Let me give you the other side of the coin. The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent
My brother's wife and her sister had been sexually abused and molested all during their teenage years. Whenever they met with the elders, the elders had BEGGED them to report him, they FLAT OUT REFUSED, but yet they wanted the elders to 'counsel' him--like they were capable of fixing him. Time goes on, my brother is disfellowshipped, his girlfriend was never baptised.
Later on my brother married her, knowing her history, and it has been a nightmare for my family ever since. At one point, they were reported to the authorities by neighbors. The department of Children's Welfare came and took the children away and gave my parents custody. When my parents had to go to court to testify whether they knew anything that would endager the children, my father (an elder) answered truthfully that she had been sexually abused as a child and that they (my parents) didn't want the grandchildren around her family for that reason, since none of the girls ever saw fit to prosecute their father. My father mentioned he knew this in his role as a church elder, but the family was unwilling to prosecute, so he had nowhere to turn.
That B-I-T-C-H stood up and accused my father of being a liar, that she was never molested, and stated that she was going to sue my parents (who have a rather sizeable estate, especially compared to her poor white trash family)for slander.
That is just ONE example. My father gave me many more. What do you want them to do, people, when the VICTIMS refuse to prosecute or even CONFRONT the abuser. Did you know that even if someone is disfellowshipped for that offense, there is no proof that the crime was commited? Most victims don't press rape charges (embarrasment of family and/or cong). In these situations it is one word against another. The elders are SPIRITUAL POLICE. They can put their own family in danger if they report someone to the police. If that person denies what they said to the police (which you and I both know they would) the elders ARE NOT ALLOWED to disclose to the police anything that was said during any meeting. They can be personally sued. That is the criminal knowing their rights, my friends. Not the elders committing wrong.
Yes, elders will anonymously report crimes of which they are aware. Because by law, their confession is PROTECTED, and may not be used.
C'MON guys, there are nitwit elders, we all know one. But my dad has been an elder for 15 years and he would NEVER go along with counseling one not to report an incident to the police. On the contrary, he has encouraged it. Let's give the majority of these guys a break and not get caught up in the heat of the moment.
And yes, there are victims, who do not deserve to be brushed under the rug. And this post is not meant to minimize any of those victims or cases.
But in this country, just like a criminal has his rights and uses them, so too should the victim. That is the crux of the matter. If the victim would report the matter to police, who have all sorts of forensic tools/surveillance equip,that the elders don't have, there wouldn't be any of this. And I gotta tell ya, If I was raped, I'd be a-yellin' for the police, not my local elders.