Not a Society apologist!! Believe me!! Just wanting to know what you all think. Does this "sound" fair & balanced, you decide. Click on
or just read the article here:
Does the Policy of the Watchtower Create a Safe Haven for Child Molesters
Many have accused the WTS of promoting child molesting? When I first began to hear what the Silent Lambs organization and Robert King were saying I really did not know the truth of the matter. I thought perhaps it was true. Maybe the WT did coverup for the sake of not bringing reproach on the congregation? But further research into this matter of the WTS and their child abuse policy has revealed the truth about our policy and just how opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses try to hide the facts and mislead others?
Does the policy of the WTS hide child molesters from the law?
According to Silent Lambs and other critics of the WT's child abuse policy the WT publications are full of double speak when it comes to the information that has appeared in the publications. They say while the WTS says out of one corner of its mouth that protecting the children takes top priority and not to keep child abuse hush hush their policy is actually quite the opposite in order to try to put on the appearance of a spiritual paradise and avoid bringing reproach upon the organization. For example, as far back as 1985 the January 22, Awake contradicts what critics say about JWs not putting child protection first. Notice:
First, the child and other children too must be protected from any further abuse. This must be done, whatever the cost. In many cases the accused molester will have to be confronted. But whatever it takes, it is important that the child should feel confident that the molester will never be able to get at her (or him) again.
Second, the child must be given a lot of love and emotional support. Parents must make it very clear that the little victim is not to blame. The crime and anything that happens as a result of it even if a close relative goes to prison is not her (or his) fault. But that reassurance will have to be given many times, so that the victim comes to believe it and to believe that the parents believe it too!
Then the October 8, 1993 Awake again contradicts the critics who say that JWs insist on keeping information about child molesters in house and out of the public eye. It states:
Tragically, adult society often unwittingly collaborates with child abusers. How so? By refusing to be aware of this danger, by fostering a hush-hush attitude about it, by believing oft-repeated myths. Ignorance, misinformation, and silence give safe haven to abusers, not their victims.
However, Time noted that this conspiracy is crumbling at last. Why? In a word, education. It is as Asiaweek magazine put it: "All experts agree that the best defence against child abuse is public awareness." To defend their children, parents must understand the realities of the threat. Don't be left in the dark by misconceptions that protect child abusers and not children.
Some legal experts advise reporting the abuse to the authorities as soon as possible. In some lands the legal system may require this. But in other places the legal system may offer little hope of successful prosecution.
"Its all a bunch of double speak.' say opposers. "In these publications they are speaking of non-JWs but they try to hide child molesting in the congregation because they do not want it to become public and smear the reputation of the organization. They feel this is more important than protecting the children."
Those making such statements are no doubt unaware or are simply trying to cover over and hide the comments found in the January 1, 1997 Watchtower, pp. 26-29 :
Depending on the law of the land where he lives, the molester may well have to serve a prison term or face other sanctions from the State. (The congregation will not protect him from this. )
Instructions to the Elders
But you may have heard from those who criticize the policy of JWs that the elders receive different instructions from the WTS that regular publishers are not aware of. These instructions tell elders to instruct publishers not to go to the police and to keep it within the congregation. But is this really the case or another apostate lie meant to mislead others. Lets see.
A 1988 letter to elders in Canada says:
When to report? There is a duty to report when one has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that there is abuse or a substantial risk of abuse and parents have failed to protect the child. The report shall be mane forthwith to the local child welfare authorities. Sexual offenders are notorious repeaters. Therefore, careful investigation should be undertaken to ensure that no other children are at risk from the same person.
Elders must be aware, however, that once they have knowledge, they have an obligation. They cannot just hope that someone else will report. They must follow through quickly and be sure that it is done.
Here is a 1992 letter to the elders:
As members or the community in which Caesar still acts as God's minister and hence still has a certain authority, all in the Christian congregation would want to consider their personal and moral responsibility to alert the appropriate authorities in cases where there has been committed or there exists a risk that there might be committed a serious criminal offence of this type (see ks91, page 138) In child abuse cases such authorities might include the family doctor, the Social Services, the NSPCC, or the police.
If this is the case why doesn't the Society publically make known their child abuse policy? Why keep it a secret and send letters only to the elders?
Actually they have made it public for anyone who wishes to read it. It is found here for the general public to read:
The Two Witness Rule
The child abuse policy of JWs states:
When any one of Jehovah's Witnesses is accused of an act of child abuse, the local congregation elders are expected to investigate. Two elders meet separately with the accused and the accuser to see what each says on the matter. If the accused denies the charge, the two elders may arrange for him and the victim to restate their position in each other's presence, with elders also there. If during that meeting the accused still denies the charges and there are no others who can substantiate them, the elders cannot take action within the congregation at that time. Why not? As a Bible-based organization, we must adhere to what the Scriptures say, namely, "No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin . . . At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good." (Deuteronomy 19:15) Jesus reaffirmed this principle as recorded at Matthew 18:15-17.
Opposers say this is bad policy since child molesters usually do not molest with others around. This protects the molester and not the child.
To this we say, The rule book is the Bible. Do we just throw that out. The two witness rule is actually a very good rule. In many cases critics do not realize just what the two witness rule entails. Others may know but they don't want you to know and so they try to hide just who or what can serve as two witnesses.
Notice what the WT policy further states along these lines: However, if two persons are witnesses to separate incidents of the same kind of wrongdoing, their testimony may be deemed sufficient to take action.
"Its about time they changed that rule," some may exclaim. "No doubt credit can be given to Bill Bowen and his SilentLambs organization for this change." But the truth is that this was stated as far back as 1981 in the Pay Attention to the Flock Book. It instructs on page 119: If there is another witness to the same type of sin on the part of the accused, this would be basis for forming a judicial committee.
Making application of this directive, given long before Silent Lambs even existed, we know that two different children who are molested on separate occasions by the same person would qualify as the two witnesses. Other information from the WTS has revealed that the two witnesses do not have to both be children who were molested or persons who saw the molesting. It can be the court evidence and the child. It can be the DNA evidence and the child. But how would it be right if someone was DFed on the word of only one person. The bottom line is that it is unscriptural to disfellowship someone at the mouth of one witness. Surely God's word should take precedent over the thinking of imperfect men.
But doesn't the November 1, 1995 WT, pp. 28-29 contradict this aspect of the two witness rule? Doesn't it say that "even if more than one person remembers abuse by the same individual", this would not be enough evidence to "base judicial decisions on them without other supporting evidence."? Isn't this just more double-speak by the WTS?
No, it is not. A reading of the entire article and taking note of the context and what is being discussed in that particular WT, we see that the article is talking about repressed memories. That is why at the start of the article there is a footnote which says, " "Repressed memories" and similar expressions are enclosed in quotation marks to distinguish them from the more typical memories that all of us have."
Experts agree that repressed memories cannot always be trusted and false memories are sometimes implanted in a person's mind. And that is why the WT article states, "It is noteworthy, however, that a number of individuals have been unable to corroborate their "memories." Some afflicted in this way have had vivid recollections of a certain individual committing abuse or of the abuse being committed in a specific place. Later, though, legitimate evidence to the contrary made it clear that these "remembered" details could not be true."
Then later in the article the statement in question is made that is often taken out of context by opposers of JWs: "Even if more than one person "remembers" abuse by the same individual, the nature of these recalls is just too uncertain to base judicial decisions on them without other supporting evidence." It is only in the case of repressed memories, and not the typical normal memories, that this applies. There is absolutely no contradiction here with JW's stated child abuse policy.
Reporting the information to the WTS
The policy continues: However, even if the elders cannot take congregational action, they are expected to report the allegation to the branch office of Jehovah's Witnesses in their country, if local privacy laws permit.
Opposers critisize the fact that the WTS stresses the importance of reporting the allegations to the headquarters. But there is a very good reason why. The WTS wants to make sure that each case is handled correctly. They want to make sure that the body of elders do not disregard their policy and thus cause problems for all involved. Can you imagine the criticism that would be heaped upon the Society if they said please do not call Bethel in cases of child molesting? Elders should handle it themselves.
I talked to an elder not long ago and asked him what to do in the case of child molesting and he said the first thing to do is call the WTS about it. I ask him what he would say to the victims family about going to the authorities and he said that he would strongly recommend that the person don't go to the authorities. So the fact is that if he did not call the WTS he would have handled the case contrary to the instructions from the Society. That is why it is vital that the elders call the WTS before proceeding.
Some critics argue that elders should not waste time calling the headquarters of the WTS. They should go straight to the police. They make it appear that both cannot be done or that calling the WTS will somehow prolong their reporting it to the police. But really both can be done in the same day. Calling the WTS does not take much time at all. Perhaps an hour or two at the most. This argument of course is really an absurd argument. One that is used in an attempt to discredit JWs and our policy but really it has no merit whatsover.
Is the victim told not to go to the police?
Continuing with the policy: In addition to making a report to the branch office, the elders may be required by law to report even uncorroborated or unsubstantiated allegations to the authorities. If so, we expect the elders to comply. Additionally, the victim may wish to report the matter to the authorities, and it is his or her absolute right to do so.
You have no doubt seen the apostates false claims that a person can be disfellowshipped for going to the authorities with child abuse allegations. Clearly, this is not the case at all. Some opposers claim that if there are not two witnesses to the molesting then the WT policy is that it should not be reported to the authorities. But did you notice the phrase above: 'even uncorroborated or unsubstantiated allegations'. Yes, it is anyone's absolute right to report even uncorroborated or unsubstantiated allegations to the authorities, even if there are not two witnesses.
In fact, previously we showed a letter to the elders that said "all in the Christian congregation would want to consider their personal and moral responsibility to alert the appropriate authorities in cases where there has been committed or there exists a risk that there might be committed a serious criminal offence of this type..."
You Can't take a Brother to Court
But doesn't the WT publications say that we shouldn't take our brother to court because it might damage the reputation of the organization? Wouldn't this include pressing charges against an alleged child abuser who has not been disfellowshipped? "Its just more WT double speak,"opposers claim. They then may point to the November 15, 1973 WT attempting to show the contradiction: "And by dragging fellow believers before pagan judges, they would bring great reproach upon God’s name. As outsiders would be led to believe that Christians were no different from other people in being unable to settle differences, the interests of true worship would be injured. It would have been far better for individual Christians to take personal loss rather than to injure the entire congregation by bringing their disputes to public notice."
However, a reading of the context will show that this is just another way opposers try to twist the words of the publications to suit their own fancy. The fact is that this WT is applying the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:7 where Paul counseled Christians, "Really, then, it means altogether a defeat for YOU that YOU are having lawsuits with one another. Why do YOU not rather let yourselves be wronged? Why do YOU not rather let yourselves be defrauded?" Both Paul and the WT publication are talking about civil lawsuits against one another not criminal cases.
There are civil courts and there are criminal courts. If, for example, a person were to sue another person for money this would be heard by the civil court. But if someone is accused of a crime it is the governmental authorities that decide whether or not to prosecute the accused. It would be the state versus the accused not the accuser versus the accused. Therefore anyone reporting abuse to the authorities would not be bringing a brother to court. Not at all. It would be the state government that would be bringing charges against the person in a criminal court.
However, even at that, this same 1973 WT does not say that a person would face a judicial hearing if he took his brother to court. It merely states,
"However, if any member of the Christian congregation, without regard for the effect of his action on the good name of the congregation, ignores the counsel from God’s Word on this matter, such one would not be "free from accusation" as a Christian. He would not be one who has "a fine testimony from people on the outside" of the congregation. (Titus 1:6; 1 Tim. 3:7) He surely would not be an example for others to imitate, so this would affect the privileges that he might have in the congregation." So not only are critics wrong in applying this WT to criminal cases, they are also wrong in saying that it could lead to disfellowshipping.
What About All Those Stories?
But you may say what about all the stories we hear where ones were disfellowshipped for reporting allegations to the police?
You will agree that there are many haters and opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses. They would stop at nothing to discredit us. No doubt, some of the stories are from those ones. Others may be based on truth but are exaggerated somewhat. Many times you will agree that there are two sides to the story. Sometimes a person will omit or forget some of the facts to make themselves look more believable.
Are we saying that all stories about elders mishandling cases are untrue? Of course not. As long as you are dealing with imperfect humans mistakes are bound to happen. Some elders may overstep the policy of the WTS and decide how to handle the case on their own resulting in serious mistakes and problems for those involved.
But by the same token there is no doubt that the numbers are greatly exaggerated by the Silent Lambs group because they apparently have a goal that is not readily seen by the ones who do not want to see it. Their statements and writings are misleading and twisted. They slant reality to fit their agenda. We will prove this later on. But for now ask yourself why should I believe every word they say? Am I willing to believe the words of ones trying to discredit the WTS but not believe factual documentation and the words of the ones who help me to see the truth of the Bible? Am I willing to believe their words but unwilling to believe the words of an organization that trys to stay clean by disfellowshipping fornicators, rapist, child molesters, and the like? What other organization disfellowships practicing child molesters and shuns them? If we want to boost our ranks all we have to do is allow the fornicators to remain or join. We could probably triple our membership in no time if that was simply the goal of the WTS.
There is no logical or reasonable explanation why the WTS would want molesters to be in the organization or be servants in the organization. They are simply trying to follow Bible principles in the policy they have in place. It is not sinister. It is not a cover up to try to show we have a spiritual paradise. If that was the case, why not cover up fornication as well. There are far more fornicators than child molesters. Why not keep fornication hush hush to give the appearance of an organization that lives in a perfect spiritual paradise with no wrongdoing whatsoever. It makes no sense. It is illogical. And it is nonfactual.
Can former molesters be servants?
Do JWs allow former child molesters to be servants in the congregation? Isn't this just like the Catholic church in transferring their priests to a different diocese? The reality is that this is a falacy promoted by apostates to discredit our policy. Notice how the WT policy makes this very clear.
If, when confronted, the accused confesses that he is guilty of child abuse, the elders take appropriate congregational action. If he is not repentant, he will not be permitted to remain a member of the congregation. Even if he is repentant—is cut to the heart and is thus resolutely determined to avoid such conduct in the future—what was stated in the January 1, 1997, issue of The Watchtower applies. The article said: "For the protection of our children, a man known to have been a child molester does not qualify for a responsible position in the congregation. Moreover, he cannot be a pioneer [full-time missionary of Jehovah's Witnesses] or serve in any other special, full-time service." He would not qualify Scripturally. (1 Timothy 3:2, 7-10) We take such action because we are concerned with maintaining Bible standards and protecting our children. Everyone in our organization is expected to meet the same requirements, namely, to be clean physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually.—2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:17-19; 1 Thessalonians 2:4.
The WTS now keeps the names of anyone who was convicted (even if it was before they were a witness) or DFed or reproved for child molesting. When they relocate the elders of the new congregation are informed so that they can see to it that the person is not allowed to put children in the new congregation at risk. Just further proof that the WTS is way ahead of other religions.
But doesn't the Society make exceptions for some child molesters and appoint them as servants? Again notice the only exceptions mentioned in the policy set forth:
"In a few instances, individuals guilty of an act of child abuse have been appointed to positions within the congregation if their conduct has been otherwise exemplary for decades. All the factors are considered carefully. Suppose, for example, that a long time ago a 16-year-old boy had sexual relations with a consenting 15-year-old girl. Depending upon the U.S. jurisdiction where he lived when this happened, elders may have been required to report this as an incident of child abuse. Let us say that 20 years have passed. The child abuse reporting law may have changed; the man may have even married the girl! Both have been living exemplary lives and they are respected. In such a rare case, the man could possibly be appointed to a responsible position within the congregation."
As we see the exception to the rule is both reasonable and loving and in no way would endanger children.
Do the WT's lawyers follow a different policy?
Some opposers still argue that the WTS is ran by lawyers and as such the policy set forth is just a smokescreen to mislead others from knowing the real policy that the lawyers follow. But consider this:
If lawyers run the WT corporation as is many times said by opposers, do you think that they would counsel the WTS to tell victims not to go to the authorities and threaten DFing anyone who did? Would they tell the WTS to appoint former child molesters to positions of authority in the congregations? That would be inviting lawsuits. Are the WT lawyers so stupid and incompetent in child molestation cases yet such brilliant lawyers in other legal matters such as gaining freedom and liberties for Jehovah's Witnesses? That defies logic.
Why not just let the authorities handle child molestation cases since elders have no training in this field?
Has there ever been a perfect justice system? Isn't it true that people have been getting away with crimes since the human race began. The justice systems in the US and around the world are by far not perfect. People get away with murder and rape all the time. A lot of it depends on what kind of attorney you can afford or who happens to be the judge presiding that day. Some crimes are very difficult to prove. In the case of rape many times you have a he said she said scenario. Since the advent of DNA however these sorts of crimes are easier to prosecute. And some who were convicted have later been proven innocent with DNA evidence. There have even been some who have been wrongly executed. So the justice system makes many mistakes.
So while the child molester, because he has money to hire the best lawyers or some other reason, may be found not guilty in court of law he should still face discipline in the congregation regardless of the courts failure to convict him. The congregation has the responsibility to keep the organization clean regardless of what the law of the land may conclude about an individual. Should the congregation elders stand idly by waiting for the courts to handle the cases before ruling on the matter with the evidence available? It might take years before the case is settled in the govenmental courts. Meanwhile the child molester is still be considered one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Shouldn't a proven practicing child molester be removed from the congregation as soon as the evidence comes out rather than waiting years for the courts to decide? Of course they should. This is both scriptural, practical, and reasonable. And serves as a protection for all in the congregation. By no means would it be prudent to wait for the courts to handle the case and then the elders make a ruling based on what the court decides. And of course if the elders do not have enough evidence initially and the courts bring forth evidence that can serve as another witness against the molester then the elders can act at that time.
If the WTS told elders not to handle child abuse cases but just let the authorities take care of it can't you just hear what the critics would be saying? "I can't believe that the WTS shirks their responsibility? They are quick to DF others for lesser offenses but they do not want to touch child molesters just passing the buck on to the authorities. How hypocritical!" And so they are damed if they do and damned if they don't by some. But we are sure that honest ones can see the scriptural reasons why the elders should handle cases of all serious wrongdoing, including child molesting, as soon as possible.
But isn't it true that everyone in the congregation is instructed to keep silent including the elders and not let anyone else know that a person in the congregation is a former molester? Wouldn't a person be disfellowshipped or reproved for gossip or slander?
This is another common apostate falacy put forth to mislead others. A 1997 letter to body of elders states:
What can the elders do to help protect our children? The elders should be alert to the activity of any who are known to have molested children in the past. Individuals who have manifested a weakness in this regard should be sensitive to their need not to be alone with children. They should refrain from holding children or displaying other forms of affection for them. It would be appropriate for elders to give kindly cautions to any who are doing things that may be a temptation or a cause for concern to others in the congregation.
It is pretty clear for any who want to be honest and consider the statement carefully. If others in the congregation are concerned about something the former molester is doing what should elders do? Reprove them for gossip? Df them for slander? No, that is not in the instructions from the WTS at all. It is quite the opposite. Any individual in the congregation who has 'cause for concern' for what a former molester may be doing would not be considered slanderous for bringing up those concerns and elders should handle those concerns according to the directives from WTS. The elders are not to just sluff the concerns off and call it gossip or slander and reprove or DF the person. And yet, that is what apostates will tell you.
This directive certainly makes it clear that persons could indeed be warned if a person was unknowingly putting children in harms way of a former child molester. It also makes it clear that anyone who had 'cause for concern' about what a molester was doing would not be reproved but rather the former molester as well as those he is coming in contact with would be warned and cautioned because of this 'cause for concern'.
A 1992 letter to the elders further states:
Therefore, the elders should not make disparaging comments regarding a Christian' s decision to obtain professional help. It is also a personal decision if the alleged victim chooses to report such accusations to the secular authorities. Elders should encourage the sufferer to use discretion if that one chooses to confide in a mature friend.
What does this show us? Please note that it is mentioned that it might be discussed with a mature friend and that professional help could be obtained if one choses to do so. Certainly that would show that a person would not be dfed for warning a friend of the dangers should they be allowing their children to spend the night etc in the home of the child molester or for telling a professional what took place. The WTS would not condone dfing someone for reporting it since they here in the letters are saying that it should or could be reported and even talked about to others. Any elders saying otherwise is overstepping their bounds and disregarding the letters from the WTS.
But finally we have this evidence from the November 1, 1995 Watchtower. Here the WT addresses the victim of child molestation and states: If there is some valid reason to suspect that the alleged perpetrator is still abusing children, a warning may have to be given. The congregation elders can help in such a case.
Here, contrary to claims of apostates, straight from the WT, we see that the victim can provide a warning to others and the congregation elders can help them to do so.
Who has a better policy?
"Below is just a sampling of the steps numerous religious institutions have taken to protect children from being abused. By clicking on the links provided any observer can see that the churches have gone to great lengths to openly discuss abuse issues and establish policies to prevent abuses from taking place.
Interestingly, by Googling each church along with "child abuse policy," or any similar phrase, the results are readily forthcoming. However, try Googling the Watchtower's child abuse policy and see what your search results turn up. For example, here is a link to a well defined child abuse policy for a Methodist church that requires criminal background checks for day care workers etc.
http://www.ltumc.org/pages/safetypolicy2.html Here is a link to a Methodist conference that discusses their child protection policies. They seem to have gone to great lengths to ensure that children are not abused.
http://www.txcumc.org/SafeSanctuaries/SafeHome.htm The Baptist church also has a well-defined policy that is aimed at preventing abuse.
http://www.baptist-atlantic.ca/articles/abusepolicy.htm The American Baptist Church has a similar detailed screening policy that is aimed at preventing abuse.
http://www.nationalministries.org/children/policy.cfm The Lutheran Church has a similar child abuse policy
http://www.synodresourcecenter.org/admin/personnel/background_checks/0001/abuse.html Here are the minutes of a Presbyterian elders meeting that lays out a very comprehensive child abuse policy.
http://www.opmh.org/sessionminutes/session040823.htm The Anglican Church in Ontario has a clearly defined policy that informs parishioners to call the police.
http://www.ottawa.anglican.ca/abuse.shtml Please take note of the Anglican policy that states: WHAT DO I DO IF THE VICTIM IS A CHILD? The protection of children is a matter of fundamental concern. In Ontario all professionals are bound by law to report suspected child abuse to the Children's Aid Society. The professional's duty to report overrides the privilege of confidentiality."
Those comments above in italics are the words of one of the biggest critics of the child abuse policy of the WTS. When looking at each link he provides what do we reallly find? Here is the truth about each one of them.
Methodist Policy: This policy and its provisions shall apply to all persons including all paid and unpaid leaders, whether lay or clergy who have any direct or indirect contact with children and youth who participate in any activities or events sponsored by the Texas Conference.
Only protects children against ones in charge. Not against Joe Methodist the child molester.
Baptists policy: Policy for Child Abuse Prevention All persons desiring to work with children/youth through any ministry (current or future) of this church, must first meet the following qualifications.
Does not protect child against Joe Baptist the child molester.
American Baptist Policy: the Board of Educational Ministries adopted a recommended policy for churches and regions to consider as they recruit and screen volunteers and staff who work with children, youth, and/or other vulnerable populations.
Does not protect children against Joe American Baptist the child molester.
Lutheran policy: it is prompted by awareness of problems in other churches that have allowed for the abuse of children by paid and unpaid child and youth workers in the church,
Does not protect child against Joe Lutheran the child molester.
Presbyterian policy: Employees and volunteers who undertake the special responsibility of working with the children of OPMH shall not violate the trust of the responsibility by engaging in acts of sexual misconduct.
Does not protect children against Joe Presbyterian the child molester.
Anglican Church Policy: In the Church, where people entrust their lives and their spiritual wellbeing to clergy and other employees and volunteers, the issues of sexual exploitation and harassment are of great importance. Church leaders are invested with the confidence of those who come to them. Sexual contact is a gross misuse of that power and a massive breach of a sacred trust that takes advantage of another's vulnerability
Does not protect the children against Joe Anglican the child molester.
You will note that in every link provided the policy is concerning those in charge of youths, the clergy, employees, volunteers, youth leaders and counselors. There is no policy to protect children against members of the church or their own parents. Their only concern seems to be to make sure that no leaders are accused of child molesting so that lawsuits may be avoided. They have no concern for protecting children from child abusers who are simply members of the church. They seem to not even have a policy for this. How much finer the policy of JWs to DF practicing child molesters and shun them.
Some try to compare our policy and the fact that some elders or ministerial servants have been found to be engaging in child molesting to that of the Catholic church. There is a huge difference between the Catholic Church and JWs.
1.JWs do not transfer known child molesters to different parts of the country to continue to serve as elders.
2. Known child molesters are never allowed to be servants in the congregation for the rest of their life.
3. JWs disfellowship practicing child molesters whether they are elders, ministerial servants, Bethelites, COs, DOs, pioneers, publishers, or whatever their position in the congregation. It does not matter. Catholics and other religions have no such policy to remove individual members from their organization.
Jesus Cano is an example of this fact. If Cano would have been caught by JWs before the police caught him, he would have been immediately kicked out of Bethel and DFed just as he was after the police caught him. If he were a Catholic Minister he would have been transferred to another parish and continued as a Catholic Minister or possibly now that such publicity has come to the Catholic Church for thier mishandling of these matters and money awarded to victims he may have been temporarily removed as a Minister but by no means would he have been excommunicated as a member of the Catholic Church.
4. Child abuse victims of Catholic priests have been awarded over $1.5 billion dollars by the courts of the land. Money awarded to those bringing lawsuits against the WTS concerning child molesting: -$137,000 dollars. That's right. That figure is a minus $137,000 dollars. The WTS has actually been awarded a net total of $137,000 dollars in cases of child abuse lawsuits brought against them. We will explain next.
Boer Vs. WT
In Canada, Vicki Boer brought a civil lawsuit against the elders of her former congregation and the WTBTS asking for $700,000 dollars concerning her child abuse at the hands of her father who was one of Jehovah's Witnesses claiming they were negligent, breached their duty, advised her against contacting the authorities, and against seeking professional help. What did the court find?
Presiding Judge Anne Molloy ruled that the WTS and elders were not at fault and did not contribute to or promote in any way the child abuse that took place. The court said, "There is no foundation on the facts to support an award for punitive damages. Most of the allegations against the defendants have not been established on the facts. The defendants who interacted with the plaintiff did not bear ill will toward her. They accepted the veracity of her account, were sympathetic to her situation and meant her no harm. The claim for punitive damages is dismissed."
As respects her findings as to whether the elders advised Boer not to tell the authorities and not to seek professional help the judge stated very clearly her findings:
The defendants did not instruct the plaintiff not to get medical help. She chose not to seek professional help herself against the advice of the elders and Mr. Mott-Trille. The defendants did not instruct the plaintiff that her father’s abuse should not be reported. On the contrary, the defendants directed Mr. Palmer (the abuser) to report himself to the C.A.S. and then followed up directly to ensure he had done so.
Judge Molloy also examined similar cases from the United States and candidly stated in her ruling: I conclude that had Ms. Boer’s action been brought in the United States, it would likely be subject to summary dismissal based on these cases.
However, despite this, the court did award her $5,000 for the trauma caused her in confronting her father at a comittee meeting stating, "There was, however, psychological harm to the plaintiff as a result of the December 29, 1989 meeting. She was in a very vulnerable state at the time as she had just begun to deal with the effects of her father’s abuse. I accept the evidence of the various experts, including Dr. Awad, that this confrontation made things worse for the plaintiff."
But the flip side of the ruling is that the same court ordered Vicki Boer to pay the WTS $142,000 dollars in legal fees. Thus netting the WTS a sum total of $137,000 dollars as a result of the civil suit brought against them. It seems the Canadian courts do not take lightly cases based on "frivolous charges" and forcing someone to defend themselves "against false or unprovable charges."
How much do you suppose that the Boer's spiritual counselor, Bill Bowen and his Silent Lambs organization, was willing to contribute to help the Boer's pay their own legal fees of over $90,000 that were incurred as well as the $137,000 that they were ordered to pay to the WTS? Apparently whatever they contributed, if anything, was not nearly enough because Scott Boer commmented, "We've pretty much exhausted our finances pursuing the case this far, and now we're to the point where we simply couldn't afford an appeal. We going to simply have to accept the judgment and if we have to declare bankruptcy for a victory, then we have to declare bankruptcy." It seems that Silent Lambs by encouraging such lawsuits are contributing to further financial victimizing of the already abused victims. We have to wonder if it is concern for the abused victims that motivates Bowen's organization or their obvious agenda to discredit the WTS that motivates and consumes them.
Generously, showing no ill will or lust for revenge (in contrast to the picture that apostates try to paint of a greedy, money-loving corporation) the WTS agreed to call it even and did not insist that Vicki Boer pay the $137,000 awarded to them by the court. It seems that in the end the WTS actually helped out the Boer's financially more than the Silent Lambs organization.
One of the most famous cases brought against the WTS is the one brought by the children of Sara Poisson at the behest of the Silent Lambs organization. You are no doubt aware of the case and have heard how the elders were told by her that her husband was sexually molesting her 2 children and the elders stood by and did nothing about it. But did you know that these statements are untrue, lies that can be factually documented.
You have no doubt read articles such as this about the case: "November 16. 2004 8:06AM "At issue are the claims of sisters Heather and Holly Berry, who allege their Jehovah's Witness congregation in Wilton ignored their mother's complaints that their father was sexually abusing them. After the police inadvertently learned of the abuse, Paul Berry was convicted of assaulting Holly in 2000 and is serving 56 to 112 years in state prison. According to court records, Paul Berry, formerly of Greenville, abused the girls sexually and physically in the 1980s, when they were between the ages of 3 and 10. In one case, he was accused of hanging Holly by her wrists from hooks on a barn wall. When their mother, Sara Poisson, reported the abuse to church elders between six and 10 times, they told her to "be a better wife" and to pray more, the records said."
But are you aware that the truth is that the elders were never told of sexual abuse by Paul Berry at this time by the mother, Sara Poisson. How do we know this to be the truth?
Note the testimony of the mother herself in the sentencing phase of Paul Berry. Sara Poisson testified: "A social worker visited me and informed me that I needed to have Paul removed from the home by 5 o'clock that day, or that she would take my children away from me. Before me now was the decision--the very real decision--to choose God, as I perceived him to be at that time, or to choose my children. And I chose mychildren. This decision resulted in years of extreme poverty. The entire congregation turned their back on us."
Then notice what happened much later after her daughter had grown to maturity. Sara Poisson continues her testimony: "I did not hear from Holly for 18 months. She called one day from Indiana and sa1d she wanted to come home. I sent her a bus ticket and picked her up in (Ascutney), Vermont. She was thin, she was sick, and she had parasites. When she dismounted from that bus, she asked me, "Why did you let that happen?" And I said, "Why did I let what happen?" And this was the first time that I heard about the sexual abuse that had happened to her.""
According to Sara Poisson's on testimony at the sentencing of Paul Berry, she found out about the sexual abuse for the first time at a much later date than her conversation with the elders. No, she could not have possibly told the elders about any sexual abuse by Paul Berry. Silent lambs is attempting to discredit the WTS by spreading untruths. No wonder the WTS in the complaint against them denied it: "The church disputes the sisters' claims, however, and its lawyer, Donald Gardner of Manchester, has said church elders didn't know about the abuse until long after it had stopped and police were investigating."
Sara Poisson's testimony about her first suspecting sexual abuse at the sentencing phase of Paul Berry's trial is also contradictory: About this time, Heather, who was very young, began to act strangely. She refused to sleep in her bed, would only sleep in the bathtub. She threw things at her father and became very v1olent. Heather was the kind of little girl that brought wilted dandelions home for me. I suspected Paul was sexually abusing her, and began to ask questions of professionals and to take Heather to counseling. The situation went on for years. The abuse continued.
What does this reveal?
1. Lets assume that she is telling the truth when she says the elders told her not to report it to the authorities because we handle things in house. And so she listened to them and went against her better judgment. But then apparently she did not fully listen to the elders and ascribe to the notion that help from outside JWs organization should not be sought because here she acknowledges questioning professionals and taking her child to counseling. Yes, the fact is and we know it, that JWs do not condemn receiving outside help from professionals. Nor do they chastise or discipline members for reporting abuse to the authorities. This is a decision of each individual.
2. Heather received counseling and professionals were questioned. We have to wonder why didn't these counselors and professionals report the physical and sexual child abuse to the authorities? Why hasn't she brought a lawsuit against those counselors and professionals who surely learned of the abuse in questioning and counseling her child and Sara Poisson herself.
3. She admits the situation went on for years and she had no proof. It was not till much later that Holly told her. She did not and could not have told the elders that they were being sexually abused because according to her she did not know. If she did know about it then she allowed it to continue for years. I'm sorry. But these are the facts. I wonder if it bothers any of the opposers of JW's child abuse policy to realize that they have been duped into believing lies from silent lambs and Sara Poisson?
It is apparent from Sara Poisson's own testimony that she is the one who is the liar and not the WTS. At any rate the court dismissed the charges against the elders and the WTS and ruled the following: "We also disagree with the plaintiffs' assertion that special circumstances exist in this case such that an especial temptation and opportunity for Berry's criminal misconduct was created by Watchtower and Wilton Congregation. There is no allegation that the elders created any opportunity for Berry to abuse his daughters. As noted, there was no allegation that the alleged abuse took place on congregation property or at congregation-related activities. There is no allegation that the elders acted in any way other than by providing spiritual guidance and scriptural advice, at the request of the plaintiffs' mother."
You might take note of other lies by Sara Poisson: Concerning the teachings of JWs she said: "Women were not allowed to seek an education." We know that is a lie.
She said: "A social worker visited me and informed me that I needed to have Paul removed from the home by 5 o'clock that day, or that she would take my children away from me. Before me now was the decision--the very real decision--to choose God, as I perceived him to be at that time, or to choose my children. And I chose mychildren. This decision resulted in years of extreme poverty. The entire congregation turned their back on us."
Another lie. There is no judicial discipline against anyone separating from their husband. There was no decision to choose God or choose her children. She could easily choose both if she desired. Many have been duped by the lies of Sara Poisson and Silent Lambs.
In 2002 BBC reporter Betsan Powys interviewed Sara Poisson and her daughter, Heather.
POWYS: Even after you had told them that her father was sexually abusing Heather, nothing changed?
POISSON: No, no. Well yeah, things changed, they got a lot worse, for me.
Notice the stammering. According to her own testimony that we showed above she did not know about the sexual abuse when she talked to the elders. How did she tell them about it? Either she lied under oath when she testified. Or she is lying in this interview. Notice how it continues.
POWYS: In the end the decision was taken out of her hands. In school bruises were noticed on her children. Social workers were told. They gave her a stark choice, leave your husband or we take your children. But if she left him, she knew the church would cut her dead.
POISSON: At that point I had to make decision between God and my kids. And I knew.. well at that time I knew that if I chose my kids, I don't have prayer, but I didn't care anymore. So we lost everything in one day.
POWYS: Sarah Poisson had no life outside the Kingdom Hall. When the congregation cast her out she had no choice but to move away. She didn't just lose every friend she had, overnight she was homeless, penniless, scraping a living to bring up her children. The friends they'd had openly shunned them.
Why was she DFed and removed from the congregation. Was it for separating from her husband? That is what we are led to believe. But any honest and reasonable person knows that she would not be Dfed for that reason. There is no dfing for separating from a mate or even divorcing them. The grounds for dfing would only come when remarrying without having scriptural grounds (fornication) for doing so.
POWYS: Heather Berry and her stepsister Holly Brewer have flown here from New Hampshire. The man who abused them has been gaoled for a minimum of 56 years. He was Heather's father. Now Heather and Holly are breaking new ground, they're taking the Jehovah's Witnesses to court.
HEATHER: I'm Heather from New Hampshire. I don't want to tell my story but I've heard the word 'victim' too many times today, and all of us are standing out here today and we're standing tall and proud and saying this happened and that it can't happen and we're survivors, and we're fighting and we're not victims.
POWYS: They're the first of those survivors to take their fight to court. They're claiming that not only did the church do nothing when they were abused, it ostracised and punished the family when they called the police.
HEATHER: I'm very glad I came, and like I said, I would do it again, and again, and again, and as many times as it takes to get a change in the policies and things that they hide constantly.
Can you believe that the church elders did this to them for simply going to the police? How terrible this WT organization must be to punish members for simply reporting crime? How courageous was Sara Poisson for finally ignoring the elders instructions at the risk of being ostracized and informing the police? Is that what really happened? Later on in the interview notice what is said about who really reported it.
POWYS: In the end the decision was taken out of her hands. In school bruises were noticed on her children. Social workers were told. They gave her a stark choice, leave your husband or we take your children. But if she left him, she knew the church would cut her dead.
POISSON: At that point I had to make decision between God and my kids. And I knew.. well at that time I knew that if I chose my kids, I don't have prayer, but I didn't care anymore. So we lost everything in one day.
Social workers were made aware of the situation by the school. The children were to be removed from the father's presence. The police would have had to be informed for this to take place and a criminal investigation would ensue. Sara Poisson would have absolutely no choice about talking to the police. How could she be ostrasized by the elders? She did not even initiate the contact with the police.
1. Did she get ostracized by the elders for contacting the police or did the police get involved without any choice from her? Both cannot be true.
2. Was she ostracized and shunned for contacting the police or for separating from her husband? Since JWs do not judicially punish members for reporting crimes or for separating from their mate I submit that both accounts explaining how the elders ostracized her are lies.
Silent Lambs or Noisy Goats?
Would you like to see more outright lies by the Silent lambs people and their associates? Here are some of their statements. (Lies in italics)
In a letter from the Silentlambs dated August 8, 2001: The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is a closed society that requires its members to turn inward to the organization with any problems, rather than seek outside help. This practice conflicts with laws requiring the reporting of suspected child abuse.
Outright lie. Anyone associated with JWs knows that help of outside professionals is up to each individual and is not condemned by the WTS and JWs. In fact, in Sara Poisson's own testimony at the trial she admits that she did obtain such outside help for her daughter from professional counselors while still one of Jehovah's Witnesses.
The letter continues: According to church policy, the proof can include two eyewitnesses to each act of abuse. Failure to present such proof can result in the victim being ostracized and shunned by elders and the congregation for false accusations against a member.
Outright lie. Two witnesses to 'each act of abuse' is not a requirement. Two witnesses to the same type of abuse is acceptable. Failure to present such proof does not result in ostracizing or shunning by the congregation for false accusations. Any victim is free to report child abuse to the authorities as they wish regardless of how many witnesses there are to the abuse.
The same letter states: The first lawsuit will be filed in Nashua, N. H., where Jehovah's Witness church member, Paul Berry is alleged to have repeatedly sexually molested his stepdaughter and his daughter, starting when they were three years old. When the girls' mother went to the church elders with her suspicions of abuse, the elders told her she should be a better wife, and to pray more about the situation, ignoring New Hampshire's mandatory child abuse reporting statute. The abuse continued and Berry was ultimately criminally convicted for the abuse of his stepdaughter and was sentenced to 56 years in prison.
Outright and misleading lie. Sara Poisson could not have told the elders about any sexual abuse because in her testimony before the court she tells that she was not aware of sexual abuse until years later.
Leader of Silent Lambs Bill Bowen states, "I felt compelled to resign as pastor of my local congregation in protest of internal policies that shield sex offenders and hurt children. When the church promotes child molesters to positions of leadership and requires them to call at the homes of the unknowing public that is bad policy."
Another outright lie. The policy of JWs is to not allow former child molesters to positions of leadership for the rest of their life. Furthermore former child molesters are not 'required' to call at homes of the unknowing public. But if they choose to do so they must do so in the company of another adult.
SilentLambs attorney Jeff Anderson states: "Child sexual abuse is not tolerated anywhere else. With the onset of the laws protecting children such as neighborhood notification laws and mandatory reporting statutes, the days when child molesters enjoyed a cloak of silence are past, except within the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. This church seems to think they are above the law the rules do not apply to them. This case is simply about making Jehovah's Witnesses understand they have the same rules as everyone else when it comes to protecting our children."
Outright lie. The policy of JWs is that elders should report child abuse in accord with the laws of the land and that 'all' members of the congregation have a responsibility to report child abuse if they are aware of it or if they reasonably believe a child is in danger.
Here is another common apostate, SilentLambs, Robert King lie: The WT lawyers argued in court that neither the WTS nor the elders have a responsibility to protect the children.
That is not what the WT lawyers argued at all. The truth is this: They argued that the WTS and the elders do not have a 'legal' responsibility to protect the children. They were arguing that they should not be held responsible for children legally speaking. They were not the legal guardians of the children. They were not appointed as trustees over the children. They did not have a common law or fiduciary (trusteeship) responsibility toward the children. The parents have the legal responsibility over their own children, not the WTS or the elders.
And this is only logical and correct. It is common sense. They never argued that they had no responsibility to protect the children at all. In fact, that is not what the case was about. It was about their legal responsibility toward the children. The suit was dismissed by the court because the WTS was correct in their argument.
Can you imagine how apostates would respond if the WTS said that they had a legal trusteeship to the children of Jehovah's Witnesses? Can't you just here them saying, "Now they're trying to control our children. Is it not enough to control the adult members?"
The Very Best Child Abuse Policy
Notice how the WTS concludes their letter about their policy by humbly acknowledging that the organization is not perfect and that we are always looking for ways to make improvements.
Our procedures have been refined over time. Over the years, as we have noted areas where our policies could be strengthened, we have followed through. We are continuing to refine them. We do not believe that our system is perfect. No human organization is perfect. But we do believe that we have a strong, Bible-based policy on child abuse. Anyone in a responsible position who is guilty of child abuse would be removed from his responsibilities without hesitation. We certainly would not knowingly allow him to serve elsewhere, either because he moved or through a transfer. The Bible teaches that individuals can repent of their sins and "turn to God by doing works that befit repentance," and we accept what the Bible says. (Acts 26:20) Still, the safety of our children is of the utmost importance. We take it very seriously.
In light of the evidence, it is amazing that anyone would believe the lies coming out of the mouths of Bill Bowen and his noisy organization and other critics and opposers of JW's child abuse policy. To the chagrin of all apostates and enemies of JWs, JWs have the best child abuse policy of any religion, bar none. And after all, isn't that what you would expect from an organization directed by the God that is love and the Most High over all, Jehovah.