Current/recent Elders: WT Legal phone hours?

by Open mind 5 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Open mind
    Open mind


    When I was serving as an elder about 10 years ago, the WT legal department's main number could not be reached on the weekends. Does anyone know if they have since made themselves available to elders 24/7?

    The most recent instructions I could find (October 1, 2012 letter to BOE) still say the first thing elders are to do when becoming aware of an accusation of child sexual abuse is to "immediately" call Watchtower legal. If the elder was made aware of it on a Friday afternoon on the West coast of the USA, they would have to wait around 60 hours before making phone contact on Monday morning.

  • carla

    Yes, the jw's find child abuse abhorrent but just not on weekends. Mon thru Fri during regular east coast business hours.

  • sir82

    There is also a BOE letter (from 2015) which gives an "emergency" after-hours phone number for the legal department.

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Thank you sir82. Their policy is still bad, just not quite as bad as when I was serving.

    carla: Yes, that's how it was, and I was able to make quite a few JW relatives squirm with that information. I would lay out the hypothetical scenario of a child saying he was raped in the back room of a Kingdom Hall at 3 pm on a Friday afternoon and all the DNA evidence being gone by Monday morning.

    An elder relative of mine chimed in once saying, "There's nothing stopping the parents from calling 911. It's their primary responsibility."

    I replied, "OK, let's say the parents have headed out for a cabin in the woods for the weekend with no cell phone coverage and they drop off little 13 year old Johnny at the Kingdom Hall for a cleanup afternoon on their way out of town. You're the elder on scene and Johnny comes out of the back room saying he was raped and his parents can't be reached. Are you going to call 911?"

    He looked at his toes for a few seconds and then said, "Yes, I would. But that's a pretty far-fetched scenario."

    I said, "Maybe, but the policy should be changed to accommodate a situation like that, don't you think?"

  • OrphanCrow
    OpenMind: the first thing elders are to do when becoming aware of an accusation of child sexual abuse is to "immediately" call Watchtower legal

    The phone call to Bethel has nothing at all to do with the how to help the victim. The phone call establishes a client-attorney relationship between the org lawyers and the elders.

    The purpose is largely to set up a situation where any information shared will fall under client-attorney privilege and therefore be confidential

    The elders are being told to lawyer up

  • AverageJoe1

    Here I n Spain they have Monday to Friday working hours and if you call them after that you get an answering machine telling you to leave a message if it’s urgent. We once called them for a possible physical abuse case (not sexual) on a Saturday, left a message and they got back to us 4 days later. Lazy bas...kets!

    UK is very much the same but at least they have someone manning the reception phone 24/7 and will put you through to someone who is on call for the legal department if you make enough noise.

    So yes, to confirm the OP, “call immediately” actually means after you’ve consulted with the body and then call as soon as you can as long as that’s within office hours.

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