Internal documents obtained by Reveal show that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have systematically instructed elders and other leaders to keep child sexual abuse confidential, while collecting detailed information on congregants who prey on children.
As a case study into the secretive world of Jehovah’s Witnesses, one woman’s shunning is particularly striking. Her family, her congregation and Witnesses leadership chose to embrace an elder they had evidence was a predatory pedophile, while rejecting one of his alleged victims because she was a lesbian.
Debbie McDaniel, an expelled Jehovah’s Witness, spoke to Reveal about how the organization hides sexual abuse from law enforcement agencies and banish those who speak up about it. Then, just hours before the investigation published, her patio, windows, doors and furniture were tagged with ominous warnings written in black marker.
The documents detail the accusations of two sisters who say they were sexually assaulted by their father when they were growing up.
Appeals court judges called the organization a “recalcitrant litigant who refuses to follow valid orders and merely reiterates losing arguments.”
Even though Jehovah’s Witnesses are under pressure worldwide for covering up child sexual abuse, a senior official says the policy will never change.
An ongoing investigation by Reveal found that the religion instructs local leaders to hide child abuse from law enforcement.
As part of a three-year investigation into the Jehovah’s Witnesses child sexual abuse policies, Reveal contacted the FBI, attorneys general in New York and California, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and several members of Congress, and found no indication of a government investigation.
We facilitated a day of candid discussions about ways to address the Jehovah’s Witnesses child abuse crisis with sources from across the globe.
The settlement came five days into a trial in which a former Witness claimed the religion’s parent corporation violated Pennsylvania’s child abuse reporting laws by instructing elders not to report her allegations to police.
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.
Here’s a quick rundown of the major findings from our running investigation into the religion’s efforts to hide child sex abuse.