by steve2 49 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • steve2

    Since Geoffrey Jackson's appearance before the Australian Royal Commission on Friday there has for some been an expressed feeling of anticlimax.

    It is as though he was given too much latitude to preach, to claim ignorance and to skirt questions.

    More to the point, as much as I myself thought I would never have expected to say this, GJ actually came across as likeable and - don't throttle me please! - personable.

    Okay, we can debate the extent to which this is about perception and public performance. But, no one here has so far put him in the same category as the bumbling JW elders who appeared earlier.

    Perhaps we were harboring the hope that GJ would himself be an arch-bumbler or that the counsel would have ripped him to pieces. I would love to see a member of the GB dissolve under scrutiny! I could dine out on that for a year!

    But then, if that were our hope, we have lost sight of what this commission is about: An Inquiry into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

    It is NOT a criminal trial and none of the parties subpoenaed have been charged with any crimes.

    It's purpose was never to grind parties into the ground and leave them not a single skerrick of dignity which in itself could be construed as a form of trauma by trial.

    Understandably many of us will have wished GJ of all parties could have been legally and ethically pummeled. But it is a commission of inquiry in which there is a super fine line between thorough and persistent questioning and leaving GJ no decent way back home. You could even have had a backlash against the Commission if GJ was perceived to have been treated badly.

    As another poster said, the Commission depends on the cooperation of the various parties and counsel cannot shout, "Liar! Liar!" as much as they may feel justified in doing so.

    Besides, the next stage will be the collation of all the Exhibits accepted by the Judge and the collation of all the information gathered from everyone's testimony which will lead to a draft report with findings and recommendations.

    The hearing might be over, but the analysis has yet to begin.

    We can expect a pretty damning report in which even the JW organization's expert witness, Dr Monica Applewhite will likely find her "evidence" eviscerated.

    Recommendations will not be flimsy but will carry muscle. Imagine God's so-called unique channel of communication being compelled to take on board the finds of a secular commission of inquiry. The light burnishes bright, not due to the guidance of the holy spirit, but the evidence based best practise procedures of responding to child sexual abuse.

    The Governing Body will find no snake-like way to slither through the legal and ethical compulsions resulting from the Commission of Inquiry. What the law cannot compel, public shaming can accomplish. Who wants to be seen to be endangering children and in particular child victims of sexual abuse.

    In closing, my hat is off to the wonderful female counsel for BCG who is probably the only woman to have ever closely and directly called any member of the Governing Body to account for their policies and procedures of responding to child sexual abuse. I did not get her name but she is certainly up there with Angus Stewart in her acumen and intelligently persistent questioning.

    Bring on the next stage!

  • Lee Elder
    Lee Elder

    This is a process in my view. They have created a highly valuable record for both criminal and civil proceedings in the months and years to come. I rather doubt we have seen the end of this :-)

  • barry
    Some people have been misled about the direction of this Royal commission and thanks steve2 for setting things straight.
  • jwleaks
    steve2 - In closing, my hat is off to the wonderful female counsel for BCG who is probably the only woman to have ever closely and directly called any member of the Governing Body to account for their policies and procedures of responding to child sexual abuse. I did not get her name but she is certainly up there with Angus Stewart in her acumen and intelligently persistent questioning.

    Well said steve2. I've put a post up on "the wonderful female counsel for BCG."

    Pauline David

  • Dumplin


    You expressed my thoughts very well. thank you.

    You said "What the law cannot compel, public shaming can accomplish "

    Yes -- the "analysis" is just about to 'hit the fan' and we don't even have to wait for the RC report - newspaper and other media reports have already been exposing JW leaders for the heartless, unconcerned bastards that they are. They will continue to put JWs in a bad light.

    JWs have now become a theatrical spectacle to the world, only not in the way they would have hoped for or expected. And if some of them are as yet unaware of the royal commissions work, they soon will be made aware. This news will spread and pick up speed all over the world until there will be no way for them to escape or put a spin on it.

    And I too appreciate the way the RC is going about Case 29. They don't want to have to force anyone to do the right thing, but by using "reason", they try and "guide" the thinking and conscience of policy makers/enforcers in the right direction.

    My JW wife watched Jackson with me last night and agreed that the elders were inadequate to handle these matters and that ALL child abuse cases should be handed over to authorities (my first breakthrough w/ her). But then she kept saying, like Jackson did, that the authorities should just make reporting mandatory and that would take care of the problem. I told her that a teacher who FORCES a child to do the right thing usually doesn't get the results they hoped for -- they might get a half-hearted "i'm sorry" - but that's about it. And, I said, that's not what Jesus did either. He didn't force anyone. He gave parables to help people REASON on wrong and right. And then I asked her where do you think Geoffrey Jackson fits into the Good Samaritan parable? Does he go out of his way to help those who have been beaten up, robbed and left for dead on the side of the road? Or do you think that his policies actually re-traumatize the victim, leaving them feeling beat up and robbed again?

    So I like the reasoning approach that the Commission is using and hopefully SOME JWs will see where Jackson and the other leaders' hearts are.

    I hope the Commission's report words it in such a way so as to reach hearts.

  • username

    I have to disagree in one observation. There were times where he did crumble. I an very astute at reading people due to watching my back during my time in this cult.

    The cues are there, he may have had a silver tongue but his actions/body language gave him away. There was a certain amount of paranoia coming from him too. Due to him being revered as some sort of prophet, he will be used to people giving him full attention, hanging on every word he says. I noted twice Jackson Asking Stewart if Stewart could hear him, Stewart knew what he was doing, by not giving Jackson his full attention would have made Jackson very nervous indeed. The way Jackson asked was actually in quiet a panicky way!

  • nugget

    I think the RC explored how much they could achieve to change the way that child abuse was handled within an organisation such as the witnesses. They established that this commission was noit a form of persecution and Mr Jackson agreed that the organisation was not a victim.

    They challenged some key doctrines and principles as they pertain to the way these matter were handled and Mr Jackson kept saying he wanted to make changes but when they actually explored the detail it became clear that some things will not change.

    The role of women will remain as it is and the bottom line is the organisation sees no need to include women in anything more than a token way. The two witness rule may be modified especially as the commission has now cited a scriptural principle that could be applied. The organisation remains committed to shunning and there is likely to be no way they will change this voluntarily. They may report child abuse because mandatory reporting is imposed on them. Essentially they lied about areas they feel uncomfortable about such as discipline within the organisation and the way people who leave are treated. They proved that they think freedom of worship only applies to members of their organisation and not to those who chose to leave. It was clear they would only make changes if the commission made it a legal requirement. Apologies and compensation will not be forthcoming.

  • Witness My Fury
    Witness My Fury

    Whilst i agree with your points, my understanding is that the RC is only going to be drafting a report and recommendations that will be passed to government, who may choose to implement them "as is" into law or water them down to irrelevance as far as Watchtower is concerned.

    However strong the RCs wishes the next step is putting it into law. I dont know how things are done in Australia and it may be that the RCs findings are "a given" and will be passed into law. We can hope so, but dont bet on it.

  • steve2

    Username you observed well. He was far from note perfect and yes, at one or two places had no fallback but to concede points counsel and/or the judge made.

    WitnessMyFury, law or no law, the JW policies and procedures are now openly seen as backward, roundly criticized by those who know best practice and leave the JW organization increasingly vulnerable to civil lawsuits.

    The RC has now benchmarked legal and societal concerns. The JW organization from henceforth cannot say, "We did not have improper intentions" or "We are at the forefront of high moral standards in responding to allegations of child sexual abuse". Besides, arrogant frontage aside, the organization is keen to be seen to be a clean, loving and socially responsible religious group. You cannot get squeakier clean and proper than

    Watch the important changes occur. Listdn to the spin that accompanies the changes.

  • The Searcher
    The Searcher

    I foresee the Org issuing new general "guidelines" to the sheep, and very specific ones to the "shepherds", in the not too distant future. Reactive damage limitation by the power-men in Brooklyn.

    They will not want to risk having one of their seven front-men be interrogated by other western-world courts.

    There will be changes within the Org because of this Commission's ultimate report, but I seriously doubt if the Org will instruct elders to urge victims to report the matter to police immediately.

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