UK: Paul Shields "abused girls after luring them with video games"

by darkspilver 39 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • steve2

    "But here the process worked. The person was DF'd but also the police were contacted and the man convicted. "

    Richard Olliver is an ever-present JW-organization defence irritant, clutching at straws and showing a shockingly convenient superficial take on the reporting of sexual abuse . He claimed the "process" worked. WTF? What process worked? Nothing that was instituted by JW organization. Let's trace:

    • The predator felt bad about what he did. He approached the elders with his guilty conscience asking to be disfellowshipped.
    • Most importantly - are you listening Richard Olliver? - NO police were contacted at the time. Repeat: No police were contacted. He was dealt with in private.
    • How is that keeping children safe? It isn't. If he was disfellowshipped, how does that protect children of non-Witnesses? We know that men who confess their crimes can be very selective about who, when and where.
    • The elders did not report it to the police or contact the girls' families and encourage them to do so.
    • One of the victims went to the police herself years later.
  • Landy

    That's not strictly true though Steve. The article is ambiguous about the point at which the elders found out - it could have been at the same time as the police investigation, it may have been earlier.

    If you want a proper example of a cover up we, unfortunately, can still look locally :(

  • darkspilver

    Please note that a basic tenet of British law - which is where this court case is being heard - is that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof is on the prosecution.

    This is an on-going court case - as of the time that the above article was written, there had been NO conviction and NO guilty verdict/s.

    The above brief article is also a summary of the prosecution's case, which is obviously being put forward in court as strongly as possibly.

    Please re-read the full article.

  • cha ching
    cha ching

    However, if this person is a pedophile, he has most likely abused many others. Coming forward to the police and reporting the CRIME is the best thing a person can do. If Paul Shields has abused others, and they come forward and report the CRIME, then perhaps justice can be served.

    Keeping it "in the congregation" no justice will be served. It is a CRIME, the elders are not police, judges or courts. It is a CRIME, and it must be reported.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver


    I have a question for you. You are a therapist correct? What is your ethical and legal obligation if a patient of yours comes in and tells you that he has committed a crime, even a crime of child abuse?

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    There is a different legal obligation if a person confesses to a crime and when a victim tells the elders. If a victim tells the elders they should do all that they can to convince the victim or the family to go to the police, and if they don't than if allowed, the elders should go to the police. But in many jurisdictions it is different if the perpetrator tells a minister, in many places all that can be done is to urge them to report themselves, but the confidentiality of the communication bars them from reporting it. That is why I asked Steve for what is his legal and ethical obligation as a therapist. Lawyers and doctors are in the same boat, if their client tells them something, they are bound to never tell anyone what is said in that confidential communication. In fact, under HIPAA the intentional divulging of confidential information is a serious felony with severe jail time if convicted.

  • darkspilver

    This is the same story/article, but this one has slightly more information in it

    To help with the geography a bit for people:

    The first report said "he was living in Guisborough at the time" and "when the elders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Guisborough congregation heard about the allegations...."

    The second report states that he "allegedly abused the girls in a village near Malton after putting them on his knee."

    From Malton to Guisborough is a one hour, 37 mile drive north all the way through the North York Moors - there are a number of KHs either in or around both Malton and Guisborough.

  • darkspilver

    UPDATE Monday 6 February 2017

    Jehovah's Witness tells how family shunned him under church orders after allegations

    Paul Shields said he had not spoken to his 80-year-old mother for two years after being accused of abusing young girls: He denies the allegations

  • steve2


    I have a question for you. You are a therapist correct? What is your ethical and legal obligation if a patient of yours comes in and tells you that he has committed a crime, even a crime of child abuse?"

    Thanks for your query. I would like to think you are genuinely interested in getting a fuller understanding of the reporting of sexual abuse - not so you can defend JW organization, but so you can comprehend why it has been severely criticised by the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into institutionalized responses to child sexual abuse.

    Firstly, I am not a therapist. I am a registered clinical psychologist employed by a hospital.

    Secondly, safety is the number one priority, both of clients and others with whom they are in contact.

    Thirdly, all clients I see are informed at the beginning of first contact that confidentiality has certain limits and these revolve around safety. Clients disclose to me with full knowledge of what may happen as a result of their disclosures.

    If a client discloses to me currently or having sexually abusing a child or children in the recent or distant past, I have a duty to ensure the client is not currently able to have access to children.

    As the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry has noted so very clearly: We ought not conclude that the abuses that have come to light are the full story of abuse. Church leaders (priests, minister, elders) may claim they have done their bit by disciplining the offender - even using excommunication. But how does that protect children who are not in the church or religious group? It doesn't. That was the very line taken by the Australian Royal Commission against the Catholic Church and Jehovah's Witnesses: When those religions did act, they did not go far enough to ensure the safety of children outside their respective flocks.

    Documentation could show the client has already been convicted of sexual abuse. With the available information I have on hand, I do NOT make decisions alone. I take it to my clinical leader, senior clinical psychologists and my team, which is called a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT). The Team then makes a decision regarding whether the client's disclosure reaches the threshold for reporting to relevant authorities. In some instances, the client and their support people are given the opportunity to report the disclosures themselves (if they have not yet been reported) - provided adequate proof of reporting is provided.

    My answer will not cover all contingencies - but I hope it demonstrates to you how clinical psychologists respond to sexual abuse disclosures.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    So Steve2, there are cases where confidentiality is important. That is why I highlighted if an abuser is the one that tells you that they committed these crimes. In this instance in the news article the abuser confessed of the crime. I don't know Australian law when it comes to clergy and confessor confidentiality. But here in the US the courts have repeatedly said that the confidentiality of a confession is important in order to make that exchange something people want to do. And I acknowledge that many people here feel that elders aren't qualified to make a ham sandwich let alone give spiritual advice, but US courts don't wade into those questions. And that is where there is a difference, if the abused tell the eldera the elders should report it but if the accused tells the elders they enter into a legal area where they need legal advice and depending on the statutes of the law may not be able to report.

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