Victoria, Australia: Steven Unthank's Press Release: JW's Hierarchy Formally Charged Today With Child Abuse

by AndersonsInfo 243 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • The Quiet One
    The Quiet One

    Organised book, pages 82, 158. Got to go...

  • MrMonroe
    The evidence is available . . . he just needs the right people to testify and give evidence that children are at risk

    You mean current members of the congregation? I can see that happening!

    Sizemik, giving evidence in court requires evidence of an offence, not a general statement of opinion or the stories of sexual abuse in distant congregations a decade ago. The numerous docos available on YouTube are not evidence of an offence by the seven legal entities he has charged. A magistrate can't be expected to view a 30-minute television documentary and decide that an offence has thus been committed in the Traralgon congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    He has to prove that a minister (or elders, as he has chosen to do) worked with unrelated children, and that this is a common event, and they lacked WWC checks. For that he will need (a) the names of elders, (b) the names of children he has worked with, (c) the dates they worked together and (d) an answer to the question, "Was this an uncommon, isolated event?" If the answer is no, then he can ask them, "Do you have a current WWC check?"

    If they don't, I would say the case is proven.

  • belbab

    Attention Watchtower Legal

    Rumour has it that Dr Gary Botting is in Australia in July.

    Anyone can contact him at:

    I am sure he would be glad to hear from you.

    He has first hand knowledge of Watchtower buggery on Watchtower premises.

    belbab, chain rattler

    PS: Your welcome!

  • sizemik

    I hear what you're saying Mr M . . .

    I believe the charges relate to the JW's not conforming to the Act however . . . not actual instances of child abuse. Steve's job in those circumstances would be simply to demonstrate that there exists a reasonable level of risk that children are being supervised, or the possibility exists of children (minors) coming under under the direct authority of church leaders . . . and that access to them is available under the structure of this particular organisation. A burden of proof also will fall upon the WTS to demonstrate that no such risk exists . . . at all. The risk v no-risk argument will be obiter dictum to the actual charges themselves and so a level of risk . . . rather than comprehensive proof of molestation . . . is all that is required to demonstrate that the Act applies.

    The evidence of past occurrance . . . by personal testimony under oath, will only serve to reinforce that the a risk exists to a reasonable degree . . . as does any documented evidence of the occurrance taking place within the same organisation in other countries. Even the fact that other similar type organisations have conformed will add to the perception of reasonable risk. Such evidence does not relate directly to the charges of non-conformation . . . it simply demonstrates that conformation cannot be reasonably exempted in their case. A stronger burden of proof rests with SU in proving that they have not conformed with the Act . . . but this seems to be acknowledged anyway.

    I just hope he has the required level of legal support to present his case coherently and logically.

  • Curtains

    I don't think Steve Unthank has a case because jehovahs witnesses do not engage in specific child related work according to the Act. they don't have separate sunday schools. Wherever children take part in religious activities adults are not excluded - the activitities apply to adults and children. If this goes to court Jehovahs witness lawyers will be able to refute his claims very successfully imo.

    the theocratic ministry school does not exclude adults - this is not a child only school - so the Act would not apply here.

    likewise the ministry, meetings, mentoring schemes. The Australia act is very similar to what we have here in the UK. What I have read at least is the same. I would be interested to know why many here who have read the act are so convinced that Jehovahs witnesses are contravening the Act as to me they don't even fall into a grey area?

    edit: although I do admire Steve Unthank's tenacity

  • sizemik

    When you consider the fact that "families" are regularly assembled together for the purpose of religious instruction under the authority of Church leaders you could ask . . .

    Do children (minors) access ancilliary rooms (library, toilets) before, during, and after meetings unsupervised by their parents? Do Elders and MS's freely access the same areas? If the answer to both questions is "yes" . . . then you have a reasonable degree of risk of those in authority having access to minors . . . seems like a no-brainer to me.

    But again . . . it all depends on how SU presents his case. Which is why good legal representation . . . or having the Public Prosecutor present the case could be the critical element.

  • The Quiet One
    The Quiet One

    Page 82: ''Although primarily parents are responsible for their own children, others in the congregation may wish to help young ones who are motivated from the heart to share in the Kingdom-preaching work.''..'' It would be appropriate for the parent to approach one of the discuss whether the child is qualified to become a publisher..two elders meet with the child and his parent(s).'' page 158 '' When the elders handle cases of serious sins involving a baptized minor, it is preferable that the baptized parents of the young person be present and cooperate with the judicial committee..''- What if the childs parents aren't baptized?

  • sizemik

    TQO . . . you're on to it.

    Anything of that nature which demonstrates as a teaching Organisation . . . that there exists the opportunity for minors to be exposed to risk . . . is right on the mark IMO.

  • Curtains

    here is a link to what child related work means under the Act

    the way I see it Jehovahs witnesses do not provide activites for children wherein their parents/parental supervision is excluded.

    Plus Jehovahs witnesses, nowadays, are regularly told to always supervise their children. In contrast sunday school requires children to be handed to the care and supervision of a minister of the church for the duration of the class.

    I'd love to find loopholes but am not convinced there are any.

    But I'm not going to argue and will wait and see how this case turns out.

  • Hoping4Change

    I dont know how frequently it occurs, but how would children, who attend and participate in activities run by Jehovah's Witnesses, but whose parents are not participating members and do not attend such services, be viewed? Becuase such children would be attending meetings, field service, libraries, restrooms, etc without their parents supervision, does the fact that the parents are allowing the activities to occur without their supervision exempt the organization/leaders from a status of "providing activities for children wherein their parents/parental supervision are excluded"? Even if parent's do not approve of a child's participation amongst Witnesses, would the fact that parents cant be expected to keep their children on a chain and know every single movement of their child (thinking older children here) open up the risk for such a classification because such children could 'sneak off'/'lie' or by some other means practice with Witnesses unbeknownest to their parents? And for parents (who dont participate) who may 'approve'/'allow' their children to participate in JW related activities, I dont see how dropping them off at the Kingdom Hall to go to 'meeting/TMS/bible study/field service/etc.' would be any different from dropping them off at any other kind activity led by people who are expected to conform with the Working With Children Check. It really does beg the question, what is it that the JW leadership are objecting to by insisting that they dont have to conform? Is it just the cost of compliance?

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