UK Charity Commission - Latest
This is a copy of the round robin email sent out today. I am confident that there is no problem with passing it on. The wheels grind on, it is good to know that not much gets by these investigators.
I apologise for not being in contact over the last couple of months, but due to ongoing legal matters our inquiries into Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain and Manchester New Moston Kingdom Hall have been moving at a slower pace than we would have liked. Needless to say though, our investigations have been continuing, and I can only thank all of you for your patience and for your continued willingness to engage with us.
Anyway, as I am sure many of you are aware, the Australian Royal Commission (‘ARC’) have now published their report following their investigation into how the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia handle instances of child sex abuse. For anyone who has not yet had a chance to read this report, it is available here. Needless to say, the findings and conclusions do not paint the Jehovah’s Witnesses in a positive light.
One of the report’s most striking revelations is that the Jehovah’s Witnesses provided the ARC case files for 1,006 complaints of child sex abuse. As anyone who follows court cases involving the organisation is aware, they are notoriously resistant to sharing information with so-called secular authorities. However, of these 1,006 case files, not a single one saw the organisation report the alleged abuse to the authorities. This is obviously very concerning, and as the ARC later conclude demonstrates a serious failure to protect children both within the organisation and the wider community.
Otherwise, the ARC explicitly criticises the two-witness rule, concluding that it is outdated and is applied too inflexibly. It is also stated outright that this policy works in the alleged perpetrators’ favour.
Further points of note are the assessment that the organisation’s current internal sanctions/restrictions regime is insufficient, as congregation members are not informed of the reason for the imposition of restrictions. This means that supervision of individuals accused of/known to have committed child sex abuse is frequently enforced only when elders are present.
Finally, we found it encouraging to see the ARC link the practice of shunning with the issues victims of abuse face in reporting matters to the authorities. We are hopeful that this recognition will assist us in future communication with the organisation as part of our own investigations.
I am aware that I have not covered every aspect of the report in this email, but I have tried to summarise what we identified as the ARC’s key findings. Some of you have already contacted me with your views and thoughts, and I would of course be more than happy to hear others’ views. As we have tried to stress throughout our investigation, it is because of the bravery of those who have come forward to speak with us, and the expertise so many of you have kindly shared, that we have been able to make slow, but steady, progress in this inquiry.
With warm regards,
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Thanks for sharing this.
the two witness rule is patriarchal and it serves ongoing patriarchy. it will be very hard for witness hierarchy to give this up for a more child centric approach. But the times have changed so we shall wait and see.
meanwhile Jesus did say whoever stumbles one of these children - it would be better for him to have a millstone round his neck and cast into the sea, i think
the two witness rule is patriarchal and it serves ongoing patriarchy
No it doesn't. It's outrageous when applied to child abuse but it has nothing whatsoever to do with any "patriarchy".
Thanks for sharing this email. It's excellent that they are communicating during the investigation. I hope in the end they prove to have the teeth - and courage - to make a difference.
cofty it is patriarchal in the sense that Jehovahs wtinesses need brothers to lead and the reasoning is that the two witness rule will slow down the process of finding and acknowledging child sexual abuse. the witness hierarchy are very pragmatic in this respect - it is to preserve their gifts in men
but you don't need to agree with me.
Ruby456 - cofty it is patriarchal in the sense that Jehovahs wtinesses need brothers to lead
Well, yes, the rule that only brothers can lead the congregation is patriarchal, but that has nothing to do with the two-witness rule.
Thx, Slidin' Fast! It is great to know the whole picture, and that there are at least some people that can see thru the curtain/veil the WT holds in front of so many people's eyes! And they just may have the power to do something about it!
Awesome! Cha Ching!
saename the witness hierarchy have been aware of child sexual abuse for a very long time and it is my contention that it is because they want to preserve their ranks of brothers serving in congregations that they have put it on the back burner. the motives are patriarchal. same goes for rape.
edit: the word of a child is not worth as much as the word of a man. secondly if it can be hidden the reasoning is to find something in the bible that will support making it difficult to investigate - lo the two witness rule.
Points taken, Ruby456.
I doubt protecting the supply of potential males for positions of responsibility is really the motivation for their coverups and lack of any meaningful child-welfare policies and protections.
It's more that the prevalence of child abuse blows a huge hole below the waterline of their claims that they are God's representatives and that people are selected by his inerrant holy spirit. It's about their image and PR and how they want to look clean and anything that tarnishes that image is hushed up, no matter the cost to those involved.
They are just a grubby bunch who put the power and position that they have established for themselves above the welfare of the most vulnerable of their members.