I've been struggling now for more than a year with the information I've found in this forum and elsewhere about Jehovah's Witnesses and child sexual abuse. To be clear: I am an EX-JW elder who has moved 2500 miles from the only state in which he ever lived as part of his fade from the organization. I am stunned at how my entire family could have been duped by this organization for four generations. That said, I've had difficulty identifying with certain things posted here.
About nine years ago I was the chairman of a judicial committee, handling the case of a fellow elder being accused of pedophilia. Only then did I find out that five years previous he'd been accused of this also. We spoke to brothers from the previous committee. It seems that while they only had one witness, (a 13 year old boy,) they still didn't feel like letting this matter go. So they called the Society and were given the okay to conduct an investigation. They spoke to all the families with children in our congregation--as well as some from other congregations. Apparently they were unable to find other accusers.
So, without any corroborating evidence, they could not conclude that he was guilty of pedophilia. He was counseled for showing poor judgment in allowing young boys to sleep with him in his bed and was removed as an elder.
That brings us up to the committee I was chairing. New information came to light about another accuser, then 24 years old, but who'd been molested by this brother when he was a young boy. So we now had two accusers. We consulted the ks91 (elders' manual,) and found this...
If there are two or three witnesses to the same kind of
wrongdoing but each one is witness to a separate incident,
their testimony can be considered.
We used this as the basis for eventually finding him guilty and disfellowshipping him. Nine years later he is still disfellowshipped because he refuses to own up to it.
This is why--even though I am sickened by the Watchtower Society, and certainly now see the wisdom of letting the authorities do their job--I shake my head every time someone in this forum makes the claim that the Society has always required two or more witnesses to a single event in order to find someone guilty. I remember hearing that in the Dateline episode too--and finding it on the Silent Lambs site. It's just not accurate--at least for many years now. Is this really the first time this has been brought up?
I in no way want to support the WTS--or diminish the pain experienced by so many abuse victims. I just want to provide clarification because it seems that continuing to say this may provide opportunity for detractors to accuse us of not telling the whole truth.