose all credibility as a so-called Christian denomination, along with a whole lot of financial resources. Child abuse is just one of many problems they are faciing – and only time will reveal the end to this saga.

      • Markie says:

        My experience is totally different from yours. I have been a jw for many decades and have only heard of one case of sexual abuse and it happened to a good friend (and she stopped it before it got very far). And I have lived all over the US and South America. So if I were to use my experience as my point of reference than I would have to conclude that it hardly ever happens. But obviously that’s not true.

        The problem is that it is a huge organization who’s leaders were never trained to critically think.

        I think they will have to change their position and eventually they will. Then the will come up with some excuse as to why they changed.

        • John Redwood says:

          I definitely believe your experience. There are some who absolutely never experience any JW abuse cases. And there are many reasons for this. First, it’s entirely possible that a congregation never dealt with it in any given location. Then there are other congregations which experience it four or five times.

          Second, much of it is concealed from rank and file JWs, with only elders knowing about the accusations. This happens all the time. Elders who are faithful JWs do not ever talk about child abuse for a litany of reasons, and I am sure you can list those reasons yourself.

          Third, many cases do not come to light until after you leave the organization. In my case this is very true. There was one pedophile in my congregation as a child who molested more kids than I could ever count – but it was so well concealed that I never knew this until he was long dead. He lived until 99 years of age, and was molesting JW kids for at least 3 or more decades, well into his 90s. Once I left the JW org, I began running across many of his victims, and the stories are horrific. There are many many more – some who simply won’t talk about it, and others who are loyal JWs (even bethelites) and who won’t bring it up for that reason.

          I will give you another example – while I was a ministerial servant, I conducted a bookstudy for an entire year in the Kingdom Hall – it was the Thursday daytime bookstudy. The elders informed me that one JW sister could not comment – but they could not tell me why. As it turns out- after I left the organization, a female victim who read one of my Fessler articles came forward and told me that this JW woman had molested her right inside the women’s room at the kingdom hall! Needless to say – I absolutely had no idea that she had done this, and I could have easily gone in field service with her along with other children. And by the way – this JW woman and child molester is a very active JW who has been traveling amidst multiple congregations. She is also a massage therapist who is tied to a male JW massage therapist who sexually assaulted at least 7 women I know of – 5 of whom sued him and the massage school he worked for.

          Then there was another JW man named Tom who molested his own daughters, but roams freely as an active JW, with the congregation being unaware of his crimes.

          Then there’s a JW bank president who molested JW boys, but whose actions were once again – covered up by the elders.

          Then there was the woman whose daughter accused the elder who baptized me of molesting her. This woman sued the elders for a different reason – and was disfellowshipped. But now that I am out, it has become apparent that this elder did more than just molest this daughter, he had an affair with a prominent JW pioneer sister.

          Oh and that pioneer sister later married a close friend of mine, who as it turns out was turned in for child pornography – in fact, one of my local elders told me that he would never be an elder again (Thank god for that)

          There are many more cases I know of just in my local area – and I think that I now know of so many because I was willing to listen to many people talk about what happened to them, and hear corroborating stories from other persons. I was in the org for 46 years, which is another reason I know so many persons in my area. I have traveled around the world and visited a hundred congregations – but I can tell you that there is no way I would hear of abuse cases in these remote areas and countries, because when you travel as a JW, for the most part you don’t hear the dirty laundry of the place you are visiting. Mostly the locals keep this to themselves – and as you know the elders harbor most of these secrets. And sadly – the police were never notified in nearly every case.

          • Markie says:

            If you look at Australia for example as we know there are currently almost 800 congregations. The RAC reported that there was just over 1000 cases of unreported (to the authorities) child abuse cases reported to the Australian branch office in a 50 year period. So if you assume an average of 400 congregations over the same 50 years that translates into 2.5 cases of alleged child abuses cases per congregation over a 50 year time period. That actually does not seem like it is rampant at all like many here on this website seem to believe. That makes it seem to me that it is actually a fairly rare occurrence among JWs congregations. Probably inline with many organizations and maybe even way less. I am aware that there could be some cases (maybe many) that have not been reported to the branch but there could also be a certain percentage of the 1000 cases reported that are false.

            Please don’t start screaming that I am trying to minimize the situation etc etc… I am not. I am just trying to put the numbers in to perspective.

            Like it has been said many times one case is too many. And do believe the situation is being handled totally wrong by the GB.

          • John Redwood says:

            Don’t worry – I don’t “scream”. I am interested in facts, not just emotional responses. I am not disputing your viewpoint. I would only say that despite my personal knowledge of many hundreds of cases of abuse, plus data from the ARC and other sources, I don’t think that any of us will ever have complete figures on child abuse, either in the JW organization or within other organizations.

            I think there are many many factors at play here. Even if we only had one or 2 cases per congregation over a 50 year period, the real question in my mind is “What has been the policy of the organizations in handling such abuse?”

            If you take the example of one pedophile who molested dozens of girls in my hometown, if this man had been reported to the police by the elders (or anyone) – then most likely these other girls would not have been harmed, even if he did not go to jail immediately. Fear of incarceration is not the only deterrent – but it is a deterrent.

            Unfortunately, many pedophiles have known for years that the JW organization is one of several places where a person can become close with children, and babysit or get them alone and molest them without consequence. This is how pedophiles operate. They know that even if they are accused by a child, most likely the parents will only speak to the elders and not the police.

            Times are changing, and we are all trying to be part of the solution here. But Watchtower (and the Catholic Church) are fighting progress. I have said it before – when you believe that your religion is superior to the civil authorities, you will behave in a manner which places children at risk. We can throw out the arguments against the 2 Witness rule if we simply forced Watchtower to advise ALL parents and others to contact the police FIRST before contacting the elders. Let the professionals handle the matter. The JW organization does not trust the professionals, as we know.

  25. messenger says:

    Yes it is messenger Tranquillity, the same one as before. I’m typing for the first time on a cell phone, and this auto FILL placed a lot of Mispelled words in my other two comments creating these new comments more error prone than before. I hope you are doing well.

    In that comment above I just expressed disgust that precedent is just being set for filing CRIMINAL charges against clergy for breaking criminal laws and not replying child abuse. Then I elaborated on a possible contributory reason. But I couldn’t stop there. I had you tie that possible reason to the same probable reason people didn’t tell Rutherford he sounded like a nut when he kept putting forth false predictions after other failed false predictions around the 1920 era. That reason being fear of the power he wielded.

    Ricardo I answered your email and gave you an address I check more frequently. Sorry I took so long. I just today after months went back to that other email address you have and retrieved the message you sent about a month ago. Take care my brother.

  26. messenger says:

    No worries Ricardo.

    TRANQUILLO sorry I spelled your name your as tranquility. I think I punched it correctly, but auto-fill changed it. It’s making me look like an educated fool or that I’m from the uneducated school.

  27. outandabout says:

    well that’s thrashed that one out and I found John Redwoods comment very interesting because I also found the abuse figures hard to believe. I figured the numbers from the ARC would be correct but something still didn’t gel.
    The Jehovah Witnesses imagine they’re being singled out over this abuse issue and it’s ‘another sign’ but the truth is the Watchtower, along with a few other deluded 1st Century fools is only caught in a net as the world tries to rid itself of injustices. With thinking nations addressing issues such as gender inequality, bullying, sexism, etc, pressure is brought to bear on these cults because their very existence relies on the continuation of such injustices and they’re all backed up by scripture from the bible, y’know, that man made, mind forged manacle that never fails to prove itself wrong. These cults are victims of the times and the noose is slowly tightening but deserve not an ounce of sympathy.
    That WT ban by Russia is quite good really because it has allowed us to see what happens when you defy the Watchtower and Jehovah – nothing happens, no rioting, no meteors, no ground opening up. Definitely a sign though – a sign of Watchtowers increasing impotency. Another comedown accompanied by muttering and an unwillingness to talk about it.

  28. Ted says:

    Child abuse is right there in the bible, 1 kings ch,1,
    they searched the kingdom for a beautiful virgin
    to warm up the 70 year old dying David, they came up
    with 12 year old Abishag who would have no choice
    in the matter, it was men’s decision. Bible defenders
    will say David never touched her, the fact is he couldn’t
    manage it.

    Arranged or forced child marriage goes on today in
    over 20 lands mostly in places where men dominate
    women, and religion dominates men, but organisations
    and individuals are starting to resist these oppressive
    inequalities. Change, progress, evolution is slow but
    sure, eventually religion will be like the appendix a
    vestigial leftover something we can live without and
    certainly won’t miss, some of us are there already!

  29. outandabout says:

    I see more than one reason for JW’s not reporting child abuse to the authorities – one is their distrust of the authorities, but is that also only an excuse? Having pedophiles in the congregations under Jehovahs loving gaze is a very bad look for a cult claiming to be the ultimate. Having the rank and file joins the dots is a real concern and in the early days when abuse numbers were low it would have been easy to sweep the matter under the carpet and wait for Jehovah but now the numbers have ballooned, they risk financial ruin and well as people waking up. The need for them to contain the issue is very strong.

  30. Markie says:

    Redwood- I didn’t necessarily mean you were screaming. Some of the others pounce on what I was trying to say. When you put the numbers in perspective it isn’t like a molester is hiding behind every literature counter.

    As you can see from my posts I do think the GB has it ass backwards and for some reason and can not see the need to change. So its costing them millions in other people’s money. I guess that’s why they don’t see the need to change.

    I think the child abuse situation is horrible. But I don’t think its worse then any other religion. Other religions do not get involved in such situations. It boggles my mind that they can’t see the most obvious and easiest solution to a multi million dollar situation.

    • John Redwood says:

      Yes, this is a complex multi-faceted issue in which Watchtower is painting themselves into a corner, from where it sit. Whether it is worse than the problem in other religions really comes down to how you define “worse.”

      In other words, do you mean worse in the number of cases of pedophilia per congregation member? Or worse in how it is dealt with? – and so forth.

      My personal opinion is that it is worse for several reasons. In fact, one of those reasons is a matter of great pride among JWs – their global insular community. It’s sort of like saying that you enjoy living under a plastic bubble because that bubble protects you from the rain – but then you find out that the bubble also traps in moisture and leads to mold and all sorts of other problems. So the very thing which they believe protects them causes their own members incredible harm.

      But that is the nature of the JW faith – they are intentionally “separate from the world” – if they began to open up and trust the authorities, they would internally feel they are losing control.

      My articles clearly point out the massive flaws in the JW system of doing things, and if I were not so vocal in publishing this information, it might never come to light among JWs. The Watchtower organization has placed blinders and earmuffs of JWs such that they do not trust the media, let alone “apostate” websites. so the cry must be pretty loud to get their attention.

      This Delaware case is a good example. Watchtower would never release these court documents, especially the settlement agreement. They do not wish to appear guilty, by any standards. The settlement itself was an attempt to get the court to sign off on their non-admission of guilt. It’s interesting how our legal process works here in the US. An organization like Watchtower can pay the fines, go to mandatory training classes, and send mandatory reporting materials to all congregations in Delaware, but if questioned they will simply say that they did not admit guilt, and it was a private settlement.

      Well this is fine for a private citizen, but for an organization with 8 million followers, it seems a bit disingenuous and non-transparent, particularly given Watchtower’s past history of shouting legal victories from the rooftops. Remember, Watchtower has been very critical of past foreign nations mentioned in the Bible for their lack of “candor.” This was used as proof that the Israelites we God’s true organization- since they were honest about their failings. For example – King David, among others – committed sins which were death penalty sins – yet he is extolled as one of the most faithful ever. So where is Watchtower’s candor and honesty and transparency? It does not exist. They are supposed to be putting their trust in Jehovah, yet it seems they are putting more trust in the legal department located in Patterson New York- and in locations around the globe.

      I find it all very fascinating – and far different from the JW organization which was presented to me as a child.

      • Big B says:

        Firstly, a great article John! Hopefully this will be used as an example in the other 49 states and territories that make up the United States.

        Secondly, the Organization that both of us remember as children has long since passed away. More intrusive in their adherents lives than ever before, this is not in anyway, shape, fashion or form a reasonable representation of 1st century Christianity but an aberration of what Christ taught his followers.

        What this is is a man made, rouge, Adventist cult based on the misguided, drunken teachings of J.F. Rutherford who though too busy to evangelize from door to door himself had absolutely no problem sending others out with his prophetic messages. Who can forget those one word titles of spiritual “truth” such as Children, Enemy’s, Life, Vindication, Deliverance, etc. His “Truth” no longer believed or taught, on the scrap heap of failed prophecy.

        And just like the ‘1975’ prophecy all of his nonsense proved to be D.O.A. (dead on arrival). Jehovah’s Witnesses are finished as an viable, believable religious organization. Their wild speculations and crazy time lines of the end (2520 years) and their trying to prove Jesus to be a liar about who knows when the end will come (they believe that they do as God’ earthly organization) in addition to their pedofile protection policies are finally doing them in.

        Which begs the question, how does one boil a live frog? By placing the frog in a pot of room temperature water and then, ever so slowly, increase the temperature. Before Mr. Frog knows it his ‘goose is cooked’, literally! That’s how this Society has changed from what we remember as children, John. Slowly, ever so slowly. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, there is absolutely no way I would have ever gotten baptized back in 1969 had I had an inkling of what this dystopian organization has turned into!

        The saddening part of this whole situation is this; the rank and file have no voting power or say so in who make up the Elders or the Governing Body. Complaint is forbidden, those who do are ostracized or worse (just ask Ricardo) so that leaves one other option namely, voting with your feet.

        That’s my advice to all who are weary of servitude to this Orwellian, dystopian nonsense calling itself “God’s Earthly Organization”. Those that stay in are fooling themselves if they think for one minute that God will straighten matters out. That is not God’s m.o. (method of operation). A quick glance at the scriptures proves that his m.o. is to “destroy and replace”, period! It’s just a matter of time. “The wheels of justice grind slow, but they grind fine”.

  31. Ted says:

    They’re never wrong are they even when it’s proven
    to be so, it’s always someone else’s fault Satan,
    evil men who have infiltrated the org, apostates,
    the whole world, or its you who’s wrong not them.
    We’ve all come in contact with individuals like that
    and for our own peace of mind we give them the
    elbow,

    • Ricardo says:

      Well said, Ted.

      • outandabout says:

        and it doesn’t really matter what the child abuse numbers really are, the main thing is having a spotlight shone on this organisation and highlighting a major injustice the whole world can relate to and where there is no scripture the WT can offer as an excuse for such abuse and this paves the way for the examination of the whole doings of this dumb cult.

  32. Whip It says:

    I served for over 20 years as both an Elder & MS, i never sat in a case involving CA, i did sit in a forum at a Elders School about the subject & in Private disagreed with the CO on how to handle a pedo that moves into the Cong, I was at the KH when the local police carried out a search Warrant looking for a letter pertaining to a Man who moved in with a past, subsequently told that the letter had been hidden, In our Cong we had a case that was dealt with on the quiet, it involved a number of young girls related to the Man, he even offended at the local hall, one of the relatives was working for the Police, spoke out, he was arrested, charged & Jailed, disfellowshiped, Released & Re-instated, died & had his funeral at the Hall, which i refused to attend, the official line was he pleaded guilty to not bring reproach to Gehova. After i stopped serving a good friend of mine was involved in a huge case in a neighboring Town, it was huge, generational< if they could exhume dead family members their would have been more, sadly one of the Victims, The Pedo's own Daughter committed suicide a few years ago, leaving behind a husband & four Children, the perpetrators all continue to go unpunished. I live in a small community with a number of Congregations around me, so i would say that it is a problem, When you put the JW next to the Catholics on a number scale we are far worse, it all makes me so sick because at the end of the Day the Org comes down to this, to admit a problem would be Guilt & then oh yes the Money, The elder who hid the letter from the police got on the Platform & said we do not hide information from the Police.

    • outandabout says:

      Thanks for that, Whip it. We need to hear accounts like yours. The money is a huge concern alright and admitting any wrong doing over this issue will not only open the floodgates to litigation but could also start a stampede for the door which could be a double whammy for the WT by way of millions being payed out and the contributions drying up at the same time and this is why they must never ever admit anything.

      The WT has over 23,000 offenders, not victims, on file. Offenders left unchecked can end up abusing multiple children so the actual abuse numbers will be much higher than the 23,000. A number of victims and perps will be dead by now but the WT has to imagine the worst case scenario if they opened up and if 5000 abuse victims received one million each they know they will be sunk. All they can do is stall and pray to be rescued real soon by Armageddon, which means they won’t be rescued.

  33. Gwen says:

    I know of 4 child abuse cases plus a rape of a young girl at a party that were never reported. I told the ARC of them but I don’t know what became of them. I know that there were a number of cases with the ARC that didn’t have enough evidence (files were not found), that didn’t go further than that. The Police Commissioner that interviewed us told us that. So there would be many that never see the light of day because not only the congregation wants it hidden but some victims do too.

    The number of abuses are hard to fathom because it’s a generational thing as well. Not that long ago, it was the norm to just keep things silent for the sake of family, society or organisational appearances. Plus sometimes it’s just too traumatic for someone to have to go down the path of exposing something that made them feel so shameful & they deal with it in their own way.

  34. Whip It says:

    Gwen, Terrible things that have happened, so sad, A few of us when we had little kids growing up were so careful with them, we wouldn’t even let them go door to door with anyone else, & very reluctantly let them sleep over at another house because we were well informed that the rock spiders hide very well, we were criticized for this, not letting our Kids widen out, what a lot of crap, i pray for the demise of this sick cult.

  35. messenger says:

    A very pleasant and interesting interview on John Cedars videos is Apostasy Special: A conversation with Daniel Kokotajlo

  36. “A third requirement mandated by Delaware included the signing of an affidavit stipulating that Jehovah’s Witness elders must comply with all Delaware statutes involving the reporting of child abuse.”

    This is presented as though it represents a setback to the JW organization. In fact, it is exactly what Geoffrey Jackson pleaded for three times before the Australian Royal Commission: Make mandatory reporting laws universal, across the board, everywhere. Then it would “make our job so much easier.”

    Why should he have to make that plea as late as 2017? Given the present crusade over child sexual abuse, by now quite long-in-the-tooth, seemingly no policy change should be easier. And if this is the patchwork of conflicting laws in 2017, it is not hard to envision what it was in the 80s and 90s, the time period from which almost all of these cases stem, where the prevailing ‘crime’ is not going ‘beyond the law’ with regard to reporting. If it is so crucial to go beyond the law, then surely that should become the law. Condemning ones for not going beyond the law simply allows for Monday morning quarterbacking, assigning invariably bad motives to persons or organizations who are not liked.

    My take is that this Delaware stipulation will make Jehovah’s Witnesses quite happy. It alleviates a situation full of minefields for those who feel the responsibility of policing their own for all types of wrongdoing, not just this one. It also means they can pursue their ‘two-witness’ rule to their heart’s content (one witness being the victim him/herself, another perhaps a similar report of the same perpetrator) without thwarting the interests of the State, which proceeds with different standards of proof.

    If a crime is heinous enough, you want somebody to go to jail for it. But we are routinely reading of persons exonerated and released from prison after doing decades of time, convicted over ‘proof’ less strenuous than ‘two-witness’ and finding justice only with the advent of new DNA evidence. That is why Witnesses are not in a hurry to abandon the two-witness standard, a biblical principle which, until recently, was bedrock to Western law. But again, with universal reporting law, it all becomes superfluous. Both can pursue their own missions, neither thwarting the other.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy with this development, I predict. It is a win-win.

    • Ricardo says:

      @Tom, your explanation sounds like a cop-out. Pathetic really. That Watchtower can’t do the decent thing is something to be disgusted about, not become an apologist.

      It has always been the case that when God’s law conflicts with man’s law, JW’s obey God rather than men. The ARC makes it compulsory for even allegations of child sex abuse to be reported. WT complies, because it isn’t against God’s law (good). It is the decent thing to do.

      Does WT carry this policy worldwide? No! Only in Australia! Why? WT cites the 2 witness rule. What a load of excrement. If it is not against God’s law and it is the decent thing to do, why not implement compulsory reporting of allegations worldwide? If WT cared about the children WT would do it. So why doesn’t WT do it? It is this simple question which makes me and many others very angry. What does WT’s inaction imply? That rather than focussing on the victims, WT leadership are focussed on themselves.

      And like a supermarket that focusses on management rather than customers, WT will go bankrupt. What is so frustrating is that it doesn’t need to be like this. It isn’t Christian. It isn’t spiritual. It is selfish and fleshly. Yet leadership tell us to trust them completely and they continue the conspiracy of silence, sweeping it all behind the curtain.

      For those of us who have seen behind the curtain, it is disgusting. That a court has to force leadership to do the decent thing makes some JW’s feel appalled, not happy as you state. But the bigger question is : how does Jehovah feel?

      And when we remember tender Jesus with the little children in his arms, we know how God feels. And he isn’t an apologist.

    • John Redwood says:

      Tom

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I tried my best to present this article as fact-based and without excessive hyperbole and personal commentary.

      So – when I mentioned the third mandate for the Delaware elders, I tried to be as matter of fact as I could. That being said – do you really feel that Geoffrey Jackson was pleading with the Commission to make mandatory reporting laws universal? The reality is that Jackson and his attorneys did everything possible to evade testimony. Jackson was only willing to testify AFTER he had received his subpoena. Not only was he unwilling to cooperate, he failed to read or review the testimony of the two primary victims who had experienced some of the worst horrors ever experienced by a JW, both due to their abuse and their treatment by the elders. If Jackson had read anything, it should have been their testimony.

      The Delaware stipulation does not make Jehovah’s Witness elders happy- as they are further pinched between the Watchtower legal department and the laws of Delaware. For them- not much has changed. They still are required to call the legal department of WT first when an allegation of abuse is brought to their attention. If they contact the police first – they face serious discipline from the organization and would likely lose their positions. This happened not long ago in Ireland, where two elders were deleted for speaking to the police about an abuser without consent from Watchtower UK headquarters.

      As for the notion that criminals are sometimes falsely accused of crimes- we all know that those instances are but a tiny minuscule fraction of cases involving confirmed crimes. The mere suggestion that we should turn justice over to the elders and their antiquated two witness rule is the height of ignorance and the worst possible notion. Let’s get to the point here – elders are window washers and tradesmen and have no business carrying on with closed-door meetings in which they judge whether or not an allegation of child abuse is real or fabricated. We let the professionals handle that – period. There is no one in the world better qualified to investigate and help children than the men and women who spend their lives training in this field. The reality is that I do not care about this two witness rule – what I care about is that all JWs call the police first before they call anyone else – including the elders.

      Sadly, the JW org will not do this because they feel they are entitled to judge sexual sins themselves, above all other “worldly” authorities. Witnesses are manipulated and trained to call the elders first when any sexual matter is brought to light – just as was the case in Delaware. This is where we have the REAL problem. It’s not the 2 Witness rule- it’s the issue where JWs only trust elders with sexual (and other) matters. This is sickening and sad, and I empathize with the majority of JWs who simply do not know better. They are mentally and emotionally stunted by undue influence, and as a result, tens of thousands of children have been molested, when this never had to happen.

      In the end, when a child makes an allegation of touching or abuse, it is almost never a false allegation. And you can be sure that police investigate these matters thoroughly – and they do not throw people in prison as a result of a false child molestation accusation. They investigate thoroughly and do not simply jail someone because of the word or report of a “single witness.” It’s far more complicated than that, and many specialists are involved. We report on these issues because they represent far greater issues in our society – including the massive control the JW org has over people’s lives, from medical decisions to education choices, to the direction of who to call when a child is abused.

      Times are changing, and thankfully Delaware has been progressive enough to lead the way and hold those responsible who have broken the law.

  37. Ted says:

    MORAL OBLIGATION. A duty which one owes, and which he
    ought to perform, but which he is not legally bound to fulfill.

    Geo,Jacksons plea for mandatory reporting across the board
    is duplicitous, the moral obligation to report criminal abuse and
    to protect the vulnerable is as old as mankind, it supersedes
    any legalistic system. Even the Bible teaches that ! Matt, 12:12.

  38. outandabout says:

    I think what Tom basically said is that Geoffrey Jackson told Satans Court ( the Australian Royal Commission) that if Satan’s corrupt world were to pass a law making the reporting of child abuse mandatory, Satan would be helping Jehovah (the Watchtower) enormously by forcing morality upon him simply by making him go against his own law even though Jehovah has promised death and destruction for not following said laws.
    I’m confused. Jehovah is floundering and has to plead for moral guidance from the epitome of corruption and evil and everything he despises.

    Jehovah can lift heavy weights, but he doesn’t thunk too good.