Wilmington Delaware Media report in another Topic
My understanding of this and the general common law which is mainly the same in all states of the USA is that with new appointments, the WTB&TS can no longer be tied to them. They don't appoint anyone anymore and accept the decision of the local BOE and the associated CO. This is a protection for the WTB&TS being dragged into either a criminal or civil litigation based on the actions of an Elder. If a congregant is harmed by an Elder the only thing the congregant can do is sue in a civil law suit. If its criminal, such as a sex crime, the state has to prosecute the Elder. In most cases (not everyone) the Elders do not have enough personal assets to make a litigation worth while. If their alleged crime is criminal, the state takes over after you involve the police or go to the DA. In almost all cases the WTB&TS is no longer directly involved. They are removed from the appointment process and direct knowledge of what's going on.
Any one looking on with half a brain will get that the WTBTS passing on the responsibility & removing themselves from being what you (simon T) said, no longer directly involved, have in fact by that action admitted their guilt. People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing, they are up front & open, they don't hide.
Hi Simon Templar (The Saint)
I don't think the Watchtower is completely off the hook because the elders are no longer appointed by the Branch. The COs are still appointed by the Org., and elders aren't appointed without the CO's approval. So there's still a direct link from the congregation to the Org. should the elders engage in illegal activity.
If the COs were appointed by the circuit they served and the Org. wasn't involved in the selection, then it could be argued the the link was broken. But to do that the Org. would lose control, something they would only do if it meant their survival.
Not only is there a direct link from branch to CO to elders, but there is also a direct link through the "elder's manual" and letters to the BoE that lists the policies that the elders are to follow. Several of those policies state that they are to call the branch for direction. The only way the WT corp can distance themselves from the actions of an elder is if the elder does not follow the policies that they put forward.