The High Court in London where a potentially landmark child abuse case has been heard
The High Court in London where a potentially landmark child abuse case has been heard

A High Court child abuse case in the UK against Watchtower could set a precedent for further cases. This could be a landmark victory for the victim if she wins her £500,000 compensation claim against the organization.

The Judge has retired to consider his verdict in the case being heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. According to a story published today in The Sunday Times, if successful this case could pave the way for many more victims of Watchtower to file cases against the organization.

Most of us will be aware of the civil suits that have already been won in the USA against the organization, such as that of Candace Conti and Jose Lopez, but so far there have been no similar victories in the UK.

The victim, who has been referred to as Abigail (not her real name), has spoken to The Sunday Times. She tells of the sexual abuse she suffered growing up in Leicestershire at the hands of a ministerial servant named Peter Stewart.

The abuse, which included alleged rape, started when Abigail was as young as four and continued for five years until she was nine. She told the court she was abused by Stewart in her home, his home, in a shed, and in cars.

Now 29 and no longer a Witness, Abigail told the Sunday Times: “I brought this case because I wanted them to be sorry and I wanted them to change… They are a very insular organisation. Any change to children’s lives is going to have to come from outside pressure. I tried for years to get an apology. It was degrading having to beg for an apology, but I did not get one..”

The victim, referred to as Abigail, has yet to receive any apology (Photo: Chris Bourchier)
The victim, referred to as Abigail, has yet to receive any apology (Photo: Chris Bourchier)

 

Abigail related how Stewart gave her chocolates and led her to believe that when Armageddon came she would not be saved as she had committed fornication. In 1995 Stewart was convicted of assaulting another child and sent to prison for 5 years. When he was released, Abigail was terrified the abuse might resume, so she told police about her own ordeal. Stewart was arrested and charged with the offences, but he died in 2001 before the case could be heard in court.

When Abigail reported the abuse to her elders, she says they told her Stewart would be reinstated as a ministerial servant “because there was not a second witness to the abuse.”

Abigail finally confided in her husband who urged her to take legal action. She told Sian Griffiths of The Sunday Times: “I want them to change and to change some of their practices too. I would never have gone to court if I had had an apology.”

“Victims of abuse are made to confront their perpetrators. I don’t understand how this organisation can organise meetings between perpetrators and victims. It is criminal that that is being done. That should stop. They also have a rule that there have to be two witnesses to abuse and they must be of good character. Abuse is regarded as a sin not a crime. I want this to change to protect other children in the future.”

Lawyers in the case, who have been working closely with Candace Conti’s legal team in the USA, say: “We expect this case to open the floodgates to dozens, if not hundreds, more cases.” AO Advocates, the firm handling Abigail’s case, already has six other clients who are waiting for the outcome of this case before considering their own legal action.

Abigail has found it difficult to hold down a job having not completed her university education, and suffers from a post traumatic stress disorder. “It has affected me in every way. It has changed who I would have been,” she says. Abigail has already attempted suicide and reportedly told her lawyers that she doesn’t expect to live beyond 30.

Watchtower has issued a statement to The Sunday Times saying: “While deeply sympathising with any victims of abuse, we do not consider it appropriate to comment on a case where a ruling by the judge is still pending. Jehovah’s Witnesses have an absolute and unequivocal abhorrence of child abuse. The care and safeguarding of children is extremely important to us. For decades we have published material to help parents and children to be protected from abuse.”

Disturbing parallels

A few weeks ago I spent a day at the Royal Courts of Justice so I could meet the victim and observe how the case was progressing. One of the first things I was struck by was how many elders were in attendance.

In child abuse cases, elders have been known to refuse to make statements to help police, and they certainly don’t have a reputation for attending court to support the victim. Yet in this case, with Watchtower under the spotlight, the elders were out in force.

Attending the High Court to show support for a fellow abuse victim
Attending the High Court to show support for a fellow abuse victim

 

On the day I attended, Watchtower produced a witness who was an expert in his field of working with children. He began by trying not to answer direct questions put to him by the Barrister. Eventually, the Judge intervened and told him he had to answer the questions directly.

He was asked if saying sorry and showing repentance was good enough when it comes to child abusers. He gave an honest answer and explained that pedophiles are like alcoholics and drug addicts. Once they offend it is very unlikely that they will ever stop.

The defence Watchtower was using was that Stewart was removed as a ministerial servant and this was announced from the platform. A few weeks later a talk was given from the platform concerning improper behaviour. Watchtower felt this was enough of a warning to the congregation as it should have been obvious this talk was being given about Stewart.

Watchtower’s own expert was questioned on this, and asked whether this was indeed sufficient action. Of course, he had to answer honestly and say, “no.”

There are so many similarities between this case and the case I am involved in. I actually requested an apology from my local body of elders and didn’t even get a response. I just wanted them to say sorry for sitting me in front of my abuser and making me say what he had done to me.

I then tried to get an apology from London Bethel instead, and I was flatly told that Bethel doesn’t apologise! I find this quite bizarre since Jehovah’s Witnesses are encouraged to say sorry and repent when they make mistakes. If I had received an apology and assurance that steps would be taken to ensure children would be more protected in future, I too would never have considered taking legal action.

My final words are directed towards the victim in this case: No matter what the outcome of this case is, you have shown strength, determination and incredible bravery to take on the organization. I applaud you for that, and I want you to know you are not alone in your fight.

 

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Karen is herself a victim of child sex abuse as a Jehovah’s Witness. You can read more about her story here and here.

Further reading…

113 thoughts on “Landmark UK High Court case against Watchtower could make history

  • March 1, 2015 at 12:42 pm
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    Sorry and repent, yet never think ahead to avoid the problem in the first, place? Obviously, there’s tons of material that Watchtower will put forth to say, we encourage members to avoid trouble, but in the case of sexual abuse, sexual relationships, date-rape, dating and rape, the material is confusing and convoluted mash-up of all five abuse issues. Not only is sexual abuse a physical violation, it touches the emotional core of children and adults for years.

    In this case, an apology and contrition is never enough; some rape and molested victims are rendered barren, or sexually dysfunctional. That’s a robbery that can never be fully restored, regardless of monetary reward or personal apology.

  • March 1, 2015 at 12:47 pm
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    Sorry and repent, yet never think ahead to avoid the problem in the first, place? Obviously, there’s tons of material that Watchtower will put forth to say, we encourage members to avoid trouble, but in the case of sexual abuse, sexual relationships, date-rape, dating and rape, the material is confusing and convoluted mash-up of all five abuse issues. Not only is sexual abuse a physical violation, it touches the emotional core of children and adults for years.

    In this case, an apology and contrition is never enough; some rape and molested victims are rendered barren, or sexually dysfunctional. That’s a robbery that can never be fully restored, regardless of monetary reward or personal apology. ,

  • March 1, 2015 at 12:53 pm
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    It is becoming an AVALANCHE of SEX ABUSE cases against Watchtower.What BUGS me on their JW.org web site under NEWS RELEASES is watchtower WiNS GREEN DESIGN AWARD for New Walkill buildings as the GB move upstate from BROOKLYN… Oh Please GIVE ME STRENGTH do the GB thinks the 1000s of ABUSE VICTIMS Care a SODDING ( English terminology for the earth) TOSS ( Heads or Tails in reference to throwing up a coin) .I Love the complexities of the English Language).
    They Want A DAMN APOLOGY on Their NEWS CHANNEL for the SCREW UP ( a Tool for DIY) of their Handling & Prolonging the SUFFERING of these Poor Souls..(I Don’t care what their Definition of Soul is Nephesh or Psyche) !!!
    Oh any Apologists for JW like ‘Warrior Prince ‘ on You Tube & Sites like ‘Defending Jehovah Witnesses’ … My ADVICE is Do Proper Research or Have a BRAIN TRANSPLANT??? That’s presuming you have a BRAIN in the First Place!!!

    • March 1, 2015 at 3:34 pm
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      I know a JW who says the same things to me. She said she wishes they would mention it and acknowledge it instead of only talking about the ministry all the time.

  • March 1, 2015 at 12:57 pm
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    When I was in my early 20’s (over 20 years ago!) I was told by one brother that his young wife had been sexually abused by an older ‘brother’ in the same congregation that we were in. This young girl would go to his house to play with his daughters. He then molested her a number of times. This bossy elder, who thought he was a big-deal, told the little girl to meet with this older man and then he could apologize to her. Even at my young age, and in my experienced state, along with being totally brainwashed and a true-believer, I thought that this situation sounded absolutely crazy! Apologize?!? As if someone can sexually moleste you an then just say, “Sorry”. I thought, at the time, that it was just this fat buffoon of an Elder who was so ridiculous in making the pedophile apologize and then letting the matter go. I had no idea (as I’m sure most Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t) that this was/is organizational policy.
    Any idiots that instituted this policy or followed it should be charged with stupidly and have all their authority taken away! They are dangerous men!!!

    • March 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm
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      An INSIDIOUS Talk on TV.JW.Org is a 12 minute talk on ‘What is Faith’ by Ivak Marais. At 40 Seconds it Quotes a 1883 Watchtower where a LITTLE GIRL is asked What is Faith? & she says TRUST in GOD & Ask NO QUESTIONS!!! This TV Channel is sending JW Children Subliminal Messages which really mean ‘Trust in the GB & Ask No Questions ‘ This is so Dangerous!!

    • March 1, 2015 at 3:39 pm
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      I completely agree. Most aren’t aware that victims are are brought face to face with their abuser. At the time, I wanted an apology from my abuser. I really think that would have helped my healing process. In my case he didn’t admit the abuse so I was never going to get an apology. However, if the Organisation had been supportive and had been genuinely sorry for what they have done it would help me. Even though “sorry” doesn’t sound much, I can understand why victims just want to hear it.

      • March 1, 2015 at 3:51 pm
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        Karen, did he ever admit to the elders or the authorities what he did to you?

        • March 2, 2015 at 12:10 pm
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          He never admitted it to elders or in court. When I was 14 and I told him to stop he told me if I told my Dad it would break his heart as he was like a brother to him. He also said no one would believe me anyway. This was the closest I got to an admission.

          • March 2, 2015 at 2:07 pm
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            Karen, he has no conscience. He can’t apologize because he only cares about himself and hopes to fool everyone around him that he didn’t do it and unfortunately people are foolish enough to buy into their lies. These kind of people can even pass lie detector tests because they get to believing their own lies. Some of these people when shown video tapes of them doing the crime, will deny it. That is how delusional they are.

      • March 1, 2015 at 4:56 pm
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        @karen, Great job reporting on this, The JW two witnesses policy is archaic and based on bronze age justice.
        True story:
        Before my deconversion i worked for a elder, (ran his entire buissness so he could serve where the need was great). of course the pay was pathetic lol… He hired a “brother” who recently returned from serving at bethel for eight years. The guy was arrogant and thought he was better than me because i didnt have a title like he did.
        He always was late to work and lazy, thus the buissness suffered because i could not do my work as well as HIS.
        The absentee elder who owned the buissness belived the ex-bethilite that i was the problem, he belived him over me for the sole reason that he was a BETHELITE, and i at that time was not even a MS.
        A judicial commitee was formed and and the verdict was that i should repay my employer for lost income due to getting so far behind on our work load, or get disfellowshiped, (later i learned the contract the elder made with me was illegal). Even though i was in charge of the buissness i had no power to fire the guy because he was an ex-BETHELITE.
        I had to borrow 1500 dollars from my parents to pay the guy and then was fired.
        Two months passed….Finally one morning while picking up the local news paper i saw a familiar face on the front page , The “ex-BETHELITE” was arrested in a CHILD PORNOGRAPHY sting conducted by the local athorities. Years later thinking about this and many other instances as a FIFTH generation witness nothing suprises me about these jerks. So keep strong and carry on Karen, Kudos to you.

      • March 2, 2015 at 4:51 am
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        That was a well written story Karen. Watching the Watchtower play politics here is sort of expected, but what’s disgusting to me is to hear the average JW support this even if they are brainwashed.
        The way JW’s think they and the WT can do no wrong and never take responsibility for anything was infuriating for me. They blame the victim, blame the devil, or even try to put responsibility for their actions on god!
        Even the best rank and file JWs have that sociopath side. I can’t remember who it was that said “The road to hell is paved with Watchtower magazines”… oops wait…. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. That’s the quote that suits brain transplant needing JW’s in my opinion.
        Me and my brother were talking about how the JW religion should be treated like porn and cigarettes. 18 and over.
        Why do they have the accuser of such a crime sit face to face with the accused just for an apology or even a denial? That’s Jehovah’s justice? The god who sacrificed his own son to pay off a debt, and plans to take vengeance by launching meteors from Heaven at nearly all of mankind thinks the scales are balanced with sex crimes on one side and an apology on the other? “But hearsay”, so Jehovah’s wisdom to prevent rape comes in the form of the GB enacting a two witness rule? I’d feel safer in a lawless Mad Max world than I would under Watchtower law.
        Hopefully sexual abuse victims can get some justice from the courts instead of those psychos pretending to be ancient Israelite judges.
        Bah! I love you and hope you find peace

  • March 1, 2015 at 1:28 pm
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    It appears that the judgment for the plaintiff in one California case against the Watchtower Society — Candace Conti of Fremont ($21 million) — is currently under appeal and no money has changed hands.

    The Watchtower Society has lodged an appeal to the Conte case with four main arguments:

    1. Where the WBTS (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) already knows of a sexual offender, the WBTS does not have a duty to warn any of the members in the congregation about this individual.

    2. The WBTS argues that other agencies (the police and Candace’s parents) should share the cost of damages.

    3. Religious bodies should not be made to disclose confidentialities, even where a crime has been committed and revealed, as this would contravene the First Amendment.

    4. That (Jonathan) Kendrick was not convicted of sexual abuse in a court. Therefore, had the Watchtower made public his deviation, they would have violated his right to privacy.

    In addition, the Watchtower Society argues that there was no evidence of malice and therefore the damages were unjust and should be reduced. (What they are claiming is that Kendrick’s sexual advances were not done with intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm to Miss Conte.)

    The Watchtower Society further argues that “field service” is not a required activity:

    “It is a personal ministry, not a required congregation function or activity” and “It is a personal ministry motivated by love of God and neighbor, and is not done on behalf of Watchtower or any congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

    This ridiculous “personal ministry” argument seeks to minimize the Watchtower Society’s culpability in this case by claiming that the Fremont congregation’s field service activity is not mandated by the Watchtower Society. (It was during field service activity that Kendrick sexually abused Miss Conte.)

    It remains to be seen just how long the Watchtower Society can delay the day of reckoning in this case.

    http://aawa.co/blog/how-the-watchtower-justifies-its-crimes/

  • March 1, 2015 at 1:38 pm
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    On TV.JW.Org a VERY INSIDIOUS 12 minute talk on ‘What is Faith’ by Ivak MARAIS ! At 40 Seconds he Quotes an 1883 Watchtower in which a young girl is asked ‘What is Faith?’ & She says TRUST in GOD & ASK NO QUESTIONS ‘
    I find this Subliminal Message very very DANGEROUS!! What it is saying Trust the GB & ask no Questions ‘ which is unbiblical because IT contradicts 1 John 4 v1.2 !!

  • March 1, 2015 at 3:01 pm
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    Karen, thank you so much sharing this important and emerging story.

  • March 1, 2015 at 3:03 pm
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    2 years ago when this was first coming to my attention, I really didn’t think that there would be enough solid cases to implicate WT. Now I’m having my doubts. I think the comment made by Lett about it been an apostate conspiracy kind of indicates to me that they
    (A) Acknowledge there could be a problem.
    (B) Are now been forced to come out and fight in the public arena. Just saying nothing now is not good enough.
    But getting a full page apology on the front cover of the magazine may be some way off. Just like with the issues on blood and disfellowshipping they have dug themselves such a big hole they can’t get out of it, and to do so now would be both financially unsustainable, and perhaps detrimental to membership. Doctrinal issues not a big deal as it can be explained away by new light, but child sex abuse is a totally different matter. Although I can only speculate about Wt future, one thing I can say for sure is Wt is in some very deep trouble it’s just a matter of how deep it will get before the come out and admit it.

  • March 1, 2015 at 3:54 pm
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    well done Karen on a good article.
    I, too was at the case in London, and was shocked at the tactics of the JW’s…..especially against other JW’s (the mum of the victim is still a JW).
    I really hope that this will encourage other victims to come forward. Trying to do things ‘ the right’ way doesn’t work. Hitting them where it hurts may.
    I feel we all should write in to the times newspaper telling how we feel. It may get a bigger spread.

  • March 1, 2015 at 4:17 pm
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    If the wt did make a public apology, wouldn’t that open them up to more lawsuits? I’m just wondering whether that’s why they don’t admit to anything & keep repeating the same lines…”we abhor child abuse” blah, blah, blah.

    Whatever they do to undo the damage, they are still a cult with many other harmful policies that affect people. They serve no real genuine purpose to society, I can’t think of anything that they do that doesn’t come with strings attached.

    I was watching an English drama the other day called Inspector Gently & the story was about secret child abuse that went on in an orphanage many years back & the victims (grown up by now) didn’t want to pursue legal action as it was too horrific for them to go through again. I loved the line at the end of the show when his superior asked him why he wanted to open the case again & bring shame on the community for covering it up & his reply was, “they brought shame upon themselves”.

    All I could think of was shame on the watchtower. Shame on you jw.org. I’m even ashamed that I had anything to do with this religion.

    • March 2, 2015 at 12:11 pm
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      Grace I think you are right. But I also think it wouldn’t have hurt for an elder to come and see me and say how sorry they are that they put me through it. They are supposed to be a loving organisation after all. Apart from that, 2 of my family are still JWs and not one elder has said a word to them either!

  • March 1, 2015 at 4:25 pm
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    Hi Karen. One of the important things, I understand, in getting a conviction for Watchtower is whether the alleged abuse was caused or was contributed to as a direct result of involvement of WT. One obvious way is knowingly or unknowingly connecting perpetrator and victim through their ‘theocratic arrangements,’ eg. Meetings for field service, meetings etc. One lesser known case was that of Gilbert Simantel who was sent to prison for 45 years (as opposed to losing congregation privileges) for multiple cases of abuse as an elder during sleepovers with his family. The elders knew of his proclivities via JC, but it took the girls’ school teacher to report the offences. What needs to be borne in mind is that the offences occurred outside congregation activities and thus there was no direct connection to WT, though any ethical person would realise there was fault here.

    If you would like to read of this case, it’s on Fearnotlaw side and is a legal opinion. Very interesting. Of note particularly is that Priest Penitent Privilege is up as an issue and the Californian court ruled that, as WT shares information, it doesn’t apply.

  • March 1, 2015 at 4:28 pm
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Hli-iPilDII

    This video is almost an hour long. It’s the secret life of the pedophile, Peter Righton and very interesting. This guy was in England. It shows how children are lured into being the victims of these men and how difficult it is for them to come forward with what happened to them, even years later.

    For the Society to pretend that it isn’t happening within the Organization but that it’s all made up lies by “apostates”, shows their utter lack of regard for all the victims.

  • March 1, 2015 at 5:10 pm
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    My heart goes out to Abigail and I wish her the very best, no matter the outcome. Even if justice isn’t served, bringing these cases to the public’s attention is the only way to let the authorities know that these cases exist – and it’s the only way to force change. Public opinion has a way of doing that. I applaud every victim that has the courage to come forward!

  • March 1, 2015 at 10:45 pm
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    what i know is the organisation does not approves such conduct. any one that does such conduct and does not repent is no more a jw. if a person therefore has that conduct …should the church be blame for that like if they encourage such practices? the same could have happen with a catholic and his child should the church be blame for that…no anyone has to be judge on what he does. the man who did this is not even mention in the article and does not face any trial (he is not detained)but the organisation in which he was before is judge, on what she does not promote. does it means if a soldier who kill his colleague… we have to judge military force as a hole because of his wrongdoing? why should we ask an apology to jw and not to the person who did that? that’s justice on my own point of view.

    • March 2, 2015 at 3:22 am
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      Fab, if the Organization doesn’t approve of the molestation of children, then why do they go to such extremes to say it didn’t happen when there’s so many court documents and people in prison who have been convicted of those crimes? Stephen Lett says it’s “apostate lies”. That is not true and you should know it. All this girl wanted was a simply apology and all Karen Morgan wanted was a simple apology and the Society refused. That tells me that no, they don’t “abhor” the abuse of children at all. It tells me that they could care less about the abuse of children. And by the way, the guy that abused this girl is dead and they did name the guy in the article. Face it, you belong to an organization that protects pedophiles.

      • March 3, 2015 at 9:07 pm
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        It does make sence why she would want an apology from the GB because some cases or maybe most could be avioded if they quit picking out a few scriptures and twisting them where a crime is committed such as rape and molesting ..Or giving elders too much recodnition only making them puffed up..& haughty.
        But why the GB they didnt did it?Because they are the ones who are over everyone including elders and ministerial servants whom everyone listens to and follows with trust in God. So they.. Having the power should have done something by now to clean up for “”Jehovah””. Their apology could have been a; “Sorry you went through that we’re working on the problem” ..etc.. That wouldnt mean theyre saying they Did it themselves …
        Its like a father with evil sons who commit a murder..the father says;” Im so sorry for what my sons did!”..
        Having sympothy and saying sorry is what a true Witness of the most high God would do..how sad to see the love is cold where it shouldnt be.
        Why would this help a victim?
        It cant heal what happened BUT the fact that its acknowledged gives relief in many ways …
        So YES E’li should do something about Hoph’ni and Phin’ehas before Jehovah does.(1 Sam 2:27-34)

    • March 3, 2015 at 3:57 pm
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      Its not that they approve of such conduct. We all Abhor child abuse. Its the way it is handled that is wrong. It enables the abuser. The pedephilia problem within the organization has not been handled any better than the Catholics handled their problem. The authorities need to be alerted immediatly because, yes it is a sin, but also a very hedious crime !

    • March 5, 2015 at 5:31 am
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      fab,
      if you think this right “any one that does such conduct and does not repent is no more a jw” then you built your world really simple.

      Anyone that does such ‘conduct’ and does not repent, just won’t tell. Elders will leave the matter in Jehova’s hand, since there is no second witness. The end.

      The victim will have to face the rapist in the congregation, day after day, as a “brother”, till there might be a second victim (which also need to have the bravery of a lion to step forward and tell anybody of the abuse).

    • March 7, 2015 at 6:30 pm
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      They say they do not approve of the conduct and yet they provide a conducive environment for abuses to both happen and also go unpunished. Heck, they aren’t even ATTEMPTING to change how they handle these situations in light of recent events. And in a hypothetical situation where the abuser WAS repentant and stays among the flock he or she (yes, sadly our world is that kind of messed up where a man OR woman is capable of this) still hasn’t received the mental help they so clearly need or the justice that is deserved for preying upon an innocent.

  • March 1, 2015 at 11:13 pm
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    @ fab

    If the Watchtower Society ‘does not approve of such conduct’, why do they cover it up?

  • March 1, 2015 at 11:21 pm
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    Stephen Lett reminds me of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. How many times can they get away with crying “Apostate lies!” before the real wolf shows up?

  • March 1, 2015 at 11:50 pm
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    Hello?

    • March 2, 2015 at 6:45 am
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      Neal Krouni – please refrain from making off-topic comments. I refer you to our posting guidelines. Thank you.

  • March 2, 2015 at 12:03 am
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    The “Governing Body” of “Jehovah Witnesses” has received “New Light” from the “Holy Spirit”!!! According to very careful calculations, it has been determined that Armageddon will come in the year 2020. But that War will not be prosecuted by jesus and his angels, but rather by two-headed aliens from the galaxy Andromeda. Don’t worry, it’s all in the Book of Revelation! As for the unbelievers, no need for concern. They will not be destroyed, only transformed into Zombie Smurfs to be used in the clean-up operation, and later as picnic-basket-bearers. The only folks to be destroyed will be those wearing tight pants.

  • March 2, 2015 at 1:00 am
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    “Pedophiles have feelings too, for years I’ve asked the United States Bethel when I can get my position back and they won’t give me any time frame. I made a mistake and repeated it several times, and after decades of serving the Faithful Slave they took my position away because some little six year old girl tempted me in to having sex with her. It was her fault and I never enjoyed the oral sex “I told the Elders and my Sister Cruella has been attacking the victim because she said it was no big deal!” She’s trying to help me get my position back, she blames the six year old girl! Jehovah’s Witnesses do stick up for the Perps and attack the Victims like my sister Cruella has been doing for almost ten years.

    Things were good when my elder buddies covered up my sin for decades until a local elder on my body ratted me out to her husband! The Elder was looking for revenge and got her husband all fired out, those bastards never looked at my long track record of exposing the real sex abusing pedophiles, I stopped abusing her when I was 21 and working at Bethel was my last act of love with this child. I sent her a “Please forgive me like I forgave you for seducing me” letter, what else is a honest JW suppose to do? I want my position of Elder back and feel I am stuck in perpetual Limbo without people to boss around.

    Why are pedophiles forced to explain in graphic details their actions before their victims before the elders, it’s humiliation of my human rights! My dignity is gone after confessing some of my sins, what should I have done, told the entire truth? I felt sick having to explain myself, she seem like she had no problem and even might have enjoyed talking about the sex acts and love we made.”

    Before you blast me as sick, this was a real conversation between a Pedophile, JW Elders and victim of the Watchtower’s Gross Incompetence!

  • March 2, 2015 at 1:10 am
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    @Fab. Your Comment in Defending the GB & JWs is EXTREMELY NAIVE & LACKING INTELLIGENCE!!!
    You say IF PEDOPHILES are Not Repentant then they are disfellowshipped,so you are saying if they are Repentant then they WON’T be Disfellowshipped!!! PEDOPHILES are MANIPULATIVE LIARS who can FOOL ELDERS & then carry on their Abuse!!! Also Fab it is the POLICIES of the GB where the Child has to face the Pedophile in front of 3 ELDERS (Men) & Regurgitate the Disgusting Behaviour of these PERVERTS. .. Fab,Can you IMAGINE the TORMENT this Causes in the VICTIMS!! @Fab. As I said Earlier you are either Very Naive or Extremely STUPID in YOUR DEFENCE of this ORGANISATION!!!

    • March 3, 2015 at 10:57 pm
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      Sex is a control tool among Jehovah’s Witnesses at all levels… It is a weapon they use as a psychological arm of destruction:

      *** w83 3/15 p. 29 Honor Godly Marriage! ***
      Does this mean that if a Christian tires of a marriage mate or ‘falls in love’ with another person, he can freely use some situation involving fornication to change partners? Sad to say, in some cases where both partners claim to be believers, the device of committing fornication (usually adultery) has been used in a scheming and willful way to break Scriptural marriage ties. Can such ones be so foolish as to think that Jehovah does not know the “thoughts and intentions of the heart”? (Hebrews 4:12, 13) Such seem to have taken the viewpoint that they can commit immorality deliberately, be disfellowshipped for a year or so, and then with a new marriage mate “repent” and be reinstated in the congregation.

  • March 2, 2015 at 2:16 am
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    Very grateful to Karen for her contribution.

  • March 2, 2015 at 3:12 am
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    @ Karen,

    Thanks for the article. Very well written and you make a clear case. I hope that you will continue to advocate for the victims of WT and any child abuse.

    @Abigail

    Please know that their are people who care about you and that your life has value. Please do not give up! The Watchtower says that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. The truth is selfish prideful old men turn themselves into a messenger from a supernatural scizophrenic God. A God who does not allow anyone to check his decisions, they then confer the same authority upon themselves from their make believe God, making them feel that there is no reason to apologize.

    I know how hard it can be to be victimized by abuse. I was the victim of mental and physical abuse by my Witness father. He was cruel to us in front of other people and abusive, yet not one of my supposed Witness brothers and sisters ever stood up for me. My sister was molested as well by him.

    The Jehovah’s Witness faith makes these kinds of crimes to easy for adherents to fall into and to justify committing. Their crazy fickle God won’t ever let anyone know that they are good enough for him or that they will get the pay of paradis for all their hard work. Making some work harder and others feel what is the use and give in to their carnal nature. They often reason if I am not going to live forever then what difference does it make. The knowledge of how difficult it is for their victim to prove the crime in the Witness judicial system proves to only stoke the fire.

    Without a doubt there are pedophiles who are outside the JW faith. Few can argue that closed societies such as the JWs and Amish have a much higher rate of occurrence by those who hold authority than the general public. Look at those who hold public office such as congress and politicians. Men who are often disliked by dissenters for their views on political matters. If the rate of the JW faith was matched by members of Congress or Parliament the countries would be in chaos.

    Please do not judge yourself or the world by the narrow window that they gave you to view it. It is so much bigger and brighter than what you have been shown. You are gone from their reach, love, loyalty, kindness, hope, mercy and people who admit their mistakes are all possible outside that empire of self glorification. You have the right and the privilege to surround yourself with people who love and are loyal to you. You have the obligation to yourself to remove from your life any who do not. Please do not let the little world of 7 selfish men determine your worth. You are a precious human being with so much yet to discover that is worth discovering.
    This situation has tried to brand you as a victim, when in reality you are strong. Make no mistake about it you will inspire others to come forward. Little girls everywhere need heros like you and Karen to stand up for them so this abomination is brought from the dark into the light and ended!

  • March 2, 2015 at 3:14 am
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    @ Karen,

    Thanks for the article. Very well written and you make a clear case. I hope that you will continue to advocate for the victims of WT and any child abuse.

    @Abigail

    Please know that their are people who care about you and that your life has value. Please do not give up! The Watchtower says that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. The truth is selfish prideful old men turn themselves into a messenger from a supernatural scizophrenic God. A God who does not allow anyone to check his decisions, they then confer the same authority upon themselves from their make believe God, making them feel that there is no reason to apologize.

    I know how hard it can be to be victimized by abuse. I was the victim of mental and physical abuse by my Witness father. He was cruel to us in front of other people and abusive, yet not one of my supposed Witness brothers and sisters ever stood up for me. My sister was molested as well by him.

    The Jehovah’s Witness faith makes these kinds of crimes to easy for adherents to fall into and to justify committing. Their crazy fickle God won’t ever let anyone know that they are good enough for him or that they will get the pay of paradis for all their hard work. Making some work harder and others feel what is the use and give in to their carnal nature. They often reason if I am not going to live forever then what difference does it make. The knowledge of how difficult it is for their victim to prove the crime in the Witness judicial system proves to only stoke the fire.

    Without a doubt there are pedophiles who are outside the JW faith. Few can argue that closed societies such as the JWs and Amish have a much higher rate of occurrence by those who hold authority than the general public. Look at those who hold public office such as congress and politicians. Men who are often disliked by dissenters for their views on political matters. If the rate of the JW faith was matched by members of Congress or Parliament the countries would be in chaos.

    Please do not judge yourself or the world by the narrow window that they gave you to view it. It is so much bigger and brighter than what you have been shown. You are gone from their reach, love, loyalty, kindness, hope, mercy and people who admit their mistakes are all possible outside that empire of self glorification. You have the right and the privilege to surround yourself with people who love and are loyal to you. You have the obligation to yourself to remove from your life any who do not. Please do not let the little world of 7 selfish men determine your worth. You are a precious human being with the best part of your life still ahead. This situation has tried to brand you as a victim, when in reality you are strong. Make no mistake about it you will inspire others to come forward. Little girls everywhere need heros like you and Karen to stand up for them so this abomination is brought from the dark into the light and ended!

  • March 2, 2015 at 3:22 am
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    Mitch said..”the Faithful Slave they took my position away because some little six year old girl tempted me in to having sex with her.”

    Are you having people on? if you are serious you are a sicko, have absolutely no feelings of sympathy for you, you should be in jail along with the rest of those that knew about this and stood by you.

    • March 2, 2015 at 4:11 am
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      Kat, read the very last paragraph of Mitch’s comment. He is saying that “was” a conversation between a pedophile and the victim and the elders. It wasn’t what he was saying for himself.

  • March 2, 2015 at 4:18 am
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    I would like to add to Tiger123’s wonderful comment to Abigal. The Society has a way of making it’s followers feel worthless. I felt like that all the years I was associated. Finally, I decided that I was worth something and I have to keep telling myself that all the time and you do too. I also thought that I wouldn’t live to be 30 years old and I am now 68 years old. You have a very long life ahead of you. Don’t ever think that you are worthless. The gift of life is so precious and you should live every day to the fullest and don’t let this define you.

    In the end, it is going to be the Society that is going to be the one on the run. They can’t hide what they have been doing forever.

    I think there are probably hundreds of thousands of abuse victims out there who are too scared to come forward and what you did is an encouragement for many others to come forward. If it’s a tide of evidence, there is no way the Society can cover it up anymore.

    Thank you so much for your bravery!!!

  • March 2, 2015 at 4:25 am
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    thank you Anonymous I apologise to Mitch.

    Very sick organization that allows these peds of the hook when they should be in prison for crimes against children and any of those that have known and allowed these criminals to freely mingle within the congregations should also be brought to Justice.

    Ones like Karen that are speaking out will help and we thank them so much for their courage and this helps others to come forward and tell their stories and not allowing the WT to continue to victimize them.

  • March 2, 2015 at 5:30 am
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    Aannnddd there it was again, “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse.” I just vomited.

    • March 2, 2015 at 12:25 pm
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      “Jehovah’s Witnesses have an absolute and unequivocal abhorrence of child abuse.” They all just keep parroting that same sentence. I read it in every article. Maybe this is the zombie apocalypse?

  • March 2, 2015 at 5:54 am
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    Almost everyone that comments here, it seems, has been personally affected by child abuse or knows of many cases of child abuse within the organization. That is what makes me think there could be hundreds of thousands of cases that have never been reported to the police. I know first hand, that anybody who might have reported it, would have been heavily discouraged from reporting it to the police.

    Yesterday I asked my husband about a young girl who in his congregation in the 60’s was disfellowshipped for getting pregnant 2 times while still a teenager. I had remembered him telling me that one baby was by her father and the other by her older brother. He didn’t know at the time that she got disfellowshipped but found out later. The discussion got quite heated because he said that the elders didn’t know at the time that she was “shacking up” with her father and brother. I couldn’t believe what he had said. “Shacking up”???? That is just how stupid men can be when it comes to rape and incest.

    The Governing body are way too sympathetic to pedophiles. The Society doesn’t talk about pedophilia, but if they did, they’d try and liken it to an addiction like being an alcoholic.

    They don’t address pedophilia at all but they do address porn as an addiction like alcoholism addiction and if a person is going to be a pedophile, you can bet that they are also addicted to child porn. Do the men on the governing body, have any idea how much pain is inflicted on a child when they are vaginally or rectally raped????

    Many times, these sickos have killed babies by inserting their great big fat erect penises into those little babies. There are no words to describe what kind of despicable person would do something like to a baby.

    When it comes to older children, these people know exactly what kind of crime they are committing. If they didn’t know it was a crime, they go to a park where there are children and start feeling them up and taking their underwear down, right there in public. The reason they don’t do that is because they know full well what they are doing and that if they did it where people would be seeing what they were doing, they’d be hauled off to jail in a minute. They know exactly what they are doing and have no conscience about it.

    How Stephen Lett or any of the Governing Body can cover up for these kinds of people is criminally negligent to say the least.

    In the real world, if a teacher or doctor knows of the abuse of a child, they have to report it, so how can the clergy hide behind the 1st amendment regarding freedom of religion????

    The fact that the Society is trying to hide behind the 1st amendment shows they have no regard for the victims.

  • March 2, 2015 at 6:02 am
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    I should have said in my comment above that my husband didn’t know at the time that the girl got disfellowshipped, who fathered her 2 babies, that it was her father and brother who had done that to her. He found out some years later when the mother finally divorced her husband and kicked him and her son that did that to her daughter out of the house.

  • March 2, 2015 at 6:08 am
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    The Org. has admitted to having a data base of over 23,000 sex abusers. This means there could possibly have been over 23,000 acts of sexual abuse against JW women and children they are keeping a secret. I’m sure the number unreported is astronomical. I know of several myself. They are so good at keeping things compartmentalized. Probably most of those victims think they are the only one so there must be something wrong with themselves.

    The JW cult is a good place for this conduct to thrive and fester. Children are primed to listen to their elders no matter what and never to question the jw authority. Females are taught at an early age to be subservient to men and are some times treated no better than personal property. I’m sure most sex abusers and pedophiles think they have found paradise on earth.

  • March 2, 2015 at 6:39 am
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    I hope that Abigail wins her case, and that further victims will benefit by the precedent set.

    It is time for the WTBTS to pay for their moral crimes.

    Karen, thank you for another excellent article. Your personal compassion and courage are an inspiration.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  • March 2, 2015 at 7:02 am
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    “The Judge has retired to consider his verdict in the case being heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.”
    How long does this process normally take for the judge to present the verdict? I understand with the Candice Conti case, the Appellate court since the “Oral Arguments” completed January 14, that the Court has 90 days to decision. So another 6 weeks about. I check daily! Sounds like there are many cases in U.S. stacked up waiting on this case and now many now in Britain as well..

  • March 2, 2015 at 7:31 am
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    If peds are repentant and allowed to go out witnessing why is it that they have to be escorted by elders only in field service?

    If someone is repentant than they are again trusted are they not?

    Then the elders escorting the peds door to door must not trust them.

  • March 2, 2015 at 10:03 am
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    I have a problem with her saying if she only had an apology she would have never pursued it in court. Why not?? An apology does not make this stuff go away or help expose this cult for what it is.

    • March 2, 2015 at 11:19 am
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      @ Brinda

      Why do you “have a problem” with that. By saying sorry, then an admittence is made. One that would have to be carried through and dealt with. In Karen’s case, elders admitting they dealt with it wrong, would lead to them dealing with it correctly in the future, it would have to. Not saying sorry is the same as saying it did not happen. So by forcing them to court, the crime will get recognised by the public, and ones like Abigail and Karen, who have been to hell and back, Karen because she was not believed, can hopefully get some peace to the screaming that goes on in their minds. Sorry is one of the most calming words I know when said with sincerity.

    • March 3, 2015 at 9:43 am
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      Hi Brinda. Maybe what she is getting is if she had an apology, she’d have been able to move along with the organization not so much the wretched offender. (?)

      But this organisation would never dream of being up front, apologising and seeking restitution. It’s concerned with the one thing all organisations are concerned with: it’s own survival.

      F*ck the individual.

      If that crackpot Russell was right about one thing it was to beware of organisation…

  • March 2, 2015 at 10:23 am
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    What arrogance! To hi-Jack the legally established judicial
    system and take on the job of judging “Criminal acts” and
    pronouncing sentences.

    What a paltry and insulting sentence was handed out in the
    case of the paedophile, Peter Stewart.– Removed, ( Only
    temporally ) as a M,S, ( So he could no longer hand out
    literature, or, handle the sound equipment etc, ) Half-wits !

    Then a talk weeks later, where people were expected to draw
    their own conclusions as to it’s point. It’s certain that no
    children would make the right connection and if it followed the
    usual pattern of such talks. The specific crime would be glossed
    over and a general talk under the heading of “UnChristian conduct”
    would be given.

    Elders need to be aware, clergy penitent privilege does not apply
    in English Law, also it’s mandatory to report child abuse. Failure
    to do so, could lead to them facing criminal charges.

  • March 2, 2015 at 10:33 am
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    @Brinda

    Her request for an apology is well founded. By requesting an apology from the WT publicly and then not getting it, serves as solid proof to all onlookers that this is a huge corporation masquerading as a concerned religion for their neighbors. It also clarifies that they have a double standard of requiring rank and file witnesses to apologize and repent while the GB will never apologize for their “sins”. It is also evidence that their disfellowshipping policy is not based on love for the one being disfellowshipped. Instead it is based on contempt for any who dissent from their control, otherwise they would at the very least apologize for their actions and beg their God for mercy. Additionally an apology would be an admission of their hideous guilt and therefore serve as a precedent for all other cases.

    I applaud Abigail’s brilliant case and her courage. If the GB had the best interest of the “sheep”in mind they would not care what the public opinion was of their mistakes nor the financial cost, rather their primary concern would be to make the person whole again.
    Her brilliant request exposed the true corporate and cold hearted nature of the Watchtower.

    Your comment “I have a problem……” is sadly correct. You have a problem with human compassion and concern for a girl that was victimized and attempted to take her own life and the ill effects of unfounded criticism. It is amazing that you chose to publicly criticize her when she courageously came forward. I hope that you will reconsider and apologize for what hopefully is an error in judgement.

  • March 2, 2015 at 10:34 am
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    @Brinda

    Her request for an apology is well founded. By requesting an apology from the WT publicly and then not getting it, serves as solid proof to all onlookers that this is a huge corporation masquerading as a concerned religion for their neighbors. It also clarifies that they have a double standard of requiring rank and file witnesses to apologize and repent while the GB will never apologize for their “sins”. It is also evidence that their disfellowshipping policy is not based on love for the one being disfellowshipped. Instead it is based on contempt for any who dissent from their control, otherwise they would at the very least apologize for their actions and beg their God for mercy. Additionally an apology would be an admission of their hideous guilt and therefore serve as a precedent for all other cases.

    I applaud Abigail’s brilliant case and her courage. If the GB had the best interest of the “sheep”in mind they would not care what the public opinion was of their mistakes nor the financial cost, rather their primary concern would be to make the person whole again.
    Her brilliant request exposed the true corporate and cold hearted nature of the Watchtower.

    Your comment “I have a problem……” is sadly correct. It appears you have a problem with human compassion and concern for a girl that was victimized and attempted to take her own life and the ill effects of unfounded criticism. It is amazing that you chose to publicly criticize her when she courageously came forward. I hope that you will reconsider and apologize for what hopefully is an error in judgement.

    • March 2, 2015 at 11:22 am
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      @tiger 123
      I wish I had seen this comment before I added mine, as it is exactly what I was trying to say.

  • March 2, 2015 at 10:47 am
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    brinda an apology says a lot, they were wrong, the victim is validated. The WT wont apologise because it shows they were wrong.

    An apology goes a long way for victims, instead of making them out to be liars.

    • March 2, 2015 at 11:19 am
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      @brinda, kat, tiger & Karen – I get that the apology (put forward by many therapists and counselors) validates the victim, and that for the Watchtower it would be a huuuge gesture, seemingly. However, over the last few years, this apologizing movement also seems to become a cliche–the athlete apologizing for brutally attacking his girlfriend (or slaughtering), leaders caught with their indiscretions apologizing to the Press, religious leaders and their indiscretions, athletes abusing animals, etc.

      I also get by raising the apology issue and highlighting that the Watchtower is dogmatically unapologetic it establishes (or reinforces) the trend that the Watchtower puts the blame on the victim–from failed prophetic dates, to medical treatments, and to sexual abuse. Or, it apologizes but puts forward a scapegoat–in some cases dissenters who highlighted the problems in 1914 chronology. So, we come back to square one, and why I don’t feel an apology is enough for ALL the victims.

      So, having experience watching the Watchtower play its little games of seduction and abandonment, in my mind an apology is -zero- because it will be followed by the assignment of blame to the victims with a host of articles and lectures on how a “proper JW” should have handled him, or her, self.

      Furthermore, let’s not forget that with an apology this incident would have become another one pushed and swept under the Watchtower’s ever increasingly lumpy carpet of cover-ups, and it would have left more individuals to be victimized by the same pedophile and molester. So, I applaud her courage for going forward with the case–apology or none.

      • March 2, 2015 at 1:49 pm
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        @JJ

        Of course you are entitled to your opinion and I appreciate that. However, telling any person that has been victimized how they should proceed is a slippery slope. Abigail is in the best position to decide what she needs to move forward. Her request proved a vital point, that WT does not apologize and that they are a corporation seeking their own self preservation and interests. Even if they had a apologized and made no changes in their ways, without a doubt more victims and likely Abigail would move forward with litigation to stop them from further victimizing others. An apology is the first step in a long process of making things right. I am certain that Abigail and her attorneys were keenly aware that WT would never apologize and this would only prove to underscore their double standards and lack of concern for those who trust and follow them. It made her case much stronger and helps it to resonate with any who are thinking about the GB’s duplicitous actions.

        I strongly disagree with anyone taking issue with a victim requesting acknowledgement of their hurt or using that request to highlight the moral turpitude of the GB. Abigail has been wounded deeply and she has the right and obligation to proceed in the best way she sees fit. She must advocate in a way that feels right to her and it is wrong to second guess her actions when she is being well advised by her attorneys. Her vantage point on this subject is the only one that matters in her personal case. To say she is wrong for the way she feels or what she feels she needs is to victimize her further.

        Victims need understanding, not judgement. They need help and reassurance not responsibility to carry the load for everyone else that is victimized. Leave that to the courts and lawyers. Justice will eventually be served.

  • March 2, 2015 at 11:50 am
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    I have a question to put out here; Why do the Governing Body, or the Watchtower Society, keep a database of pedophiles?
    Wouldn’t it be better for them ‘not-to-know’? They obviously don’t seem to want to do anything about it, and they never use the information to warn anyone, to encourage the pedophiles to seek treatment, or to even include the crime in the Letters of Recommendation. It seems that it is just useless file keeping (of course this information should be turned over to the police and judges, but they’re not doing that).
    I never thought about the whole matter of the “Society” keeping records about Judical Cases and other information until I read Ray Franz’s book, Crises Of Conscience. He wondered why they did this practice as well, especially if the sin is forgiven. Why keep it on file? (This applies to all the different sins, according to the JW’s)

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