And that makes it a perfect month, all religious rapists and sex abusers of various stripes. This time around, it’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose Elder, Mark Sewell, faces a “very substantial” prison term after being found guilty of eight sex abuse charges against children. A jury found him guilty of one charge of rape and seven counts of indecent assault (I still hold that you really can’t decently assault anyone, can you?). According to the charges, between 1987 and 1995, Sewell sexually molested two young girls and raped a grown woman, who reportedly became pregnant from the attack, although she later miscarried.
Once again, the court heard that this religious elder used his position of power to exploit and abuse women and children in his congregation. This is the same thing that happens in virtually all of these sex abuse scandals, yet even when one of the victims made accusations against Sewell in front of 12 other elders, not a single one stood up to take action. They simply ignored it, just as we’ve seen among the Catholics, the Muslims and other Christian denominations. They just don’t care. According to the prosecutor, Sewell’s actions represent a “gross breach of trust” against the girls who strongly believed that Sewell was a “man of God” and therefore, to be trusted.
Judge Twomlow stated, “By a combination of bullying, bluster and hypocrisy you managed to avoid being brought to account for this utterly disgraceful behaviour for many years. Fortunately the jury were not fooled by you and you now face a very substantial prison sentence.” Yet I doubt that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are going to change any policies or require elders to step forward and report all claims of sex abuse to the police, any more than the Catholics have done so. It’s just bad PR to be very concerned about these things. Best to pretend it doesn’t exist and when someone invariably gets arrested and convicted, you can pretend that it’s an isolated incident and none of your concern.
So four stories of sex abuse in this month’s Horror Show Sunday. This ought to leave you shaking your head, but you know, it you’ve read this for long, that these stories come up all the time. It hasn’t stopped in the past and it won’t stop in the future, not so long as the religious can pretend that they don’t have predators in their midst and their existence and presence isn’t caused by the very nature of their religion.