Jehovah’s Witnesses failing to address child abuse allegations, say government inquiries

Jehovah’s Witnesses failing to address child abuse allegations, say government inquiries

The inquiry was opened initially in 2007 into the London Mill Hill Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses after an Elder was convicted for historic sexual offences involving 13 young people over a period of 15 years. These offences were committed whilst he was a member of a JW congregation. The congregation was not aware of these offences at the time of the individual’s appointment as an Elder and the inquiry stated that the congregation took the appropriate steps to remove him from serving as an Elder at the time of his initial arrest in 2006.

The Commission’s inquiry into the London Mill Hill Congregation finds that it did not have a child protection policy in place at the time. On 1st February 2011, the charity distributed the Child Protection Policy (‘2011 Policy’) to all Bodies of Elders in the United Kingdom and Ireland, to which all Elders were expected to adhere.

One key issue which emerged during the inquiry was the extent to which the charity itself remained responsible for ensuring children and vulnerable people are safe from harm within JW congregations.

Cases involving JW members in Pennsylvania raise similar concerns

In July of this year CNN reported that five members of JW congregations were charged with child sexual abuse by the Pennsylvania’s attorney general following a years long investigation into allegations of sexual abuse in the religious community.

The children were all also members of JW congregations, and the alleged abusers gained access to – and the trust of the victims – through the organization, authorities said. The cases include alleged sexual abuse of 4-year-old child and a developmentally disabled victim.

A fifth man was charged in July of this year apparently as part of the same investigation. In total, it is reported, nine men in Pennsylvania with connections to the Jehovah’s Witnesses are facing charges of child sexual abuse .

IICSA says ‘two witness rule’ has “no place in any response to child sexual abuse”

Finally, the Royal Commission considered the organisation’s general practice of not reporting serious instances of child sexual abuse to policy or authorities, demonstrated a serious failure on its part to provide for the safety and protection of children.


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