Britain | Jehovah's Witnesses hushed up child sex scandal | July 16, 2013

by jwleaks 172 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • jwleaks

    CHURCH officials hushed up a child sex scandal in their ranks and refused to co-operate with police.

    Jehovah Witness ministerial servant Gordon Leighton admitted sexually abusing a child when he was confronted by his church elders, a court heard.

    But during the official police investigation, the 53-year-old – who made headlines in the 1990s when wife Yvonne, 28, died after refusing a blood transfusion after childbirth on religious grounds – denied any illegal wrongdoing.

    And when detectives asked elders Simon Preyser, Harry Logan and David Scott to make statements about the confession, all three refused and said what they had heard was confidential.

    For three years, the elders refused to co-operate with the criminal investigation and kept up that stance when the case was brought before Newcastle Crown Court after the victim made a complaint to police.

    Each was issued with a witness summons which they fought to overturn before being ordered to testify by Judge Penny Moreland citing public interest.

    Their barrister Richard Daniels said the men had a “duty to God” not to breach confidence.

    He added: “Privileged communication between members of the congregation and ministers is an absolute right and duty and there is no power in law to breach such a confidence.”

    Judge Moreland said: “It is apparent that the three elders who were present when this conversation took place are in possession of relevant evidence as to a point which is of real significance in this case.

    “They claim the right of confidentiality, they claim that what they heard said by the defendant during the course of that meeting ought to be subject to privilege, as ministers of religion.”

    Judge Moreland refused to withdraw the summonses and said: “Public interest is clearly in favour of this evidence being given.

    “What was said by the defendant on that occasion is of great significance in the trial.”

    Despite the judge’s ruling, the men still refused to make statements to police until just hours before they were called before the jury.

    Leighton, who has since been expelled from the church at Lambton Kingdom Hall in Washington, denied two charges of indecency with a child and seven of indecent assault.

    He was yesterday found guilty of two charges of indecency with a child and six of indecent assault. He was found not guilty of one indecent assault charge, on the direction of the judge.

    He was remanded in custody until he is sentenced next month but warned he is facing a lengthy spell behind bars.

    Prosecutor Katherine Dunn told the court the victim, who is now an adult, broke her silence in 2009.

    The court heard how at a special church meeting, Leighton “admitted sexual abuse” and made excuses for his behaviour.

    Miss Dunn said: “The elders conducted their own investigation. A meeting was arranged and the defendant was confronted with the allegations.

    “After initially denying the allegations, he broke down and admitted sexually abusing the complainant.”

    The court heard Leighton, of Wigeon Close, Ayton, refused to answer any questions when interviewed by detectives and claimed his confession at the meeting was limited to masturbation and reading pornographic material.

    Throughout the six-day trial, Leighton denied all allegations and that he had confessed to the elders, telling jurors: “It never happened. It’s all untrue.”

    Leighton had also denied unrelated assault charges, which he was found guilty of.

    Backstory of Gordon Leighton and the death of his wife over refusal of blood transfusion

  • joe134cd

    Here's hoping they will get done for another $27mill. I doubt it though.

  • St George of England
    St George of England

    Logan and Scott are still listed on the Charity Commission site as Trustees/Elders in that congregation.


  • punkofnice

    It'll be interesting to see how the UK legal system deals with this.

    Law UK and USA is something I have not investigated.

    If this guy is guilty I hope justice is served not only against him but also against the watchtower corporation for their disgusting stance on protection of paedophiles. May the watchtower(TM) suffer extreme financial deprivation thus causing the governing body to stop being so disgusting in their protection of sexual predators........or abdicate and admit that the governing body is a paedophile ring itself.

    May the watchtower change it's stance and do the decent thing by actually protecting children from sexual predators and enforce elders to call the police in ANY case of child molestation.

  • valkyrie

    What heartless incalcitrance!

    They are hardenening their necks, to support a great millstone pendant...

  • zeb

    Judge Penny is to be complimented.

  • TheOldHippie

    That was ONE LOUSY WAY of dealing with the crime and a total misunderstanding of their obligations towards the victim and family, the congregation and neighbourhood / society as a whole. Not good. I had hoped that way of handling these matters was a US way of doing it, and that we here in Europe were more civilized than the US cowboys, but obviously some are still stuck in the hush-hush strategy.

  • cedars

    Here is my article on the case for anyone interested...

    I'd love to know whether Cofty knows anyone who was involved in this. It happened more-or-less in his backyard.


  • Phizzy

    I hope these Elders are prosecuted for wasting Police time and for being Accessories to a crime.

    Their Barrister is using weasel words too, there is no "Priest Penitent Confidentiality" in law in the U.K, so not only morally, but legally these Elders have done wrong.

    Where is the care and concern for the victim ? these heartless bastards only care about covering up the filth that goes on under their noses to try to keep their Public Image.

    May all this come back to bite them all in the bum BIG TIME !

  • Sapphy

    This really annoys me:

    "Their barrister Richard Daniels said the men had a “duty to God” not to breach confidence.

    He added: “Privileged communication between members of the congregation and ministers is an absolute right and duty and there is no power in law to breach such a confidence.”"

    Absolute mendacity. watchtower talking out both sides of it's mouth of course.

    "we have no clergy class"

    "All are ordained ministers"

    "Elders don't act for the society, they are independent"

    "Sorry, Elders can't talk to the police because of clergy priveledge"

    Steaming hypocracy.

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