Over the past 10 years the Watch Tower Society has been rocked by allegations of covering up child sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses. After paying out millions in low-profile out-of-court settlements, in 2012 the Watchtower lost a widely publicized lawsuit in what has amounted to the largest dollar judgment in any case of this kind – being socked for a staggering $28 million. A jury found that the leadership of the organization instituted policies that provided cover for a known sex offender.
In the aftermath of that massive judgment against them one would imagine that Bethel would change their policies and try to be more proactive in preventing these horrific crimes from being committed against the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses under their watch. But according to the latest communiqué with the elders in the United States, not much has changed. Here is an excerpt from the attached PDF:
Who is considered a known child molester? The January 1, 1997, Watchtower article “Let Us Abhor What Is Wicked” mentions on page 29 that a man “known to have been a child molester” does not qualify for privileges in the congregation. The expression “known to have been a child molester” has reference to how such a man is considered in the community and in the Christian congregation. In the eyes of the congregation, an adult “known” to be a former child molester is not “free from accusation” or “irreprehensible,” nor does he have “a fine testimony from people on the outside.” (1 Tim. 3:1-7, 10; 5:22; Titus 1:7) In view of his past, those in the community would not respect him and congregation members might be stumbled over his appointment. Keep in mind that the branch office, not the local body of elders, determines whether one who has sexually abused a child is considered a known child molester.
What the Watchtower appears to be saying here, is that a man may actually be known by them to have sexually abused a child; but if he is not notorious in the community, and if the congregation is unaware of his crimes, then he may actually qualify to serve as an elder or ministerial servant. So, Bethel reserves to itself the right to appoint some man to a “privilege” of office in the full knowledge that he may have sexually abused children in the past – as long as the parents in the congregation are unaware.
The Governing Body claims to be concerned about stumbling members of the congregation if a known sexual predator were appointed. However, where is their concern for the welfare of children who are the potential victims of someone who is known to have already victimized a child? And where is the concern for stumbling members of the congregation if their appointee commits another crime against a child and the victim and parents and other members of the congregation find out that Bethel knowingly appointed a child molester?
The princes of Bethel have even stated in the Watchtower Magazine that pedophiles are known to be recidivists (repeat offenders) ; and yet they are willing to put the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses at unnecessary risk by appointing a known abuser to a position of trust and authority. How absolutely treacherous! They are knowing no shame. How fittingly the words of Zephaniah apply to the leadership of the mother organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses today:
“To her God she did not draw near. Her princes in the midst of her were roaring lions. Her judges were evening wolves that did not gnaw bones till the morning. Her prophets were insolent, were men of treachery. Her priests themselves profaned what was holy; they did violence to the law. Jehovah was righteous in the midst of her; he would do no unrighteousness. Morning by morning he kept giving his own judicial decision. At daylight it did not prove lacking. But the unrighteous one was knowing no shame.”