Australian commission hears child abuse situation among Jehovah’s Witnesses

//Australian commission hears child abuse situation among Jehovah’s Witnesses

More than 1,000 members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (in Australia) have been identified by the church as perpetrators of child sexual abuse since 1950, but not one was reported to police, an inquiry has heard.

The Sydney hearing was told the church adopted a scriptural response to abuse, which it abhorred, and had files relating to 1,006 alleged perpetrators, dating back to 1950.

The process required witnesses to prove abuse took place, and no allegations were ever reported to police.

A 47-year-old woman, known to the inquiry as BCB, said she was sexually assaulted as a teenager by her family friend and church elder, Bill Neill, at Narrogin, south-east of Perth in the 1980s.

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2016-04-13T16:34:27+00:00 July 27th, 2015|Child Abuse|4 Comments
  • Shikinah

    Here is a quote from the Royal Commission Hearing..

    Taking the stand:

    A string of gormless elders took the stand this week to face questions about the obscenity of their procedures. They were uniformly ineloquent and unhelpful. While professing to cherish modesty, there was no humility in any of the elders’ reluctance to accept responsibility. One Narrogin elder, Joe Bello, revealed the contemptuous aloofness that defines Jehovah’s Witnesses. Asked if he had been following the work of the royal commission, he replied: “No, I haven’t.”

    “Not at all?”

    “Not at all.”

    This commission has given us a dire procession of men – and it is almost always men – whose graceless and immodest authority is finally being tested. Priests, pastors and principals. Community elders who wore their stature proudly, while poisoning their fiefdoms. Men who demanded fealty from women and children, but allowed them to be abused. Men allegedly anointed by the Holy Spirit, but who farmed rapists.

    And it is now these men – senior administrators and community leaders – who profess serial ignorance. Men who demanded respect, but who now ask for simple questions to be repeated. Solipsists who qualify their transgressions and disavow their catastrophes. Men who are both verbose and inarticulate. Repeatedly in these hearings we have seen men who must make a strategic choice to portray themselves as either bumbling or mendacious.

    But we have seen them. Their piety is now an awful joke; their legacies ash. At least the victims’ stories are being contemplated by a commission showing a grace their religious families never did. The estrangement of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has encouraged abuse and compounded trauma. Elders encourage their flock to shun “worldly people” because the secular are agents of the Beast. We have seen similar situations emerge in these commissions – cultures turned mouldy by self-perpetuating secrecy. But it was the worldly people that came to BCG’s aid: “I was initially scared of the police because I had grown up being taught that everyone outside of the Jehovah’s Witness Church was to be feared. But the officer in charge of my case, Natalie Bennett, had an awesome manner and she was very supportive. Throughout the court cases, my only support was from the police and a support person assigned by the court.”

    Lifeline 13 11 14; Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse 1800 099 340.

    • John

      I can see here a fulfillment of Malachi 2 : 3 “Look! I am rebuking on YOUR account the [sown] seed, and I will scatter dung upon YOUR faces,
      9 And I also, for my part, shall certainly make YOU to be despised and low to all the people, according as YOU were not keeping my ways, but were showing partiality in the law.”

  • Wallflower

    I noticed that when the Royal Commission lawyers presented their questions, the elder’s memories did not work very well. When the WT lawyers presented their questions, the elder’s memories suddenly started working.

  • Tony Garcia

    Malachi says Elijah will come to cleanse the song of Levi. The Holy Spirit is coming in the flesh .

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