Reading through the May 2019 Watchtower on child abuse handling I find that the GB wants the general congregants to feel warm and fuzzy, that "big brother" has got your back. On page 9, paragraph 7 they call it a "sin" against the authorities. Clearly, it's a violation of law therefore a crime. The authorities are not a duly appointed organization of God. More compelling is page 10, paragraph 13. The question is asked at the beginning of the paragraph..."Do elders comply with secular laws about reporting an allegation of child abuse to the secular authorities? Yes. In places where such laws exist, elders endeavor to comply with secular laws about reporting allegations of abuse." I get the take from the way this is worded that if the law does not require the reporting of such a crime that elders will not do so.
Paragraph 16 still "protects" the abuser from judicial action in that there are not two witnesses to the abuse, the elders cannot proceed with judicial action. That the perpetrator is still allowed to remain in the congregation is brought out as flows "Even if the charge of wrongdoing cannot be established by two witnesses, the elders recognize that a serious sin may have been committed...The elders remain alert regarding the alleged abuser to protect the congregation from potential danger." All the while the victim would have to remain in close proximity to the abuser as he/she is still an active member although under suspicion. How can the elders provide ongoing support for such a victim??
Geoffery Jackson, while on the witness stand during the Australia Commission, was asked if Jesus would likely apply Deuteronomy 22:25-27 in a case involving child abuse where only one witness was involved instead of the two witness rule. The incident in Deuteronomy involved a case a woman who was raped and no one heard her screams. The man was to be put to death and the woman was innocent. Jackson kind of laughed and said he didn't know but said he hope to ask Jesus that question personally in the future. I got a hint of a cocky attitude from Jackson and his demeanor. Jackson also said that the two witness rule could involve "circumstances" of the case but he did not elaborate. I do not believe that WT policy or the elder's handbook ever say anything about the circumstances regarding the two witness rule. Correct me if I am wrong.
In paragraph 18 if a judicial hearing is formed and the abuser is "repentant", the elders out of concern for the welfare of children, may privately warn the parents of minors in the congregation to monitor their children's interactions with the individual. No such action is taken where there are not two witnesses and no judicial action has been taken against the accused.
In short, WT has taken a step in the right direction but has still not made any admissions of mishandling past cases or offered any apologies for such. This would probably undermine the faith of congregants and the image of WT something that they do not want to tarnish.
"Are you sure you are telling the truth about child abuse?"