JW Child Abuse Makes 'Private Eye'

by Joe Grundy 28 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    Following on from the recent thread about WT losing an appeal concerning the UK Charity Commission (sorry, I can't do the link) I'm pleased to report that this matter is covered in the latest 'Private Eye' (20 March - 2 April issue).

    It's a one-third page article (p.34) under the heading 'Child Abuse' and the headline 'Silent Witnesses'. It reports the case accurately, mentions several criminal cases and the ongoing High Court compensation case. It includes some of Judge McKenna's comments.

  • cofty
    Brilliant. Thanks Joe, good work!
  • steve2
    Thanks Joe. Does anyone else have the link?
  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy
    This was the previous thread here: WT loses appeal in UK!!!!!!!
  • defender of truth
  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy


    Silent Witnesses

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses were last week criticised by a judge for causing serious and unnecessary dealy to a Charity Commission investigation into the organisation’s safeguarding and protection procedures, which could have put children at risk.

    The Charity watchdog launched an inquiry last June into the Witnesses’ governing body, the Watchtower Bible and Traqct Society of Britain (WBTSB) following historical sex abuse allegations and convuctions of senior members of the congregation.

    In Manchester, convicted child abuser Jonathan Rose was allowed to question his victims after release from prison to see whether he should be allowed to return to the congregation. In Newcastle, three elders were accused of refusing to cooperate (until ordered to do so by a judge) with a police investigation and subsequent prosecution of Gordon Leighton, a ministerial servant (an assistant to the elders). He was jailed for 13 years for a series of assaults on a child.

    Similar claims that elders destroyed evidence and refused to cooperate with police investigations into Mark Sewell, from Barry, south Wales, were made when he was finally jailed for 14 years for rape and child abuse last year. And in the high court, judgement is expected soon in a test case brought by a victim who was raped and abused for five years from the age of four by Peter Stewart, a ministerial servant in Leicestershire. She is suing the organisation for the post-traumatic stress and othe damage she says she has suffered because of its failure to protect her. If she wins her case (the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim they cannot be held liable for the individual actions of members), dozens of other similar claims are expected to follow.

    As well as investigating the Jehovah’s Witnesses over safeguarding and their advice to individual congregation charities, the Charity Commission was seeking to probe the organisation’s administration, governance and management in a move which could see the congregation lose its charitable status. The commission also served WBTSB with a production order seeking disclosure of all documents recording allegations of abuse, and advice and guidance given in response, as well as minutes of meetings associated with child safeguarding.

    The organisation was given 42 days to appeal to the Charity Tribunal but instead applied for a judicial review, arguing that the inquiry and production order were disproportionate and too wide, and that data may breach data protection laws and the human rights of people who may be identified. Last December the organisation was refused a judicial review, and last week the tribunal refused it permission to appeal against the enquiry because it was out of time.

    Tribunal judge Alison McKenna said the WBTSB had been told repeatedly that an application for judicial review would fail ‘because parliament had created the alternative remedy of an appeal to the tribunal’. When asked why it had failed to launch an appeal on time, lawyers for the charity admitted: ‘We could have, but we didn’t’.

    The judge said there had already been ‘significant and serious’ delay in the investigation and added: ‘I give weight to the fact that the inquiry and production order relate to safeguarding matters which could ... concern ongoing risks to people who are still children’.

    Private Eye 1388, 20/3/15

    Comments to follow

  • Joe Grundy
    Joe Grundy

    A very good article, I think. Concise but plenty of facts.

    I was struck by the extent of the material covered by the production order. I wonder whether those 'outside parties' who contacted the CC helped to make them aware of what sort of stuff may exist.

  • konceptual99

    Top marks Joe!

  • disposable hero of hypocrisy
    disposable hero of hypocrisy
    Well done mate. Lots of UK press at the mo.. I'm collecting digitally what I can, I wonder if we could have a sticky thread on this forum with nothing but links, or even fully quoted articles of this sort.. Kind of a one stop shop for media about jw's, chronologically arranged.... Could be handy.
  • Phizzy

    DHoH that would be TREMENDOUSLY handy !

    Well done Joe, I know a lot of media types respect and read Private Eye, whilst their particular job does not allow them to comment as freely as that estimable publication does itself.

    This may well give legs to the growing story, and hopefully Media exposure of the shortcomings of the JW Org, and hopefully force them into doing what they should have been doing all along, and protecting the vulnerable.

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