Jehovah's Witnesses commission secret report highly critical of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

by jwleaks 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • jwleaks

    Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Australia have commissioned a secret legal report critical of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

    On 14 November 2018, Australian-based barristers David Bennett AC, QC and James Gibson presented to Watchtower Australia and the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation their commissioned review and opinion on the findings and recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as it related to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    The review entitled “Review of the Commission’s Investigation into Jehovah’s Witnesses and its ensuing reports” was divided into four Parts, as follows:

    Part One considered the history and powers of royal commissions in general.

    Part Two considered particular aspects of the Child Abuse Royal Commission relevant to Jehovah’s Witnesses, including the Commission’s Terms of Reference.

    Part Three considered the Commission’s findings and recommendations regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the basis of such findings and recommendations.

    Part Four considered the responses, as at 14 November 2018, of the Commonwealth and State Governments to the Final Report of the Child Abuse Royal Commission.

    Following receipt of the commissioned review and opinion, Watchtower Australia requested from Bennett QC and Gibson that they prepare an Executive Summary of their review, with a focus on “the Commission’s findings and recommendations regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses and the basis of such findings and recommendations”.

    On 11 February 2019 Bennett QC and Gibson presented to Watchtower Australia and the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation their signed eight-page executive summary: “Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia and The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse”.

    Extracts from the executive summary written by David Bennett AC, QC and James Gibson:

    “The Commission’s dissection of the religious beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses … failed to discriminate between religious beliefs (and the obligations imposed by such beliefs) and the requirements of secular law”

    “The Commission’s criticism of Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible-based religious beliefs and practices was misplaced”

    “[W]e consider a large part of the Commission’s investigation into and evidence led about Jehovah’s Witnesses, which related to child sexual abuse within families of members of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was outside the Commission’s Terms”

    “[A] more balanced and fair approach should have been adopted by the Commission”

    “[T]he Commission considered that it had carte blanche to inquire into allegations of child sexual abuse [within Jehovah’s Witnesses]”

    “[I]t is questionable whether proper regard was had by the Commission when coming to its findings on its analysis of the data, to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Submissions regarding the case files”

    “There was an inherent unfairness in the Commission’s investigation of Jehovah’s Witnesses”

  • Listener

    I was hoping that they had engage Dr Applewhite again since they could trust she would write a report in their favor but it seems they found another couple of guys who were paid to do the same.

    The summary report doesn't really say much and certainly not much could be substantiated, they are, after all, simply opinions. Weather the Commission went outside the terms of reference by including abuse cases within families is debateable but one the Watchtower wanted addressed again anyway. It doesn't matter, the fact is, it did, and the Watchtower was shown to be badly lacking in properly dealing with accusations of child abuse.

    In the summary report, Bennett and Gibson state -

    I understand that while Jehovah's Witnesses · did not agree with the Commission's reasons, they did not wish to exacerbate the trauma of either of the survivors or of their own witnesses and did not consider that their interests would be advanced by such a 6 challenge - which would only have added to the damaging publicity surrounding the Commission (Review 5.25).
    2.24 As noted in our Review (5.11 and following and 6.24 and following}, a substantial proportion of the Case Study 29, concerned the experiences of two Jehovah's Witnesses who were sexual abused in the 1980s and to the policies and procedures in place in the 1980s and 1990s (when the incidents were investigated}. 2.25 Jehovah's Witnesses chose not to cross-examine either witness. We understand that the decision was taken as Jehovah's Witnesses did not wish to exacerbate any trauma they suffered both as a result of their experiences and which may arisen from further questioning.
  • Listener

    The crazy thing is, the Watchtower was very worried about its own reputation but they have their own platform where they can address their own concerns and that's their website JW org.

    But they won't use it because they don't want to draw attention to it for JWs to examine and determine for themselves as to whether the Watchtower is worthy of criticism or not or even far more guilty than that.

  • slimboyfat

    If you pay people they will tell you what you want to hear. What’s the point?

    One thing I agree: I didn’t think it was appropriate or particularly relevant for lawyers to try tell JW leaders how they should interpret the Bible. That’s beside the point. It was the weakest part of the investigation. The strongest part was exposing the lie that victims are not shunned for speaking out.

  • The Fall Guy
    The Fall Guy

    How wisely the self-appointed "slave" is using the hard earned donated funds of JW's!

    Bennett and Gibson's legal fees could probably have paid for 3 Kingdom Halls in Africa or South America.

  • dozy

    At least on this occasion they didn't employ "Chronica" Monica Applewhite , so called "expert witness" , flown over by the Society to Australia at vast expense to give a frankly hopeless testimony.

    The premise of the defence seems to be that abuse amongst people who "happen to be one of JWs" ( the phrase tells you all you need to know about how the Society views rank & file JWs ) doesn't apply. Basically , because the abuse usually doesn't occur in a JW institution ( such as a school ) then really it is nothing at all to do with the Society. The implication they are trying to make is on the basis that criminal actions by a paedophile who , for example , "happened to be a Catholic" by perhaps attending an occasional service and self identifying as a Catholic should not be blamed on the Catholic church.

    What the two lawyers either didn't appreciate ( or more likely , choose to ignore to try to muddy the waters ) is the all encompassing nature of JW life. While most JWS ( other than Bethelites ) are not 24/7 in a JW building , nevertheless the religion has a huge hold on its adherents and dictates virtually everything in their day-to-day lives.

    They also fail to realise that JWs are trained to , in the first instance , sort out any issues in-house , including criminal activities. They are generally somewhat suspicious of the secular authorities and are strongly counselled against "bringing Jehovah's name into reproach". For example , in the case of fraud between JWs , they are told to sort it out between themselves , possibly escalating to judical action in the congregation , rather than taking court action.

  • lastmanstanding

    My report on this “report” about the Commission’s report is short.

    It is Watchtology shoving their middle finger in the face of the Aussie government.

    PS. And the government deserves it. The government there, as equaled by governments in most places, has been soft on Watchtology and similar evildoers, turning a blind eye for generations and allowing these creeps to go on doing what they are in fact still freaking doing right now.

  • Giordano

    "If you pay people they will tell you what you want to hear." Thank you Slim this is a good point:

    What I'd like to hear is that the 1006 cases of Child sexual abuse, on file in the Branch Offices and never handed over to the proper authorities, are not getting a free pass.

    I'd also like to hear that the various communities where these pedophiles roamed about knocking on doors in hope that they could offer a free bible study for an innocent family. And there by gain access to the innocent child.

    The one thing we and the community at large needs to understand is that this is not a one off crime. It is a reinforced habit........ once a child is groomed it becomes a feeding frenzy.

  • Corney

    Why not publish the full report? It's available online, and since I don't need to promote my site by all means, here is the original source: (the official site of the Government of the Netherlands)

    slimboyfat If you pay people they will tell you what you want to hear. What’s the point?

    David Bennett is one of the most experienced and reputable lawyers in Australia, he is almost 80 year old, and I'm pretty sure he isn't in need for money. Is it fair and reasonable to dismiss his legal opinion just because it was commissioned by Watchtower?

  • smiddy3

    David Bennet also defended Scientology and was instrumental in getting them recognised as a bona fide religion.

    Is it fair and reasonable to dismiss his legal opinion just because it was commissioned by Watchtower?

    Yes ,is it fair and reasonable to dismiss his legal opinion just because it was commissioned by Scientology ?

    slimboyfat If you pay people they will tell you what you want to hear. What’s the point?

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