Jehovah's Witnesses Cover Up Child Sex Abuse
The Jehovah's Witnesses have 8 million worshippers across the world. Most Americans meet them face-to-face on their doorsteps, as worshippers practice "field service" ministry, going door-to-door in neighborhoods throughout the country.
Growing up in Fremont, California, Candace Conti was among them. She recalls ringing doorbells and distributing Bible literature to potential worshippers.
"As a kid, I just remember my whole opening shpiel was, 'Wouldn’t you love to live in a beautiful place like this? There would be no sickness. There would be no death. Your loved ones that had passed away would be brought back to life.'" she remembers. Conti spoke to Trey Bundy, a reporter with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. As Bundy tells The Takeaway, the Witnesses' organization soon became a dark place for Conti.
She claims she was repeatedly molested by an elder member of her church, Jonathan Kendrick. While Kendrick was never prosecuted in criminal court, a civil jury found evidence of wrongdoing.
Bundy's investigation into the Jehovah's Witnesses found that Conti isn't alone—he uncovered a widespread pattern of child sexual abuse and cover-up within the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the Jehovah's Witness global headquarters in New York.
As Bundy explains, the Watchtower instructed local elders to cover-up the abuse—or, in the words of one attorney trying more than a dozen sex abuse cases against the Watchtower, "Keep your mouth shut. Do not go to law enforcement."
Jehovah’s Witnesses use 1st Amendment to hide child sex abuse claims Reveal/The Center for Investigative Reporting