Horror Show Saturday: Hiding Crimes Down Under

Just to finish up another week of religious sex abuse, let’s go for quantity, shall we?  In Australia, the The Jehovah’s Witnesses Church failed to report more than 1000 sexual abuse crimes for more than 60 years, according to investigators.

Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, organized in 2013 in response to sexual abuse cases within the Catholic Church, found more than they bargained for when they took a look at the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  According to Angus Stewart, senior council assisting the commission, “Evidence will be put before the Royal Commission that of the 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse identified by the Jehovah’s Witness Church since 1950, not one was reported by the church to secular authorities. This suggests that it is the practice of the Jehovah’s Witness church to retain information regarding child sexual abuse offenses but not to report allegations of child sexual abuse to the police or other relevant authorities.”

Two church members, known only as BCB and BCG, were expected to give testimony in court that they were “encouraged” by church leadership to keep their knowledge of sexual abuse to themselves and not report it to authorities.  The church, meanwhile, claimed that it had purged the church of problematic members, tossing 401 to the curb, but it was later revealed that 230 were allowed back and 35 were brought back multiple times.

According to Stewart, the JW Church receives 3-4 claims of sexual misconduct per month, yet few, if any of these reports ever make it to the police for investigation.  He says that the church provides “conflicting and ambiguous teachings regarding their relationship with secular authorities, thereby fostering a distrust of such authorities.”  In other words, they specifically teach their members not to go to the police, especially in matters which might make the church look bad.

It isn’t just in Australia though, in the U.S., it’s been revealed that since 1989, the Watchtower Society has specifically told clergy to avoid going to the police with suspicions about child molestation.  Even though the church is facing dozens of current court cases alleging the church knew about sexual misconduct but did nothing, they still refuse to help investigators.  They have even maintained a list of known sexual abusers within their ranks for more than 20 years, but they have refused, in violation of court orders, to turn said list over to investigators.

I guess it isn’t just the Catholics who have a problem with their clergy keeping it in their pants, and like the Catholics, they think they’re special and above the law.  Hopefully someone hands them their smug little heads in a serious multi-million dollar court case.  That will certainly be a good day on Horror Show Saturday.

 

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