Honest Questions About Child Abuse

by Richard Oliver 207 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse


    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.....RO

    Watchtower claims it has no clergy..

    From JW.ORG

    Following the model of first-century Christianity, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no clergy-laity division. All baptized members are ordained ministers and share in the preaching and teaching work. Witnesses are organized into congregations of about 100 members. Spiritually mature men in each congregation serve as “older men,” or elders. (Titus 1:5) They do so without being paid for their services.

    No Clergy.....No Clergy Privileges..

    Problem Solved..

  • sparrowdown

    If WT instructed it's elders to make it crystal clear to their members that they are NOT a confessional and instruct members to report crime to police we wouldn't need to have this discussion.

    WT elders are not "clergy" you know that as well as I do.

    In fact WT has gone to great lengths over the years to make it known they are the antithesis of "clergy."

    Seems they are "claytons" clergy.

  • sparrowdown

    What OUTLAW said.

  • blondie

    Great sum up, sparrowdown.

    As I said earlier on this thread, the laws to be improved, especially in the statute of limitations,

    and to end the clergy ( including the WTS....they consider themselves clergy in this case) hiding behind the clergy-penitent law.

    SNAP (Remember to movie Spotlight last year) www.snapnetwork.org has been fighting

    this in the Catholic area as well as helping other groups change the laws, providing support

    to victims, and was to organize in your own state or support organizations already in place to

    change the laws.

    We can talk, talk, talk, but unless you direct your time and passion to organizations like SNAP

    it will not change the laws. The WTS has demonstrated that they do not respect the laws of the

    land except if they get caught breaking them. They definitely don't obey an unwritten moral law.

    Thanks sparrowdown.




  • sparrowdown

    Also, what Blondie said!

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    Again outlaw and sparowdown. you try to over simplify things. lets again take the state of Louisiana. No matter what watchtower says as to what elders are, the definition of confession and clergy is defined by statute. No matter what watchtower says the law is the law.

    *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.
  • blondie

    So Outlaw or sparrowdown, if you live in Louisiana that might be a place start changing the laws or work with SNAP and their members that are doing that.

    I might add that SNAP is headed up by a high powered lawyer named Barbara Blaine and an ex-canon lawyer (ex-legal counsel for the Vatican) named Tom Doyle have been working hard on this since 2002. The SNAP chapters by state are listed on the following website. We are not lawyers. But we can support people who are and are at the forefront of fighting sexual abuse by religious leaders. That won't be by researching cases.

    You can contact Attorney Zalkin's office to see how you can assist in practical ways, as well as Barbara Anderson.




  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    This is why I brought this up. Do I think it is right? Absolutely not. But is it legal according to the laws in certain places in the USA and in other countries? Yes. Again there are countries that are so heavily religious that the privilege laws are so iron clad that there is very little way around it. Not saying that divorce is anything close to child abuse, but still in the Philipines there is no mechanism for divorce. In Israel a man can prevent the divorce unilaterally if he so chooses. I am just highlighting that there are places where religion and the sanctity of religion is almost impossible to get around.

  • Giordano

    It was 2008, and Rebecca Mayeux was living a nightmare.

    Just 14 years old at the time, she was being sexually harassed and abused by a member of her church, 64-year-old George Charlet Jr. According to Mayeux*, Charlet bombarded her with emails “laced with seductive nuances” over the course of a summer, slowly escalating his inappropriate advances before ultimately kissing and fondling her.

    Mayeux says she visited Bayhi on three occasions to reveal intimate details about her abuse, always meeting under the context of Catholic confession. She says she told him about her unsettling experience, which included an avalanche of suggestive emails, “obsessive” phone calls, and Charlet saying he “wanted to make love to her” before inappropriately touching her.

    But rather than help Mayeux, her lawyers say the priest told her simply to move past the abuse, suggesting she “sweep it under the floor and get rid of it” because “too many people would be hurt” if she brought it out into the open. He reportedly took few if any steps to stop the mistreatment, and the crimes she claimed went unreported.

    But the diocese, which declined to comment for this story, did not accept blame or even move to condemn Bayhi’s behavior; rather, they rushed to his defense. They pointed to an obscure exemption in Louisiana law: According to the state Children’s Code, clergy do not have to disclose information about child abuse if it is revealed during church-sanctioned “confidential communication” — in other words, confession. They argued that not only was the priest exempted from reporting the abuse, but also that he could not be forced to testify about what he heard during confession, as it would broach the Catholic belief in the “seal of confession” and violate his religious liberty.

    Long story short this idiot knew she was not getting help from anyone else but him. To not do something was in itself child abuse in my opinion.

    The ensuing legal battle has lasted years, with attorneys vigorously debating the limits of confession carve-outs — that is, legal protections for religious conversations in the case of child abuse. The case effectively pits religious liberty advocates against supporters of mandated reporting laws, or rules designed to assist abuse victims by upping the chance their ordeals — which are often never reported — will be conveyed to authorities.

    Ironically, these exemptions appear tone deaf to a crucial detail of the “Spotlight” article that triggered their creation: Many of the abuses doled out by priests in Massachusetts happened during confession.

    “We understand [religious freedom] is a constitutionally protected right, but all of our rights give way in certain circumstances — there is always a limitation, especially regarding child sexual abuse,” Abels said.
    The closed-lipped nature of confession also allows it to be used as a manipulative tool. David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said laws protecting information gathered in confession can be used by abusers to silence other well-meaning clergy members.

    I cut and pasted from the full article:


  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    Giordano. That is my point. We sometimes want the law to be cut and dry especially for such a horrific event such as child abuse, but it is not. There are a number of things that allows people to get away with it, within the confines of the law. As I stated earlier if a country has a low age of consent, there is nothing that law enforcement can do. In this case in Lousiana, there is nothing that a prosecutor or law enforcement official can do, they are obeying the legal requirements of the land in which they live. Again is it moral? No. But are they barred from doing anything more? Yes.

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