Let's Keep The E-Focus on Barbara's CD - Important

by AK - Jeff 49 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    I have been sworn to secrecy on a couple of matters that will soon be evident in this regard. Sorry to be 'cryptic' here - but timing is everything when one is trying to bring the very serious [and often ignored in the press] matter of child sexual abuse to the fore.

    With Barbara Anderson's permission, I reproduce part of Pages 66 to 68 here for discussion.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    I must apologize. The material I am trying to post here might have some security that will not allow me to copy/paste it.

    Assured that I came directly from Barbara with her permission, but each time I try and post it, I get an error message.

    Jeff

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    Defendants Did Not Report Child Abuse

    Although evidence supports the claim that Watchtower Defendants routinely failed to report accusations of sexual abuse to law enforcement, as of January 1, 1997, in California, clergy members were added to the list of “mandatory reporters” pursuant to California Penal Code § 11165.7(a)(32).

    As is found in the documents, Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Watchtower Defendants’ Motion to Strike in All Coordinated Cases, on pg. 9, and in Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Watchtower Defendants’ Demurrers in All Coordinated Cases on pgs. 8-9, Defendants excused their conduct of not reporting childhood sexual abuse in California by their own appointed agents on the claim that they were not required by law to do so before 1997. This defense is in regards to five of the six cases. (The seventh lawsuit in the coordinated action was filed October 2006 and not involved in the Napa coordinated action in March 2005 when the following brief was filed by plaintiffs.) Plaintiffs’ attorneys put to rest Defendants’ arguments thusly:

    The only case where it is alleged that Watchtower Defendants were required to report consistent with Penal Code § 11164, et. seq., is Daniel West, et. al., on behalf of Shane Pence. The remaining cases allege Watchtower Defendants' failure to report incidents of childhood sexual abuse to law enforcement as a basis of their negligent conduct. This organization could have actively proceeded to protect the children entrusted to their care, but chose not to act in the best of the children. Instead, they chose to protect pedophiles. Plaintiffs contend the Organization's failures to protect victims of sexual abuse by, including but not limited to, failing to notify law enforcement is negligent conduct.

    Plaintiffs contend that a reasonably prudent organization, like the Watchtower Defendants, should have notified Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs' families, and law enforcement that pedophiles were sexually abusing children within their Organization.[1]

    This cause of action has been asserted on behalf of Shane Pence, only, in the Daniel West, et a/., matter. As alleged in that complaint, Shane was abused by the perpetrator after January 1, 1997. As of January 1, 1997, Clergy members were added to the list of "mandatory reporters" pursuant to Penal Code § 11165.7(a)(32). Shane alleged that from approximately 1992 through 1997, he was sexually abused by Timothy Silva. (See West Amended Complaint at ¶¶ 26 and 57.) Shane also alleged that the Watchtower Defendants had actual and/or constructive knowledge as early as 1987 that Silva, who they appointed to a position of authority, was using his position of authority to sexual abuse children entrusted to their care. (See West Amended Complaint at ¶¶ 22 and 57.) The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, enumerated in California Penal Code §11164, et. seq., became effective January I, 1997, which mandated that members of the clergy report suspicions of abuse to law enforcement. Shane alleged that the Watchtower Defendants failed to report to law enforcement the abusive and illegal acts of their agent, Silva, both prior to and after Shane was abused. (See West Amended Complaint at ¶ 58.)

    Shane was abused after Penal Code § 11164, et. seq., was enacted and Defendants failed to report this abuse to law enforcement, despite their mandatory obligation to do so. They failed to uphold their legal duty, which allowed Silva to continue abusing Shane.[2]

    Yes, Defendants claimed they did not report child abuse before 1997 because they were not required by law to do so. This was the legal reason for not reporting, but after the law was passed they still did not report child abuse if they could get away with it. For all practical purposes, the rationale behind Defendants and the rest of this religious group to not report child abuse has always been “…to not bring reproach upon God’s name and his organization,” and not expressly to protect pedophiles, although I’m certain there were exceptions. But what does the expression, “…not bring reproach,” mean in real terms?

    To gain adherents, the Witnesses maintain their group is a brotherhood where “true” Christian love exists; where members are superior in morals and values than adherents are in other religions—Witness beliefs make for better husbands, better wives and better children—so members insist. Without a doubt, negative publicity would spoil that carefully crafted image and hamper conversion to the religion. Insular religions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses are communities closed to “worldly gaze,” who do not want others to know they are not how they portray themselves to outsiders. They are like dysfunctional families who keep family secrets out of a misguided sense of loyalty, not wanting neighbors to know what really goes on behind closed doors.

    Another reason why Jehovah’s Witnesses were not encouraged to report child sexual abuse, which is difficult for non-Witnesses to comprehend, is because Witnesses viewed sexual child abuse as a “sin” not a crime; Men who molested were sinners—not criminals—and there were rules in place how to deal with sinners, though attitudes have changed on this subject due to recent publicity. Speaking of Witness rules, read what one prominent Watchtower official, Richard Abrahamson, now deceased, who taught at one of the 1994 Kingdom Ministry Schools told elders on November 26th: “The principle of two witnesses must stand when dealing with any accusation of wrongdoing. On the other hand if there is a clear case of child abuse that has substance it would be handled as any other charge of judicial wrongdoing in the congregation.” Clearly, this leaves out reporting child abuse to the authorities.

    Even after exposure of hidden child abuse within the Witness organization, elders, who are “clergy” for the group, are still not instructed to report child sexual abuse in states where it is not mandated for clergy to do so, and even now do not encourage members to report child abuse to the authorities. However, since at least the 1970s, Witness elders have been mandated to report child abuse accusations to Watchtower leaders who promulgated very specific policies, the most important of them was that elders had to call Watchtower’s “Legal Department” for direction when there were allegations of child sexual abuse. Elders were required to gather evidence, question witnesses and render judgments about what punishment, if any, would be imposed on a child abuser. They were forbidden from revealing the results of their investigations to law enforcement authorities, but would report the results of their investigation to the Watchtower Legal Department.

    However, these policies were designed to prevent cooperation with secular investigators. For instance, when an elder called the Legal Department he would be asked what state he lived in. If that state required clergy to report child abuse to law enforcement, a recommendation was made that the elder make an anonymous call from a telephone booth. No doubt this was done so that law enforcement authorities would be unable to contact them for more information.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    Now I lost the formatting. Let me try and clean it up.

    Jeff

    Ok - that's a little better - though not as good as I wish.

  • AlphaOmega
    AlphaOmega

    Thanks for posting this.

    It would be great to be able to dissect this CD and make posts here - but at the same time I am conscious of not breaching any plans that Barbara has - but as she has consented, that seems to be a good way forward.

    We await with baited breath

  • candidlynuts
    candidlynuts

    thats close to the pages i posted about jeff.

    it continues to shock me.

    since it goes along with the pages you posted i'll repost.

    i posted page 68 here.. http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/6/140267/1.ashx

    here barbara anderson relates an experience from page 68:

    alt

    a picture of the TELEMEMO is available on page 69 of the cd.

  • Blueblades
    Blueblades

    Jeff, the watchtower is hiding behind legalise. The right and common sense thing to do is to report child abuse and punish the abuser. No matter what or when certain laws were put in place, it is evident that concern for the abused child or person should come first and that the abuser needs to be dealt with immeadiately. There is such a thing as a moral responsibility to the abused. We don't need legalise and lawyers to explain these fundarmental rights of protection for those who suffer abuse.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Blueblades

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff
    To gain adherents, the Witnesses maintain their group is a brotherhood where “true” Christian love exists; where members are superior in morals and values than adherents are in other religions—Witness beliefs make for better husbands, better wives and better children—so members insist. Without a doubt, negative publicity would spoil that carefully crafted image and hamper conversion to the religion. Insular religions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses are communities closed to “worldly gaze,” who do not want others to know they are not how they portray themselves to outsiders. They are like dysfunctional families who keep family secrets out of a misguided sense of loyalty, not wanting neighbors to know what really goes on behind closed doors.

    This is revealing.

    This is also the reason that Jw's will almost 100% refuse to believe the truth in this matter. They have tucked the blinders in so close, that the truth is impossible for them to see. To them - this is all lies. Like it is often to those who, in a dysfunctional household, are unable to see it's very dysfunctionality.

    Jeff

  • minu
    minu
    because Witnesses viewed sexual child abuse as a “sin” not a crime; Men who molested were sinners—not criminals—and there were rules in place how to deal with sinners, though attitudes have changed on this subject due to recent publicity

    I usually try to stay away from these kinds of threads because they hit so close to home. I was sexually abused by my uncle from the age of 4 to 10. I finally got the guts at 17 to let my family know what was going on. I was ridiculed and treated like I was the one who had done wrong. My uncle was NOT df'd and he was welcomed into my parents' home time and time again after I outed him. The elders in my cong. asked me if I could forgive him and I told them "no, not at this time". I still haven't forgiven him for his sick and twisted mind.

    I am glad someone with the resources is speaking out publicly for the abused children of this cult. Thanks Jeff for keeping us up to date.

    Minu

  • dedpoet
    dedpoet

    Thanks for posting this Jeff. This sums up their attitude, which
    is the real problem, for me

    Insular religions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses are communities closed to “worldly gaze,” who do not want others to know they are not how they portray themselves to outsiders. They are like dysfunctional families who keep family secrets out of a misguided sense of loyalty, not wanting neighbors to know what really goes on behind closed doors.

    It is, and always has been, about protecting the "clean" image of the watchtower,
    although that's looking increasingly tarnished these days as more and more
    horror stories about child abuse emerge. Their written policy is a jumble of
    meaningless words and phraes, like all their other literature, put out to fool
    people into thinking that they have the interests of their members at heart.

    Here's the "official" policy

    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. However, if two persons are witnesses to separate incidents of the same kind of wrongdoing, their testimony may be deemed sufficient to take action.

    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. 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

    http://www.jw-media.org/region/global/english/backgrounders/e_molestation.htm

    And here's a link to a letter sent to elders in 2001.

    http://www.watchtowerinformationservice.org/pedo.htm

    Notice that there is no mention in the letter about
    going to the authorities. There is little doubt, in light of all the recent court
    cases and other revelations regarding child abuse in the watchtower, that this
    letter to the elders outlines their real policy on handling child abuse, rather
    than the one that the rank and file have access to.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    Good points, Trev. And how could this, be construed as complete cooperation with the authorities;

    However, these policies were designed to prevent cooperation with secular investigators. For instance, when an elder called the Legal Department he would be asked what state he lived in. If that state required clergy to report child abuse to law enforcement, a recommendation was made that the elder make an anonymous call from a telephone booth. No doubt this was done so that law enforcement authorities would be unable to contact them for more information.

    They don't want to cooperate - they just want to avoid being labeled as non-cooperative. They likely have masses of evidence and statements that the officials could use to put justice to the perp, but this will never be seen by the authorities. SO, they kind of turn them in, but reluctantly, only in the places where the law stipulates it as required, and then only anonymously from a phone booth at times. Everything short of total non cooperation is evident here.

    Jeff

  • minu
    minu
    However, these policies were designed to prevent cooperation with secular investigators. For instance, when an elder called the Legal Department he would be asked what state he lived in. If that state required clergy to report child abuse to law enforcement, a recommendation was made that the elder make an anonymous call from a telephone booth. No doubt this was done so that law enforcement authorities would be unable to contact them for more information.

    They don't want to cooperate - they just want to avoid being labeled as non-cooperative. They likely have masses of evidence and statements that the officials could use to put justice to the perp, but this will never be seen by the authorities. SO, they kind of turn them in, but reluctantly, only in the places where the law stipulates it as required, and then only anonymously from a phone booth at times. Everything short of total non cooperation is evident here.

    Those F*&%krs. Makes me sick to my stomache.

  • dedpoet
    dedpoet

    They most definitely don't want to cooperate with the authorities, and
    any cooperation is given grudgingly when a case has been reported
    to the police by the victim, and the elders have no other choice.

    For cults like the watchtower, child abuse is a problem without a
    solution I'm afraid, and will be for as long as they hold their public
    image in higher regard than the safety of children within their
    congregations.

    Despite all the evidence to the contrary, they still seem to regard
    child abuse as more of a sin than a crime, which is clearly flawed
    logic on their part. We all know that their "cure" for sin is to pray
    more, study more, preach more etc, as if such acts would stop
    a paedophile. While they persist with this policy, there is no hope
    of reform in the watchtower, and their already-serious problems
    regarding child abuse will only get worse.

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    I must 'step out' for a bit, but hope that this topic stays alive.

    Jeff

  • BizzyBee
    BizzyBee

    In my most recent encounter with JW's at my door last week, I mentioned the pedo issue to the elder-type who waved his Bible at me for 20 minutes.

    His consistent response was, "That little child could be lying. A man could be sent to prison on the word of a child."

    I said, "But what if that child is telling the truth?"

    He said, "But what if that child is lying?"

    He just couldn't seem to get his head wrapped around the concept of child sexual abuse as a reality. I think part of the brain-washing on this topic is that it is blown out of proportion due to a lot of children lying, which makes it so much harder to prove it to the average insulated JW. They are in denial.

  • Sarah Smiles
    Sarah Smiles

    Too bad that Jehovah's Witness parents go along with such garbage in any state!

    How can a victim have two witnesses watching such an act! It really does fall on the parents to protect their children no matter what an organization claims! I know that parents are manipulated and controlled by the WTBTS not to press charges, but it still is the parents job to protect their children not any organization.

  • Sarah Smiles
    Sarah Smiles
    However, these policies were designed to prevent cooperation with secular investigators. For instance, when an elder called the Legal Department he would be asked what state he lived in. If that state required clergy to report child abuse to law enforcement, a recommendation was made that the elder make an anonymous call from a telephone booth. No doubt this was done so that law enforcement authorities would be unable to contact them for more information.

    Elders really do not want to get involved so they have to make anonymous phone calls! Shame on them, most of them are probably parents! Err! WTBTS has too much control over peoples minds and it really make me mad. Not even the elders can think for themselves to do what is right in God's eyes!

  • V
    V

    marked for reference

  • dedpoet
    dedpoet
    How can a victim have two witnesses watching such an act! It really does fall on the parents to protect their children no matter what an organization claims! I know that parents are manipulated and controlled by the WTBTS not to press charges, but it still is the parents job to protect their children not any organization

    I fully agree with you Sarah, the parents need to take action when their
    child is abused, whatever the elders say, but you know as well as I do
    the level of control exerted by the org on its' members. What would appear
    inconceivable to most people is made to seem quite natural to a member
    of a cult, even when it endangers the safety of a child.

    Hopefully now that the full extent of how much the org has tried to cover
    up the extent of its' child abuse problem is gradually being exposed in
    the media, more parents will report these crimes to the authorities
    more qualified to deal with them rather than the congregation elders.
    Knowing how good the org are at making such reports appear to be
    persecution against them though, I fear that many jws will continue
    to take the elder route, thus exposing more children to danger.

  • bluesapphire
    bluesapphire

    Some of this doesn't make sense to me. Can someone explain?

    Okay, why bother reporting it to the authorities from a phone booth at all? I mean if no one knows who is reporting it because it's done anonymously, then why even do it? No one can prove they complied with the law or not.

    And if they do report it anonymousely, what do they say? Do they give a congregation name, place, perpetrator or victim names, etc.? How is this "complying" with the law in any way shape or form unless they DO give names? And if they DO give names, why can't the police act on that?

    It's no different than my being a mandated reporter working for an elementary school. As a mandated reporter, I cannot just call anonymously. I have to give my name and all the information I know or I am not following the law. So how are they complying if they are doing it anonymously? Why bother calling at all if they are not complying with the law anyway?

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