"JWs leaders need to mandate elder bodies to uniformly report abuse to the authorities no matter what jurisdiction; Prohibit elders from being involved in any investigative process to decide guilt or innocence in place of the authorities; Do away with the two-witness rule to determine, as if they were magistrates, guilt or innocence of someone accused; Prohibit so-called repentant molesters from engaging in the door-to-door ministry, and always inform the congregation if a convicted or confessed molester is meeting with them." -Barbara Anderson
"JWs leaders need to mandate elder bodies to uniformly report abuse to the authorities no matter what jurisdiction..."
What authority gives this woman or the administrative position of Jehovah's Witnesses the right to require more from the elders than the federal government? This woman is not above the law and neither is the Watchtower Society. The Watchtower Society doesn't have the right to ask more of the elders than what's legally and scripturally required of them.
w52 6/15 p. 374 par. 4 Subjection to Superior Authorities
Jesus pronounced a sound legal doctrine. That doctrine is simply stated, ‘Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.’
The elders are expected to use common sense. There are multiple instances where the elders have involved the police in response to domestic abuse, regardless of what's legally required of them. I've been witness to more than one.
If you'll note any circumstance brought to the fore, where the elders themselves didn't make a report to law enforcement, they received information from adults, not children. This is another reason why the Watchtower Society doesn't require that the elders “uniformly report abuse to the authorities no matter what jurisdiction.” If an adult is making an accusation against a person, you don't have to go to the police for them. Any adult is expected to take some responsibly for themselves. Any eyewitness to a crime or confession can speak with more certainty than a hearsay witness. Hearsay is information gathered by one person from another person concerning some event, condition, or thing of which the first person had no direct experience. When submitted as evidence, such statements are called hearsay evidence.
“Prohibit elders from being involved in any investigative process to decide guilt or innocence in place of the authorities;...”
It's appropriate for any organization that promotes family values to take some action against anyone who persists in a crime punishable by law. If anyone should be kicked out of an organization of law abiding citizens for any reason, crimes against children should take precedent. The policy that dictates the investigative process and judicial system used by Jehovah's Witnesses to expel repeat offenders doesn't take the place of the secular authorities and never has.
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, the elders receive proper legal direction to ensure that they comply with the law. Additionally, the victim or anyone else who has knowledge of the allegation may wish to report the matter to the authorities, and it is his or her absolute right to do so.
The congregation doesn't interfere with the legal system doing its job. The circumstances surrounding this latest Fremont, California lawsuit is evidence of that. In 1993 and 2004, a spouse and in-law of Jonathan Kendrick reported him to the elders and the police. In 2004, he was reported to the elders and the police at the same time. As a result, the police started calling the elders trying to obtain information.
“Do away with the two-witness rule to determine, as if they were magistrates, guilt or innocence of someone accused;”
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.
A Bible-based organization is to do away with what is stated in the Bible? For what reason? What the Bible states about “two witnesses” simply pertains to the congregation's response to an accusation of wrong-doing. It has no connection to, nor does it influence the secular authorities, courts or any civil proceeding.
w97 8/15 p. 28 Why Report What Is Bad?
But suppose the person does deny the charge and you are the only witness against him. Could you now be open to a countercharge of slander? No, not unless you have gossiped to those not involved in the matter. It is not slanderous to report conditions affecting a congregation to those having authority and responsibility to oversee and correct matters. It is, in fact, in line with our desire always to do what is correct and loyal.—Compare Luke 1:74, 75.
This Bible-based concept has merit in secular courts. Our secular judicial system adheres to a premise of scientific evidence and testimony based on credible witnesses. Judicial gridlock (reasonable doubt) will likely result if it's strictly one person's word against another with no other corroborating evidence.
“Prohibit so-called repentant molesters from engaging in the door-to-door ministry...”
If a person can legally enter a certain neighborhood uninhibited by state or federal sanctions, such a person is simply allowed to participate in the door-to-door ministry with the service group. I can't say it's never happened, but I've never heard of anyone assaulted at the door by one of Jehovah's Witnesses. There have been unscrupulous individuals that have been known to pose as evangelicals, sales persons, etc., with criminal intents. Many more times than not, to burglarize someone's house. If one of Jehovah’s Witnesses with criminal intents decided to exploit the door-to-door ministry as a means to commit a crime, they're not going to meet with the service group. If they did, they'd be accompanied by other publishers in a car-group and/or accompanied by another publisher while on a person's doorstep. Such an environment would prevent a person from committing a crime. If a person wants to exploit the door-to-door ministry to commit a crime, they won't meet with the service group and there's nothing Jehovah's Witnesses could do to prevent such a thing. Even if a person is disfellowshipped, they can still go door-to-door. They can't meet with the service group, but nothing can prevent them from going door-to-door and presenting the Bible, Bible-based literature or a box of girl scout cookies.
“...and always inform the congregation if a convicted or confessed molester is meeting with them."
The 10/01/2012 BOE states the following; "At the same time that parents are warned about an individual, it would be appropriate for the elders to inform the individual that parents in the congregation will be discreetly informed." There are authorized channels to inform others about something of this nature.
Methodist Church: Church Participation by a Registered Child Sex Offender - Adopted in 2004
What's stated in the 10/01/2012 BOE obviously applies to anyone on the national sex-offender registry. Divulging this type of information into the congregation through an unauthorized channel can result in a defamation lawsuit.