According to WTS policy, person who confesses to molesting a child is not immediately turned over to the authorities?
That has been true in the past. As an elder in the 1980's I uncovered evidence that another elder in a local congregation had sexually abused a fourteen year old girl. He denied it and subsequently no action was taken against him. I became extremely concerned about this individual and telephoned the Branch for further direction. They informed me to leave the issue well alone. I then told them that I was going to call in the authorities to investigate the situation. In turn the Branch threatened to take congregational action against me for slander. Regardless of this I called the authorities and eventually the person was jailed for four years. The Branch took no action against me though I was rebuked by the DO for not 'following direction'. Incidentally when I had asked the Branch to put their verbal instructions in a letter to me they refused. Why do you think that they did this?
The way the WTS in now presenting policy is that the WTS have never stopped a person reporting a molester to the police in the past unless the reporting laws allowed non-reporting. Cygnus, what the WTS says in its PR notifications is hardly likely to expose their past mishandling of the child abuse issue. Read all the BOE letters, especially the earlier ones. I know that Simon has copies of them that I am sure he will let you see.
Also, I still think the main function of the elders is not to decide whether to go to the police for the parents/guardians, but to watch over the congregation and provide spiritual assistance.
My argument Cygnus is this. What would those same elders do if a JW was accused of murder? Would they provide spiritual assistance and only call the authorities if the reporting laws inisisted on it? I hope not! Child-abuse is a criminal offence - why would they treat this crime as any different to that of murder? If they wanted to 'watch over the congregation' in care they would surely immediately seek to protect its members from danger.
As to the elders, well they are just the soft targets that thw WTS has set up. I can assure you that in every case of child-abuse that I have handled and that I knew about, the elders realizing the seriousness of the scenario were always absolutely fanatical about following instructions from the Branch to the letter. Vicki Boers case is one in point at which the elders were vehemently divided over WTS policy and the doing the right thing.
The child abuse problem within the WTS has been a worry to many well before Bill Bowen stepped forward and led the battle. Many of us tried for years to change the system from within and were met with brick walls at every turn and failed miserably. Hopefully things will now change. Judging from the leanings of the PR letter, change is afoot.
Best regards - HS
Edited by - hillary_step on 2 October 2002 11:48:43