Okay: Who is Barb & What's the "news"?

by lynnmelo 52 Replies latest jw friends

  • FreeWilly

    The idea that disfellowshipping is somehow adequate is ridiculous, yet prevalent in the congregations. JW's are taught to rely heavily on "those taking the lead" to handle matters such as these, and they do. I've had publishers ask me such trivial things as "Is it OK to view Schindlers list" or "Can I vote in my labor union" or "Can I keep my time running if I only take a 10 minute break in field service"? While it's ideal to say parents show go to the police, my experience is that they will not and do not act independent of the congregations elders, because this is precisely how they are taught. JW's are ALWAYS encouraged to seek Elder assistance for matters of conduct and wrongdoing.

    ONLY AFTER the Dateline episode had there been any encouragement for individual JW's to act independently and report matters such as these to the authorities. There is such a heavy dependency on the organization for most JW's that the idea of acting outside of that framework hardly ever occurs.


    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.

    Your experience shows vividly the JW mindset. Apparently, it never occurred to you to call the police? Why weren't the victims immediatly encourage to take the matter to those who are trained to investigate it? Confession, did alerting the police ever come up in your discussions with the Society or fellow elders? When you speak of "investigating", exactly what training is provided for Elders to investigate a rape? - NONE! For nine years a pedophile was likely sheltered because congregation Elders thought their "investigations" and punishments were sufficient. All the while trained investigators and forensic specialists were only a phone call away. Lets face it, JW's are relying on uneducated men to investigate matters for which they are woefully unprepared or equipped to do.

  • Confession

    Hi, Sherry...I'll do my best to respond to your post...

    I was just thinking the same thing, so what, he was disfellowshipped. They say an average paedophile abuses hundreds of children in their lifetime. So lets see the timeline.

    First "known" abuse by Confession. FIVE YEARS later (how many nights or days of abuse in that time?) Confession's JC hears about the abuser. They then DF him. Now its NINE YEARS later and he is still DF'd. Ok, why isn't the bastard in prison? Confession if that person has been abusing kids for 9 years after you FAILED to report him to authorities then you are a conspirator and guilty yourself in the lifetimes of pain and suffering he imposed on the countless kids he came into contact with.

    I hope it makes you as sick to your stomach as it makes me reading your post.


    I don't really know how to respond, Sherry. You're right. The only thing I can offer in my defense is not good enough--but it's all I have. I was born into this system. It's all I ever knew. My parents always told me to listen to the Society. I came to believe this was God's true organization, and that the way we handled things was Jehovah's way. I did not know about the hell so many have gone through.

    I can also say that, in my ignorance, I did not understand for one moment that I was doing anything wrong. From my perspective, I was going to make sure this matter did not get "swept under the carpet." And when it came out in the way it did, all of the family members involved phoned me personally to thank me for my efforts. They never once brought up the idea of our going to the police on this--and none of them were any longer JWs. I imagine that you must also be angry at them. So there's this little bubble we lived in, and that's all we dealt with.

  • Gretchen956

    Confession, I'm not angry so much as I wanted you to understand the entire issue. It seemed that you were saying that you did all you could do and apologizing for the WTS policies. I know how hard this must have been for you, and who knows what I would have done. But I have always been a person that covers all the bases, so I would have probably hedged my bets by telling both the elders and the police.

    I'm third generation and it was all I knew too. They have SO much to answer for.

    Hopefully the statute of limitations has not run out and there is still time to talk to the authorities. Because thats what you should do.


  • Confession

    Odrade, since I can't create any more Topics today, I'll go ahead and try to answer your questions here...

    I also have a couple of questions... Confession, your committee found enough evidence to "convict" the brother to DF'ing, even without his confession. What would have happened in this committee if he had tearfully confessed and behaved repentantly? Would he have been privately reproved, the notes from the JC tucked into a manilla envelope and filed away, with none of the congregation any the wiser that there was a pedophile in their midst?

    Was it the defiance that resulted in the disfellowshipping? Or the molestation? And is it possible that your decision was made easier by the fact that he wasn't repentant and didn't throw himself on the mercy of the committee?

    If he had confessed and we believed he was repentant, there would not have been any choice. The organization is clear: you only DF for lack of repentance. He would not have been privately reproved. Since so many knew of this matter, he would have been publicly reproved. During that Service Meeting there would have been a talk about the subject matter. I'm a litle fuzzy on this, but I also remember one on our committee saying that, in the event he was NOT disfellowshipped, we would have the obligation to inform each family with children of his pedophilia in order to "mark" him. I think the above should answer your remaining questions too. We dealt with "the congregation." We thought we were doing our job to protect "the congregation." I can only speak for myself when I say, I didn't know I should have done anything else. Ignorance? Yes. Cluelessness? Certainly.

  • Confession

    Hi, Gill...

    I would have gone to the police.

    Then you were more "awake" than I was. For me to have gone to the police would have meant believing that the WTS was not what I then believed it was: God's sole channel of communication. Jehovah's organization. Knowing what I know now, I too would have tried to move the individuals to go to the police. And if they didn't, then I would have.

    Why didn't you allow your common sense dictate to you?

    I'm sorry to say that I did not "wake up" until September 15th, 2004. My common sense was only used outside anything the WTS dictated to me.

    I think plenty of elders are in a position to address issues in the congregation; although plenty are not. But NONE of them are in a position to handle such a sensitive matter as pedophilia.

    Tomorrow I'll be able to continue my series on "Former elder wants your advice." There I'll complete the entire story and ask for you advice about exactly what I should do now.

  • lynnmelo

    I really wish people would stop pointing the finger at Confession and telling him what he "should have" done. He admitted (paraphrasing) that he was under the mind control of the Witnesses. It's very easy to sit in the position of now and judge what another person should have done in the past. He was honest enough to reveal what he did here, so give him a break.

  • Confession

    Thanks, Lynn (and AuldSoul and Katie Kitten)...

    This is perhaps the most emotionally charged of ex-JW topics. The only thing I can think of to do is just tell the truth. If there's something I can still do to right any wrongs owing to my former ignorance, I hope I can do that too.

  • FreeWilly

    Sorry if I was harsh.... You're right it is a charged issue. For the record i appreciate your candor and reflection. It helps everyone.

  • Odrade

    Confession, I believe you did handle things the way you say. And I believe you would have warned all the vulnerable in the congregation... you must realize by now, that your congregation was the exception in this matter.
    I grew up in a congregation with a pedophile. His daughter, (that he molested,) was my friend. He tried to fondle me. My father was on his committee. They reported to the police... going beyond what was written they should do. (Of course, the wife and daughters had already reported to the authorities before they were involved, if I have the timeline correct.)
    In spite of his public conviction, there were still many people with children, who did not know of his crimes. None of the elders thought to tell them. Well, maybe they thought, but they didn't actually. I have since learned of two other pedophiles (and a 3rd likely,) who had access to ME, and other children younger, that none of us knew were operating. One of them buddied up quite nicely to my younger brother. My brother and I were two of the MOST protected children in the hall... think of what may have happened to others more vulnerable than I.
    At least two of these child molesters are STILL members in good standing in the congregation. And MY hall had a very "good," non-corrupt, elder body. (Supposedly.) I know my father to be a man of integrity. Yet this is how sexual assault in the congregation was handled. And this is also, shockingly, one of the "better" outcomes.
    Another question: What if you had started on your campaign to warn the other members of the hall about your "repentant" pedophile, and you received a cease and desist call from the C.O., or better yet, from the Bethel Legal Department?
    See, one of the contentions in this community is that, as my dad told me, "No one I know had ever dealt with anything like that. I am sure you know how I feel about such activity. Most of us live with regrets due to our actions or lack of, this is a sick world we live in and it is geting worse moment by moment. Thank you for the reminder. The whole thing saddens me." He was shocked and saddened, but the fact is, he had no experience, and no training, in dealing with child molestation. Yet he was called upon to deal with it. And the protocol does not authorize him to call in trained help. This is where the whole system breaks down. It's unacceptable, it leaves it up to individual interpretation, (or congregational,) of just what exactly did the Society mean by that?
    To be fair, YOU did the "right" thing... as far as your religious control would allow you to do, but you need to see that your actions were the exception. And even in your unusual behavior in attempting to handle this right, you still deferred what was actually right, to believing that it was truly "handled." What is more, your religion dictated that this criminal act be concealed beneath a blanket of religious authority that tricked you into believing that the matter had been concluded. Very dangerous thinking.

  • Confession
    What if you had started on your campaign to warn the other members of the hall about your "repentant" pedophile, and you received a cease and desist call from the C.O., or better yet, from the Bethel Legal Department?

    Good one, Odrade. I just don't know. Again, I was doing the only thing I knew to do, and that was following the guidelines set by the WTS. Maybe Blondie or someone else can come in here with chapter and verse, but my recollection is that, in the scenario in which a pedophile is not disfellowshipped, he is to be "marked." This would have involved letting all those with children know about him.

    If someone told me not to do what the WTS had advised me to do in print, I'd have asked why. If it was the C.O. I think I might not be satisfied. But the Society itself? That's a tuffy. I fear I might have followed their direction, the mind-numbed sheep that I was.

    ...you need to see that your actions were the exception.
    I suppose none of us knows what percentage of cases are handled in the way ours (and yours) were--and what percentage of them are not. But now I certainly know about all the horrendous experiences. I'd no clue about them until I started reading of them myself. I hope soon that all states will require such events to be reported--by family members and churches alike.

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