Oklahoma police investigating whether elders failed to report serial pedophile

76-year-old Ronald Lawrence have been arrested on 19 counts of sexual abuse
76-year-old Ronald Lawrence have been arrested on 19 counts of sexual abuse

A 76-year-old elder was arrested on Tuesday on 19 counts of sexual abuse after Oklahoma detectives received reports from several children he molested more than 30 years ago.

Ronald Lawrence preyed on up to four children in his congregation in McAlester during the 80s. His victims are now in their forties.

Police were first tipped off in August when the first victim stepped forward. She alleged that Lawrence had raped her at his home in his bathtub when she was just eight years old.

Police were then told of two other victims also abused by Lawrence. One recalled being molested when she was between the ages of 10 and 13. These assaults took place “in Lawrence’s swimming pool, at the lake and in the janitor’s closet at the First National Bank where he worked,” according to reports.

Detectives first spoke to Lawrence on October 25th when he denied sexual contact with two of his victims, but confirmed that he had acted inappropriately with one young girl. “I’m sure and [it] may have been on purpose, I touched her,” he said.

Lawrence later telephoned one of the detectives and revealed that he had confessed his actions to local elders back in 2005 in order to get reinstated.

Lawrence’s arrest warrant indicates that he did not believe the congregation pursued any measures to inform law enforcement of his potential crimes. Police are therefore looking into whether elders took proper action to report his abuse to the authorities.









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37 thoughts on “Oklahoma police investigating whether elders failed to report serial pedophile

  • November 27, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Lets hope action is taken not only against the admitted perpetrator, but those that covered this up. Lets also hope that this opens the floodgates and this edifice of abuse known at the WBTS is split apart allowing freedom for all those blinded by its mind controlling techniques.

    What was done for these children by the WBTS in all the years they knew they had been abused?

  • November 27, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I just love the way as soon as a story breaks it is all over the internet. I read this morning about this story on the Topix website then earlier on JWN and now on Cedars blog. JWs have no hope any more keeping things quiet. It is there for all to see.

  • November 27, 2013 at 9:42 am

    (Immediately after I stuff myself with turkey tommorrow…)


  • November 27, 2013 at 9:49 am

    You state
    ” Police are therefore looking into whether elders took proper action to report his abuse to the authorities.”

    Is this highlighting that WTBTS are culpable? Can Conti’s lawyer help these victims too?

    70wks… (Sam xx)

  • November 27, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Another fail on god’s part here, pity he/she cannot be investigated also in allowing his/her appointed representatives to invite a pedophile to be in good standing in his/her spiritual paradise

  • November 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I have no doubt in my mind that the elders covered it up and did nothing for the victims of this despicable crime! They have no training whatsoever in how to deal with pedophiles or their victims. More often then not, the victims get punished by organization for speaking out!

    They think that the Watchtower magazine is equivalent to a college education, but they are sadly mistaken. Until they inform the police and proper authorities who know how to deal with these abusive sickos, they will continue to face the consequences for their inactions, and more children will continue to be abused! It’s a devastating problem and is finally being made more public.

  • November 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

    These “CRIMINALS” are more protected by Rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses in a more subtle way: Keeping an Eye on Others’ Interests. Under this subhead, you can read the following in the Watchtower issue of 15th Feb, 2008:
    “Whether we are now being persecuted or not, we should be concerned about fellow Christians […] Today, concern for our persecuted brothers makes us “cautious as serpents.” (Matt. 10:16-18) We carry on our work cautiously and refuse to betray them by divulging their names or other information to persecutors ().

    These CRIMINALS are protected by JWs being “Being “cautious as serpents”!!


  • November 27, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Fortunately for G-d, no where in the Bible is pedophilia condemned. In fact, it’s commanded in some places.

  • November 27, 2013 at 11:09 am

    This is what happens when you give certain individuals ultimate power over others, without checks and balances. He has been given power to control the flock. This is the classic example of those who have commanded those to come and pray and then they prey upon them.

  • November 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    ni sueñes que sera otro caso similar al de candance conti…..not dream another case.similar a candance conti..apostates

  • November 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    These cases against the WT for failure to protect their congregation from known pedophiles, seem to take ages to work their way through the legal system. The Candace Conti appeal was lodged, I believe, over a year ago, and is still awaiting resolution. There are at least another 11 cases being handled by the Zalkin law firm. Hopefully the Watchtower will be chased through the courts on this case as well. Will it be next year, or the year after when the flood of cases gets resolved, hopefully with mega fines? Will the JW bosses be able to continue to hide from the media?

  • November 27, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Wow… That really says everything doesnt it. Thanks for the w.t. refrense.

  • November 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Finally! It is about time a law enforcement agency is taking an active role in investigating the handling of a criminal case by JW elders in this Oklahoma congregation. I surely hope this will be done in other states and countries where such happenings and occurrences are taking place in Kingdom Halls around the world.

  • November 27, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    It is really important to understand how the law will work. The allegations are of crimes committed in the 1980’s. IF all of the alleged crimes are that old, then prosecutors must determine if they were in fact criminal offenses under the laws of that time. Then once that is determined, the punishment for those crimes if any were committed, will be based on the statute for such crimes at the time they were committed. Child abuse laws aren’t very old in most US jurisdictions and in many cases, the punishment for sexual abuse varies with the definition of sexual abuse in place thirty-five years or so ago. Criminal proceedings and prosecutorial successes most often bear little resemblance to moral rectitude.

  • November 28, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Rowland, Local elders may not escape “the long arm of the law,” provided the statute of limitations has not expired. But the “JW bosses” will not only be able to continue hiding, but will also be immune from prosecution as long as they have the protection of the Jesuits, who mothered the organization and authored its NWT Bible!

  • November 28, 2013 at 7:15 am

    “Protection of the Jesuits who mothered the organization”? Where did you get that from?

    • November 28, 2013 at 7:49 am

      OK – JWs and Jesuits are both part of Christendom. As JWs are a late 19th century Adventist spinoff, and thus a Protestant sect, the relationship is more that of distant cousins, rather than mother and child.

  • November 28, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I am a former JW. I know of a FOURTH generation woman, who is now my friend, who was sexually abused and because of the State she lives in she said the lawyer she talked to said she can not take them to court for various reasons. . . Candice Conti had taken the WT to court and the judge was in her favor.

    The elders should be held accountable. The WT makes their hearts stone cold and teaches them to look in the other direction though. It doesn’t make the child who is the victim feel safe at all! Especially when the parents don’t believe their own child AND the child has to attend meetings with the one who committed the crime against them sitting in the Kingdom hall, meeting after meeting!

  • November 28, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Gather them all in the time of the end and throw them all in jail including the Elders and the Branch who authorized the non reporting of these severe crimes. With increased media and exposure of JW’S who commit these crimes, the more perhaps if one who is thinking about doing such things will cease to do them in the first place. If there is a higher level of prosecution’s occurring then it will serve as a protection for all these little potential victims, our innocent Children. Every time i see another story about a JW pedophile the more it solidifies my decision long ago not to be part of this Hypocritical organization. I only wish in time before they die that some in my family who i haven’t talked too because they shun me will finally see the destructiveness of this organization. If not they will die unhappy with a false hope and will have wasted a better part of their life serving a controlling religion rather then having a proper relationship with God based on what he says.

  • November 29, 2013 at 1:03 am

    “Protection of the Jesuits who mothered the organization”

    What? You do know the Jesuits are a CATHOLIC organisation? and pick up almost any watchtower and you will see an open attack on Catholics. Seriously i don’t see how you came up with that…

    Its actually comical how the WT will ALWAYS hit the Catholics but I’m yet to see a watchtower slamming Isalm.. yet to see a picture of an Immam or the Mohammed (pbuh) in any of their literature.. funny isn’t it?

  • November 29, 2013 at 5:40 am

    How many more cases have to come to light before the nations investigate this cult?

    I have never understood the hesitancy of authorities to go toe to toe with the WTBTS.

    Thank you, Cedars, for your tireless work. These cases highlight the unChristian nature of the WTBTS.

    Peace be with you


  • November 29, 2013 at 6:25 am

    I think that’s bc they learned their lesson when WTBTS took em to Supreme Court and won a few times and now winning in the ECHR.

    It’ll be interesting to see where this goes and I wonder what will be the topic of this year’s CO elders servants mtg?


  • November 29, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I believe that this whole thing is going to explode. Very interesting to watch these events unfold.

  • November 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    30 years ago? Did the victims report the assaults to the elders? Was this character an eligible (active) elder 30 years ago? I’m noticing pattern that many “bench warmer” types are somehow becoming eligible elders and MS in recent years–the only males left.

    McAlester, OK is a small-ish community, if it had a congregation 30 years ago, would the same elder body be officiating? But, as case after case is proving, since Wt HQ centralized all decisions and matters, HQ is on the hook for any issues and misconduct from its “appointed” agents. Especially the case when those agents (elders) abused their position and authority to protect their own (or themselves) from accountability with actions to hide, or deny, misconduct and criminal acts.

  • November 30, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Excel, you realize that the JW HQ will spin this tale of government investigations as proof that the end is nigh as the governments launch their assaults on Babylon the Great churches (Catholics and many other denoms are experiencing increase in these abuse allegations and law enforcement investigating) and JW’s?

    Seemingly when government representatives begin stepping on JW toes and encroaching on their domain, they run to the First Amendment (USA) and/or Revelation to explain it away.

    I propose that the “silver sword” was the revenue generator to pay the abuse lawsuit awards and funds for future “gag money”.

  • November 30, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Under the Oklahoma statute (Title 10, Chapter 71, § 7103) it states any person “having reason to believe that a child under the age of eighteen (18) years is a victim of abuse or neglect, shall report the matter promptly to the Department of Human Services.” It then, further on, states “No privilege or contract shall relieve any person from the requirement of reporting pursuant to this section.”

    Surely this means that if it can be proven that Lawrence did indeed call the elders in 2005 and confess his actions to them they legally were meant to report that. And if by following the Governing Body’s rules about reporting they did not this would hold the Governing Body as committing a crime, and thus open the whole WTBS open to investigation with regards to how many other cases have been covered up by following the procedures enforced by the Governing Body?

    If they can get Catholic church records for the same sort of thing there should be no reason that they cannot now start investigating, and pursuing, other cases of child abuse that the WTBS, through rules to Elders, have kept swept under the rug.

    It would be more worrying if they didn’t start looking into it. Otherwise a few years down the line it wouldn’t surprise me if victims also started suing the police forces for ineffective investigation work.

  • December 3, 2013 at 10:45 am

    JBob, I see your point.

    The rank and file have been urged to be suspicious of the media. I am not thinking primarily about those already in the WTBTS.

    Potential recruits, confronted by, say, a tax examination of the IBSA and the WTBTS, may be put off joining in the first place.

    Follow the money!

    As a taxpayer, I question why the WTBTS should enjoy the privilege of charity status. The department responsible for this should investigate where the money is used.

    JBob, you’re right about why they don’t do it. It is politically stupid to be seen going against a religion. However, as citizens of our various countries, we have the right to question our representatives about the many injustices carried out by the WTBTS.

    I believe that the collapse of the WTBTS is inevitable. The only question is how long they’ve got.

    Peace be with you


    • December 3, 2013 at 11:43 am

      Excelsior, the organization will be around for a while ,because they tend to recruit sheep ( followers) mostly poorly educated people, once the indoctrination starts they are told all others who doubt there beliefs is a devil.The sheep (flock) are then used by the WTS as they see fit , just like the sheep rancher uses his flock, some are sheared, some are slaughtered and some are used in other ways.

  • December 6, 2013 at 10:13 am

    You should start a face book page or link to your articles it will help you get the truth out amongst a larger audience.

    People need to know the truth about these people who hide pedophiles in their place of worship.

  • December 6, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Never mind I see you have one will share your page.

    God Bless

  • December 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Doesn’t the “Witchtower” claim that known pedophiles are never appointed to leadership positions in the congregations? This man had confessed to this disgusting crime, the elders knew of his filth, yet he was appointed an elder. This is unforgivable!

  • December 11, 2013 at 1:20 am

    It is high time the Watchtower Society co-operated with Governments and had all their Elders submit to a Police Check. Into the Elders personal history, if it comes up with
    Child Abuse. The Watchtower can delete these Elders because they are not recommended by persons on the outside of the Organization. It would do the Watchtower a service of cleaning up possible problems and more importantly protect the Children from abuse. Perhaps an Elders Letter to this effect is on the drawing board!!!!?????

  • March 1, 2014 at 2:13 am

    This man was let go. Because of statue of limitations, and the fact that he was 3 times disfellowshipped. so its not like they can stop a man from coming in a building. You know about disfellowshipping right? the thing you so hate, but other churches have ZERO efforts regarding weeding out such a man?

    • March 1, 2014 at 2:50 am

      themic – the case was actually thrown out solely because of the statute of limitations. His being disfellowshipped and reinstated multiple times had nothing to do with it. I will be updating our readers on this development shortly.

      I have checked your history and noticed that this is now your second comment on our website, both comments being in support of Watchtower and specifically (and rather curiously) its mishandling of child sex abuse.

      I don’t know what your agenda is, and frankly I don’t want to know. All I know is the above will be your last hit-and-run.

  • March 1, 2014 at 3:19 am

    Here is another one – Carpinteria Man Sentenced to Three Years for Molesting Granddaughter
    Michael Norris Will Also Have to Register as a Sex Offender

    They do not seem to have mentioned in this article that he was a JW or that he ran off to Costa Rica and was told come back or we are coming to get you. There are photos on the web of this guy in the congregation in Costa Rica. No doubt the JW apologists will say – well he was disfellowshipped – err how does that help the survivor or the next child that is abused? How does that stop the WTBTS from telling the Elders that they can let the matter drop? Surely rather than defending abusers by such comments – Thematic – all JW’s should be asking the WTBTS to change their policy that allows abusers sanctuary within JW congregations. If an abuser goes to another congregation the Elders do not have to tell the congregation what a person has done – So basically this means come on in – sit down – get comfy and you can start again – Err wake up!!!

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