The announcement of Bill Bowen's disfellowshiping was made--but a bit prematurely. The story is in the Paducah Sun at:
Scroll down to "Region." It is the third article entitled "Witnesses elder says claims meritless, rules followed."
Of the "handful" of men I admire, Bill is one of them.
A great and dramatic article to read!
I copied the article here for psoterity in the event that the link "evaporates."
Witnesses elder says claims meritless, rules followed
The conductor of the church service wound up announcing earlier than planned that Bill Bowen has been disfellowshipped.
By Shelley Street, The Paducah Sun
Interrupting elder Lee Stockwell, who was about to begin speaking on experiences that members have had while handing out biblical literature door to door, Bowen said, "I object to this announcement. I object to this proceeding. I have broken no biblical law. I have broken no law of the organization. The governing body has ordered my disfellowshipment to prevent my presentation of evidence that proves them to be lying hypocrites.
"I now am a silent lamb, as are the thousands of abuse survivors whose lives have been ruined by Watchtower policy on child molestation."
Stockwell started to speak over Bowen without addressing him, but Bowen became so loud that his attempt was futile.
Nearly 40 members of the congregation sat in shocked silence, listening. When Bowen was finished, Stockwell said, "William Harvey Bowen has been disfellowshipped."
"You got it," Bowen said and walked out of the meeting.
Bowen has said the church protects pedophiles by not reporting accusations to police and encouraging victims not to go to authorities to discuss the matter with anyone in the congregation. The church has denied any wrongdoing and claims it follows the law.
The actual decision to disfellowship Bowen was made July 24. He appealed, but he was told Monday that the decision had been upheld.
The disfellowshipment announcement had been scheduled for the end of Thursday's meeting, not the midpoint, Stockwell said.
"We've tried to follow what we consider theocratic arrangements, not make it into a media circus," Stockwell said in the first statement to the media by anyone connected with the congregation.
Of Bowen's outburst he said, "He's just trying to antagonize, to provoke some kind of conflict."
Stockwell said he had expected Bowen to try to interrupt the service in some way and even had spoken to the Marshall County Sheriff's Department earlier in the day about how the church should respond. The sheriff's department was not called Thursday night.
By church law, members even other members of his family are required to shun Bowen, his wife and children. "My children haven't seen their grandparents in two years," Bowen said.
The shunning started when Bowen arrived for the meeting.
"I was being spoken to by two elders," said Bowen, who attended the meeting alone. "Everyone else, I think, has been in terror just to speak to me. ... I walked in and nodded to a few people and said hello, and they just looked and turned away."
It had been 13 months since Bowen had attended a service.
"If he were in a life-threatening situation and he needed help, we'd help, but we're not going to socialize with him," Stockwell said. "If he were broken down on the side of the road, we'd help him."
Stockwell said Bowen's allegations of local child molestation are groundless, and he questioned other allegations, calling Bowen devious.
"It hurt the different ones here who knew him when he first moved here and considered him a friend ... For us it's a sad occasion that it has come to this."
Bowen said he doesn't blame his disfellowshipment on church members.
"The sad part is that none of these folks here understand," Bowen said. "They believe what the church has told them. These people are afraid to speak to me about this issue, because the church told them not to. So, I'm not angry with these people; I'm sad."
Edited by - Nathan Natas on 16 August 2002 11:41:57
My letter to the editor,
On 8-16-02 the Paducah Sun reported on page 3A certain comments by Lee Stockwell regarding my disfellowshipment from Jehovah's Witnesses. Mr. Stockwell made the statement that "the allegations of local child molestation are groundless, and he questioned other allegations, calling Bowen devious."
These comments are slanderous and completely not true. A local member of the Draffenville Congregation confessed to me that he had committed acts that left no doubt that he was a child molester. This is a matter of record as the home office in based on an investigation that I was part of, removed this man as an elder in the congregation on the results of his confession and internal church documents. The problem was as elders we were forbidden to inform anyone in the congregation that he was a child molester, including the mans own wife. When an allegation was raised that this same man was molesting yet another child, I was informed by Watchtower Legal to leave it in Gods hands and not report to the police. I chose to not follow those instructions, yet it was for that reason I came to the conclusion Jehovahs Witnesses protect pedophiles.
Second, regarding my statement to the congregation, Mr. Stockwell commented, "He's just trying to antagonize, to provoke some kind of conflict." My remarks were to proclaim my innocence of false charges brought against me. These charges were not only unproven, but I was forbidden my right to present witnesses and further written proof of committing no sin against God. I have never tried to antagonize or cause conflict in the Draffenville congregation, though I have been attacked repeatedly by sermons to the congregation to give members false information about me as well as remarks made to media by the Public Information Department of Jehovah's Witnesses.
I find these statements to be slanderous and unfounded, therefore I formerly request Mr, Stockwell retract his comments to the Paducah Sun and make an apology to the congregation and myself for his slanderous remarks.
William H. Bowen
Edited by - silentlambs on 16 August 2002 13:46:18
Like you say, it's very sad that your friends in the Hall are being led to believe that you're a liar. How much that must hurt!
You GO, Bill!
Don't take no guff!!!!
And if they don't retract it, sue the crap out of them!
Edited by - Trauma_Hound on 16 August 2002 16:43:43
Good work, Bill! Don't let them get away with their lies. Show them to be liers and hope that the world takes notice and the molestation stops.
Groundless accusations indeed!!! What a croc! I only wish the reporter was informed enough to know to ask the follow-up question, but your letter to the editor will get the truth out (if they print it).
Bill, continue to stand like the Lion King. Your courage is wonderful. Let NO ONE in that congregation get any slack. Continue to have the "stand alone spirit" as we call it in SGI-USA. Shoot, man we love to have you with us.