UNITED STATES BRANCHE X E C U T I V E O F F I C E S
to Watch Tower SocietyAUSTRALIAGSC/AS January 21, 1999 No. 176S
It is understood that if the law requires elders to report cases of child abuse, they should complywith the law and do so. Of course, it would be better if the person confessing to having engagedin such activity would himself report it, but if he does not do so, the elders should do it.Where the law does not obligate the elders to report cases that come to their attention, there is noneed for them to do so, but if the matter becomes known to the authorities and they are requiredto disclose information they have in their possession, they will do so unless they can claim ecclesiasticalprivilege.....You asked whether the elders should tell the accused that they are obligated to make a reportwhere such is the case. Probably from a legal viewpoint there is no obligation to tell the accusedthat a report will be made, but we do think that from the moral viewpoint the accused should betold what the law requires and that we have an obligation to comply with it. Even if there is nolegal requirement that we make a report, it would be a kindness to the accused to let him knowthat should the matter later become known to the authorities, the law may require the elders toreveal what they know of the matter. (Romans 13:4; Matt. 22:21) You were given approval in aletter from the Service Committee dated GSC:AS July 24, 1998 to publish some information inyour edition of Our Kingdom Ministry concerning keeping certain matters confidential. We donot know whether this has been done yet, but it should prove helpful to the elders in these circumstances.