New JW sex abuse lawsuit

by Nathan Natas 13 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    http://www.globe.com/dailyglobe2/001/metro/Suit_charges_church_coverup+.shtml

    Suit charges church coverup

    Jehovah's Witness group is blamed in abuse of girl

    By Kathleen Burge, Globe Staff, 1/1/2003

    14-year-old Dorchester girl and her parents are suing the Jehovah's Witnesses, arguing that the religious group covered up the girl's sexual abuse by a Bible study leader and discouraged her parents from reporting the abuse to police or prosecutors.

    The girl, allegedly molested in her house by the son of a church elder from the Columbus Park Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Dorchester, was so traumatized by the abuse that she has spent most of the past three years involuntarily committed to local psychiatric hospitals, the lawsuit alleges. Her mother says that while church leaders coddled her daughter's abuser, they socially ostracized her for notifying law enforcement authorities and pressing criminal charges, according to court papers.

    The lawsuit, filed last week in Suffolk Superior Court, highlights a sexual abuse scandal that has begun to envelop a religious group other than the Catholic Church: Jehovah's Witnesses, who claim 1 million followers in the United States and 6 million worldwide.

    Those who have filed lawsuits against the church - calling themselves ''silent lambs,'' because they say the church has discouraged them from getting help - argue that doctrine requiring alleged sexual abuse victims to produce witnesses to their molestation breeds an environment that favors abusers and allows abuse to thrive. They also charge that the church's policy of investigating complaints on its own, and discouraging reports to authorities, is illegal.

    Officials at the Columbus Park Congregation could not be reached yesterday. At the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc., also a defendant in the Suffolk lawsuit, an employee in the media center yesterday referred inquiries to the church's Web site, where church officials speak in general terms about their policy on child abuse.

    The church's third priority, after protecting victims and seeking help for perpetrators, is seeing that secular authorities are informed about the accusation, says Philip Brumley, general counsel for Jehovah's Witnesses, in a Web site video. A spokesman at the New York office did not return phone calls yesterday afternoon.

    The group was also named in a 2001 lawsuit in New Hampshire Superior Court involving two half-sisters who accused a man - the father of one, the stepfather of the other - of sexually abusing them as children in the 1980s. The man, now serving a 56-year sentence for sexual abuse, was a member of the Wilton (N.H.) Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Although the women's mother repeatedly voiced suspicion of sexual abuse to church elders, they told her to keep it within the church, the lawsuit charges. The women charge that New Hampshire state law required the church leaders to report the abuse to authorities.

    The Suffolk lawsuit outlines similar charges that church elders in Dorchester tried to keep quiet allegations of sexual abuse. The suit alleges that William Broadard, an elder in the Columbus Park Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, appointed his son as a ''pioneer'' in the church, even though he knew his son was a threat to children.

    The suit alleges that Ronald Broadard had a history of sexually and physically abusing children.

    Ronald Broadard went to the girl's home in Dorchester, specifically asking to ''talk about God with the kids,'' according to the lawsuit. When the girl's parents agreed, he began meeting with the girl in their home in 1998, when she was about 10. But while he was visiting her from 1998 to 2000, they charge, he was molesting her. The girl's parents alerted authorities in the fall of 2000. The Globe's policy is not to name alleged victims of sexual abuse unless they agree to be identified.

    Even though Massachusetts did not then require clergy to report suspected child abuse - a law was passed last year after the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal erupted - the girl's family argues that the church leaders were ''guidance or family counselors,'' who were required to report potential child abuse.

    The girl's parents did not learn about the abuse until their daughter's therapist told them the girl had been trying to kill herself. The girl, who had always done well in school, started having trouble. ''She became suicidal and started acting out and no longer was the angelic, well-behaved child that she used to be,'' said Stephen M. Born, the family's lawyer.

    In October 2000, Broadard was arrested and charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child and one count of assault and battery. But the charges were dismissed the following year. The lawsuit alleges the charges were dropped because Broadard was found incompetent to stand trial. Suffolk County prosecutors could not ascertain yesterday afternoon why the charges were dropped.

    Meanwhile, according to the lawsuit, the local Jehovah's Witnesses elders, including Broadard's father, decided only to ''reprove'' him. He kept his title and responsibilities within the church, the lawsuit charges.

    And when the girl's mother told church leaders about the abuse, they told her she should not talk about it. The church elders told her they would handle the matter and urged her to ''pray more about the situation,'' the lawsuit charges.

    The girl was committed to psychiatric institutions after she was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the abuse, Born said. ''This is almost like a fresh wound,'' he said. ''The effect of it, the trauma, has been dramatic.''

    Kathleen Burge can be reached at kburge@globe.com.

  • gumby
    gumby

    Meanwhile, according to the lawsuit, the local Jehovah's Witnesses elders, including Broadard's father, decided only to ''reprove'' him. He kept his title and responsibilities within the church, the lawsuit charges

    This is the only part that sounds odd. I have never known someone who was reproved and KEPT their position.

    This article sounds promising that the media is finally starting to see the resemblance of the Catholics and dubs with regards to child abuse. Nice article NN....thanks for posting it.

    Gumby

  • Trauma_Hound
    Trauma_Hound

    Just terrible. :(

  • wednesday
    wednesday

    My disgust for the WTS knows no bounds.

  • Nordic
    Nordic

    Thanks Nathan Natas for the information.

  • abbagail
    abbagail

    Yes, thanks Nathan. I see it is now in Scandal & Coverups, and also in Friends http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/forum/thread.aspx?id=43613&page=1&site=3

    and maybe I'll put it in the CHILD ABUSE section.

  • Pistoff
    Pistoff

    Thanks nathan..................the same sad story again and again.

    I am struggling whether or not to send the link to my brother, the true believer.

  • waiting
    waiting

    Article quote:

    Those who have filed lawsuits against the church - calling themselves ''silent lambs,'' because they say the church has discouraged them from getting help

    Thanks to the SilentLambs Organization for the consistent - and fierce - publicity. It's one the the major factors in "silent lambs" coming forward & putting forth lawsuits. It's also one of the primary reasons the newspapers are beginning to understand the WTBS.

    - argue that doctrine requiring alleged sexual abuse victims to produce witnesses to their molestation breeds an environment that favors abusers and allows abuse to thrive.

    This is an awesome point! "Breeds an environment that favors abusers and allows abuse to thrive." I suspect this is a point which *tends* to separate other religions' official sex/child abuse policies. Also, thanks to Bill Bowen & Silent Lambs for hammering away at this same point. The article made it quite easy to understand for me. duh.

    They also charge that the church's policy of investigating complaints on its own, and discouraging reports to authorities, is illegal.

    As brought out in article - not illegal in this state as of 2000. But because of the extreme manipulation of the Catholic Church - states are beginning to address the issue of major sex crimes in religions....that these religions know about & keep secret.

    May the WTBTS strangle on it's own secrets and weep over the millions they will lose....one way or another. Through repugnant - but true - publicity, and lawsuits that will be won...sooner or later.

    Thanks Nathan.

    Edited by - waiting on 1 January 2003 11:26:51

  • Roddy
    Roddy

    >>Meanwhile, according to the lawsuit, the local Jehovah's Witnesses elders, including Broadard's father, decided only to ''reprove'' him. He kept his title and responsibilities within the church, the lawsuit charges.

    And when the girl's mother told church leaders about the abuse, they told her she should not talk about it. The church elders told her they would handle the matter and urged her to ''pray more about the situation,'' the lawsuit charges.

    The girl was committed to psychiatric institutions after she was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the abuse, Born said. ''This is almost like a fresh wound,'' he said. ''The effect of it, the trauma, has been dramatic.''<<

    This makes me angry and gives me great sadness.

    While they throw stones at other religions, why don't we see this printed in the WTS magazines?

  • SheilaM
    SheilaM

    This just makes me sick and they think they have the friggin TRUTH there is not love in them or spirituality. Jesus said to PROTECT and LOVE the children When I mentioned the abuse to my <JERK. brother in law S (btw) (My hubby has 11 brothers and sisters for those who have seen me talking about my other bil) he said he thought it was <now get this remark> OVERBLOWN, I was Imailing with him and that remark turned me venomous I was trying to be calm but I wanted to SLAP him. Then his next remark is " I guess you think the Catholic church should be boiled in oil for this too, I was damn straight anyone that KNEW and protected these friggin pervs should be.

    Sometimes I think my hubby was adopted or something his friggin family can be so F**** U* this is a man that was disfellowshipped for fighting with his brother, they drug him through hell and back and he is BLIND to their savagery. Just makes me want to hurl when I realize I trusted these bastards and they are using the name of God to get families and people to trust them to abuse.

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