Monday, December 12, 2016
Trey Bundy / Reveal
Aired 12/12/16 on KPBS Midday Edition.
How Jehovah’s Witnesses Leaders Hide Child Abuse Secrets At All Costs
Trey Bundy, reporter, Reveal
Transcript (If you read the entire transcript instead of listening to the audio, or if you do both, be sure to read the Comments after the transcript. Perhaps you might also add your two-cents.)
The leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has boldly defied court orders to turn over the names and whereabouts of alleged child sexual abusers across the United States.
Since 2014, courts have slapped the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ parent corporation, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, with multimillion-dollar judgments and sanctions for violating orders to hand over secret documents.
The documents could serve as a road map to what are likely thousands of alleged child abusers living freely in communities across the country, who still could be abusing kids. The files include the names of known and suspected perpetrators, the locations of their congregations and descriptions of their alleged crimes.
“I’ve been practicing law for 37 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said attorney Irwin Zalkin, who represents victims of sexual abuse by Jehovah’s Witnesses. “They do everything to protect the reputation of the organization over the safety of children.”
Zalkin said he believes that state and federal law enforcement agencies have a moral obligation to investigate the Watchtower’s child abuse policies and seize its files.
“It’s a public safety issue,” he said. “At this point, this needs to be investigated.”