Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses to protest sex abuse scandals at Pa. convention
Chessa Manion insists she's not looking for revenge, or to spark an ugly confrontation, when she heads to Berks County this weekend.
The plan that she and a group of former Jehovah's Witnesses have cobbled together is fairly simple: They'll gather in front of the Reading Santander Arena on Sunday with signs and artwork, and try to catch the eyes of some current followers of the millenarian religion who will be streaming into the building for a convention that's expected to draw thousands from Pennsylvania and Maryland congregations.
For some of the ex-Witnesses, it'll be a chance to share painful experiences that they tried to bury for years — in Manion's case, the rape that she suffered as a 5-year-old at the hands of a teenage Witness in a small Illinois town in 1994. Others hope to encourage active Witnesses to question the organization's leaders, who have responded to a growing number of child sex abuse cases around the world with denials and instructions to destroy records that could prove harmful in litigation.