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.
One abuse case in Australia highlights a pattern among Jehovah’s Witnesses: Elders fail report child sexual abuse to secular authorities. The perpetrator is kicked out of the organization, only to be reinstated later.
A case highlights the struggle of courts to interpret a convoluted web of clergy reporting laws that stretches across U.S.
A panel of judges in Philadelphia has ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses used an “abusive tactic” to delay a trial in which a woman accused the religion’s leaders of covering up her abuse as a child.
Claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses hide child sexual abuse from secular authorities have surfaced again in England. The Daily Mail reported last week that Ian Pheasey, a 54-year-old Jehovah’s Witness, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for choking young girls for sexual gratification in the 1990s. Prosecutor Nicholas Taplow said that Pheasey’s victims were told to
In the face of evidence that the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Australia failed to report more than 1,000 allegations of child sexual abuse, the religion’s leaders say they’re doing a great job of protecting children. The response comes from a 141-page document filed by the Witnesses to an Australian government commission investigating rampant child sexual
A Portuguese news documentary released in October was yet another report from across the globe to detail the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ policy of not reporting child abusers to law enforcement. As in other media reports, top officials refused to speak to the journalists who produced it.
Under the “theocratic warfare” doctrine, Jehovah’s Witnesses are allowed to hide the truth from anyone outside of the religion – including in legal matters such as child sexual abuse cases – if doing so protects the organization.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership has created a secretive system to conceal allegations of sexual abuse within its congregations. Reveal’s investigation found that for abuse victims, this can mean enduring a variety of difficulties.