Honest Questions About Child Abuse

by Richard Oliver 207 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    I am not whitewashing anything. I am showing how the law applies to what everyone here is complaining about. It is virtually impossible to overcome the odds of both mandatory precedent and compelling precedent under current law, at least in the US. The only way to bypass that is through the legislature.

  • Simon

    This is exactly why they should report matters to the authorities - they have the legal right to investigate and to prosecute without legal repercussions.

    Really, the legal benefits to them doing this are so clear cut it's surprising they don't do it as a matter of course.

    The only reason for them not to is that hiding the cases feeds into their wholesome image and PR spin. Of course until it call comes out ... then they look like a sleazy nest of abuser-protecting idiots.

    It reminds me of a documentary I watched which was about dictators they tracked down and interviewed. They weren't mad men, despite the evil things they had done. They were calculators - they figured they had more to gain than to lose by following one course of action, regardless of who it hurt, and so they did.

    What society needs to do is change the balance so those making such cynical calculations chose the option that protects those most vulnerable. They need to pay, they needs to pay a lot, it needs to hurt them more than exposing the abuses would image and PR-wise.


    This is exactly why they should report matters to the authorities - they have the legal right to investigate and to prosecute without legal repercussions......Simon

    A simple solution to a serious problem..

  • Sour Grapes
    Sour Grapes

    My beef with the Borg is that assaulting a child is a crime, the elders treat it like a sin. Years ago I sat on several judicial committees where we asked for every little detail when there was fornication. I am ashamed that I was even an elder. How many lives did I screw up while serving as an elder?

    Witnesses may brag that we disfellowshipped the pedophile, the problem is that if the authorities were not contacted the pedophile is still on the loose and will in most cases assault another child who is not associated with the JW's. Of course, JW's don't care about "worldly" people because they are doomed to destruction at Armageddon which is just around the corner.

    Sour Grapes

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    I just did some research and found an intersting case out of the State of Louisiana:

    The facts of the case is that an older male parishioner of a Catholic church abused a 12 year old girl. The girl offered confession to the priest. The priest did not report the matter to the police because of Louisana State law. The parents of the girl sued the priest, the church and the dioceses. The court of appeals ruled that because the priest was not bound by mandatory reporting law and in fact was bound by the law not to report it, he and the other co-defendants could not be sued over it. And even if they could the law does not give relief for a private action. And me sayng that it was a Catholic priest I am not trying to say that Catholics are worst than JWs but that there are laws that have to be considered.

    And me sayng that it was a Catholic priest I am not trying to say that Catholics are worst than JWs but that there are laws that have to be considered.

    135 So.3d 724
    Court of Appeal of Louisiana,
    First Circuit.
    George J. CHARLET, Jr., Deceased, Charlet Funeral Home, Inc., [The Priest], and the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. 1
    No. 2013 CW 0316.
    Oct. 21, 2013.Rehearing Denied Nov. 12, 2013.

    The court of appeals referneced the following sections of Lousiana state law.

    Louisiana Children's Code article 603 provides definitions applicable throughout the Title VI of the Code. In relevant part, it provides, as follows (with emphasis added):
    As used in this Title:
    (1) “Abuse” means any one of the following acts which seriously endanger the physical, mental, or emotional health and safety of the child:
    * * *
    (c) The involvement of the child in any sexual act with a parent or any other person, or the aiding or toleration by the parent or the caretaker of the child's sexualinvolvement with any other person or of the child's involvement in pornographic displays, or any other involvement of a child in sexual activity constituting a crime under the laws of this state.
    * * *
    *728 (15) “Mandatory reporter” is any of the following individuals....:
    * * *
    (c) “Member of the clergy” is any priest, rabbi, duly ordained clerical deacon or minister, Christian Science practitioner, or other similarly situated functionary of a religious organization, except that he is not required to report a confidential communication, as defined in Code of Evidence Article 511, from a person to a member of the clergy who, in the course of the discipline or practice of that church,**6 denomination, or organization, is authorized or accustomed to hearing confidential communications, and under the discipline or tenets of the church, denomination, or organization has a duty to keep such communications confidential. In that instance, he shall encourage that person to report the allegations to the appropriate authorities in accordance with Article 610.
    Louisiana Code of Evidence article 511, entitled communications to clergymen, which is referenced in the foregoing Children's Code definitions provision, provides:
    A. Definitions. As used in this Article:
    (1) A “clergyman” is a minister, priest, rabbi, Christian Science practitioner, or other similar functionary of a religious organization, or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting him.
    (2) A communication is “confidential” if it is made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present in furtherance of the purpose of the communication.
    B. General rule of privilege. A person has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent another person from disclosing a confidential communication by the person to a clergyman in his professional character as spiritual adviser.
    C. Who may claim the privilege. The privilege may be claimed by the person or by his legal representative. The clergyman is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege on behalf of the person or deceased person.
    Louisiana Children's Code article 609, addressees mandatory, as well as permitted, reporting and provides, in pertinent part (with emphasis added):
    A. With respect to mandatory reporters:
    (1) Notwithstanding any claim of privileged communication, any mandatory reporter who has cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse or neglect or that abuse or neglect was a contributing factor in a child's death shall report in accordance with Article 610.
    (2) Violation of the duties imposed upon a mandatory reporter subjects the offender to criminal prosecution authorized by R.S. 14:403(A)(1).
    Louisiana Revised Statutes 14:403, referred to in the Children's Code as the penalty provision for violations of the mandatory reporter laws provides, in pertinent part (with emphasis added):
    **7 403. Abuse of children; reports; waiver of privilege
    A. (1)(a) Any person who, under Children's Code Article 609(A), is required to report the abuse or neglect or sexual abuse of a child and knowingly and willfully fails to so report shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
    * * *
    *729 B. In any proceeding concerning the abuse or neglect or sexual abuse of a child or the cause of such condition, evidence may not be excluded on any ground of privilege, except in the case of communications between an attorney and his client or between a priest, rabbi, duly ordained minister or Christian Science practitioner and his communicant.

    and further down.
    In any proceeding concerning the abuse or neglect or sexual abuse of a child, ... evidence may not be excluded *730 on any ground of privilege, except in the case of communications between an attorney and his client or between a priest ... and his communicant,
  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    The reason that I posted the last case was to show that current laws are not sufficient to protect children and may even lead to more harm. In that case and by the state of Louisiana the priest was bound to keep the matter confidential and not to report it to the police. That is why working through the legislature is key.

  • sparrowdown

    So your advice to victims is for them to "work through the legislature" and stop annoying WT with frivolous lawsuits.

    Got it!

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    I said that there are laws on the books which makes lawsuits virtually impossible. Everyone here wants a black and white policy. Just take the US. There are 50 state jurisdiction, the District, Puerto Rico and other jurisdictions. Each has their own rules of evidence, criminal code, family code statutes and other laws that apply to child abuse.

    Sparrowdown- Explain to me in the case that I presented from Lousiana, how does a police officer or prosecutor get around the law that no evidence given to a clergy member is admissible? Apparently, you feel it is an easy solution, so please give me your easy solution.

    Again like in the state of Louisiana, among others, no matter what the clergy member wants to do, even if they have to be held back from going to the cops, they are bound by law to the confidentiality of the confession, even by the victim.

    Take for instance the case in Deleware where the state is suing the elders. The reason for the suit is not that the law doesn't exclude confessions from being confidential but the claim is that a judicial committee does not have confidential privilege because it can lead to punishment.

  • sparrowdown

    You don't know what I feel.

    I have never disagreed with you about working to change laws I have continued to say and say again it is a good goal to work towards.

    WT should pass all cases of alleged abuse over to police whether it is required by law or not.

    WT should inform all of it's members that that is the new procedure.

    WT should suspend all privileges and duties of anyone accused including field service.

    Wt should stop interrogating victims period.

    WT should have the humility to recognize they do not have any lawful authority to conduct investigations or training to deal with victims and as such they need to work along with the authorities with any investigation and stop being the first port of call for victims essentially standing between the victims, the accused and the law.

    End of.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    Sparrowdown- My question still stands. Lets take this case in Louisiana where the law bars a member of the clergy from going to the authorities with knowledge of child abuse if it was given during a confession. The law does not say, it is up to the clergy member, it says that the clergy member is not allowed to report it to authorities. What do you want the congregation to do in a case like that.

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