So Dan informs me as to the events of five years previous. Standing out there in front of the Kingdom Hall, I remember having to consciously keep myself from toppling over. I backed up so that my back was against the door. I'd had no experience with pedophilia. None. Nothing like that had ever happened to me personally, and I'd only heard bits and pieces of such experiences from others. So this was quite the bombshell to hear that my best friend had been so accused.
But Dan had even more information.
It seems that he had been speaking with Chad (the 18 year old who'd accused James years ago.) Chad had told Dan exactly what happened, and it triggered a memory Dan had.
He recalled speaking to a good friend of his named Jared. Jared was now 24 years old. Although he'd been raised a Witness, his family had left the organization when he was in his mid-teens. Jared had once said to Dan...
"There are things I could tell you about some of the people in your congregation that would blow your mind."
For some reason, the way Jared made this statement stuck with Dan, and when he heard Chad's story, it made him wonder if their stories were related. Dan remembered that James and Jared had an unusually close relationship when James was a boy. He would often stay the night over James' house.
So he called Jared and asked him what he had been referring to. The conversation was reported to us like this...
JARED: I don't want to get into it.
DAN: C'mon tell me. Did somebody do something to YOU?
DAN: What was it?
JARED: I told you I'm not getting into it, man!
DAN: Did it have anything to do with JT? (These were the initals James often went by as a nickname.)
JARED: (sigh) Yes...
Dan tried to move Jared to come forward about it, but he was told he wouldn't, and it should just be dropped. At the time, Dan told me the second accuser was Jared, but he forbade me from mentioning his name to anyone. He asked me for some time to try and move Jared to come forward on this. I agreed.
Meanwhile I was a zombie. You know that feeling you get, when nothing seems real? Everyone around me in the Kindgom Hall is acting normal, but my ears are ringing, my nerves are trembling, and I have to get through this meeting.
But I just can't... I go outside again, to my car. I turn on my cell phone and call our Presiding Overseer. He was 80 years old and quite ill, not attending any meetings at all during this time. One would think, given the circumstances, that a new P.O. might be assigned, but not usually in congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses. They used to say they liked to let P.O.s die with their boots on. Very cute, but not at all helpful during times like this.
I tell the P.O. what was just reported to me, and he right away brings up the investigation from five years previous. He tells me that later in the day I should contact James and let him know that there is another accusation against him, and that we would be proceeding accordingly.
Coming: PART 3 - Moving the 2nd Accuser to Come Forward