'Punished' for being sexually abused in York County: Jehovah's Witnesses' culture of cover-up
Mike Argento | York Daily Record
Sarah Brooks was 17, riding in her dad’s pickup, when she told him.
She had always been a daddy’s girl, she said. She was a tomboy growing up, playing with the boys, and later, when she could wield a wrench, working on cars with her dad. After some detours in life, she would work as a welder. She liked working with her hands, and she and her dad were close.
It was hard to tell her dad. She knew what had been happening to her was wrong. She knew that it needed to stop. She felt deep shame and deep guilt. She was the victim, but still, she felt that what had happened to her was her fault, that she was a horrible, dirty person. She knew there would be consequences. The people who did those things to her had warned her not to tell, they said that if she did, she would be ruining lives and that nobody would believe her and that she would be the one to suffer in the end.
Still, she needed to tell. It was wrong. Something had to be done. So, she told.
Sarah told her dad that Joshua and Jennifer had sexually abused her over a period of months, starting when she was 15. Joshua was Joshua Caldwell, a friend from church. Jennifer was Jennifer McVey, married to Sarah’s brother and having an affair with Caldwell. Caldwell was 12 years older than Sarah; McVey, six. Sarah had been working for the couple cleaning out houses that were in foreclosure.
She had met them through their church, the Yorkana Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and thought that working for them would be safe and good, the church being a close and cloistered community.