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JWs in the News

JWs in the News

Antonie Dixon’s sister gives evidence in court

When Antonie Dixon told the jury an astonishing tale of sexual abuse by his mother and beatings at the hands of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they must have wondered whether any of it was believable. Today they heard from someone else who was there at the time and she confirmed much of what he said. According to Dixon’s sister Carla, he was dubbed “devil spawn” by their mother. (more…)


Murrieta Man Convicted Of Molesting Sisters Ages 9, 10

A 49-year-old man was found guilty Thursday of molesting two young sisters at his home in Murrieta, City News Service reported. Gilbert Simental was accused of molesting a then-9-year-old girl in 2005 and her 10-year-old sister in 2006. It took less than a day for the eight-woman, seven-man jury to find him guilty of three counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14. (more…)

See also the involvement of local elders at the Silent Lambs link:
http://www.silentlambs.org/ElderprotectPedophile.htm



Jehovah’s Witness Elder Accused of Raping Daughters in El Salvador

In the original Spanish at http://www.laprensagrafica.com/nacion/1095874.asp

Being discussed at http://jehovahs-witness.com/8/161809/1.ashx

Agentes de la delegación de la Policía en Mejicanos arrestaron a Carlos Martínez Castillo, de 40 años de edad, acusado de abusar sexualmente —desde hace seis meses— de sus dos hijas de ocho y 10 años respectivamente.

Partial translation:

PASTOR ACCUSED OF RAPING HIS TWO DAUGHTERS:

Going by the National Police Commission, the accused took advantage of visits by the minors to his house located in Soyapango. “The kids lived with their mom in Mejicanos but used to visit the guy who’s under investigation. There he’d get one of the girls to play while he raped the other and vice versa,” an official of the PNC explained. The capture of Martinez, who according to the authorities is a pastor of the church of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was effected yesterday morning at a framing and painting workshop, where he works. According to the police, the arrest was realized after representatives of an NGO whose name they did not want to reveal, they interposed the denunciation in which they showed that the little girls had said that their father had abused them.

The authorities have given assurance going by the crime of violating an innocent minor and, the organs of justice will be ordering a penalty of seven to 14 years of jail time, but in this case, due to relationship with the person being charged, it could be decreed at more than 15 years. Martinez denied the charges against him and claimed everything was a set-up by his daughters’ mother, because he does not want to be with her at their home. The office of the public prosecutor says that it has for proof the children’s testimony and the results of exams from Legal Medicine.


And… a very touching video about what has happened to those dedicated (and exploited) workers in Watchtower Corporation Service as they have aged:

Serve Jehovah in Your Youth!

SNAP and Silent Lambs Evansville, IN

SNAP and Silent Lambs Evansville, IN

Othmar Schroeder, the founding pastor of Holy Family Parish in Jasper, Ind., is accused of abusing several people. More than 10 victims have alleged sexual abuse by the late Monsignor Othmar Schroeder and reports are continuing to come in, the Catholic Diocese of Evansville’s bishop said Thursday.

Silentlambs will be leafleting along with SNAP (Survivors Network for Those Abused By Priests) in Evansville, IN on Sunday September 2, 2007 at the Catholic Church.

The program will start at 11:15am on the steps of the Church. If you would like to attend please contact silentlambs.org at info@silentlambs.org or call 270-527-5350 for more information.

Murderers Protected by Jehovah’s Witness Policies?

Murderers Protected by Jehovah’s Witness Policies?

This just in from Silent Lambs

In the article below two smiling accused murders walk free as a Jehovah’s Witnesses refuses to provide evidence of their crime. This appears to be a pattern with regard to how JWs deal with crime, note the following letter sent to two elders that inquired about a confession of several murders in 1992.

http://www.silentlambs.org/education/92_murder_letter.cfm

As the reader can see the fact that the person involved committed the murders before becoming baptized resulted in a directive to not report to authorities. In the story cited below as the accused murders were not baptized members of the congregation it would provide a basis for a member to remain neutral and not get involved in “worldly” affairs of the court. Is there a basis for this policy? The elders book “Pay Attention to Yourselves and All the Flock”, makes the following comment for unbaptized ones that commit murder or other crimes against non JW victims.

“As suggested by the Apostle Paul’s comments regarding Onesimus, a person who was guilty of illegal activities before coming to a knowledge of the truth is not required to settle these things with the authorities prior to baptism.” (The Watchtower, 9/15/1978, pp.30-31)

To clarify what the directive in the elders book means note the quote from the Watchtower article cited as a reference,

“However, in some instances the guilty individual does not know all the places or persons from whom he has stolen. Or the crime may be something that he has no way of reversing. He might have caused someone’s death. Conscience-stricken though he be, he cannot bring that life back—only Jehovah can. (John 5:28, 29) But even though he cannot reverse the past, he should throw himself on God’s mercy and seek forgiveness based on Jesus’ sacrifice. The Bible pointedly tells us that this is what thieves and extortioners did in the first century; they were ‘washed clean, sanctified and declared righteous in the name of Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.’—1 Cor. 6:9, 10; 1 Pet. 4:1-4.”

“It must be acknowledged that if someone with a criminal past who accepts Christianity does not get the matter legally straightened out before baptism, his past might later become public knowledge; he might even be apprehended and imprisoned. That development, besides giving him a bad public reputation, might seem to reflect unfavorably on the Christian congregation. But Jesus was criticized for eating with and accepting sinners and tax collectors to be his disciples. His response to that was that he came to save sinners; he came to heal the sick, not the healthy.—Matt. 9:10-13.”

So as the reader can see Jehovah’s Witnesses have a policy to welcome murders and cover their crimes as long as they were committed before they get baptized as a member in good standing. As the article above states, JWs feel it is following Christ example to protect murders from prosecution allowing them to eat with and accept as approved members, privately confessed criminals that request baptism. This offers a possible reason that the Jehovah’s Witness in the article refused to testify against the accused murderers below. If they were studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses or were a possible converts, it would be against the directives of the organization to bear witness against them. When they get baptized law breakers are given a fresh start with all crimes against humanity washed clean by baptism and protected by the policies of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

This little known fact allows for the organization to hide murders, child molesters, illegal aliens, thieves, rapists, and about any other criminal activity. Elders are routinely advised to cover up and protect such crimes by using “ecclesial privilege” as a basis to protect the freedom of criminals. The public and Jehovah’s Witnesses need to be aware of this policy as well as the importance of reporting any past or present criminal activity that you as an individual may be aware of regarding members of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Otherwise you could give an accused murderer a reason to smile as you can see in the picture below.

Silentlambs has noted the reports of several victims that reported their molester was protected as a member in good standing due to the fact they were baptized after they committed their molestation. A young person that molests several children as a member of the congregation as well as a paroled child molester, with “baptism”, can have a clean slate and even qualify as an elder. This provides yet another reason that the organization has been called a “pedophile paradise” by different ones as it shows yet another organizational loophole for child molesters to use in obtaining access to children.

My view differs somewhat from that of Silent Lambs. I see no reason that anyone should be barred from becoming a Christian or being forgiven their sins. Their standing – or not – with God is a private matter. Even in a religious community, there is no reason to think that repentance is impossible. However, other members must be protected, too. It is sheer folly to allow a convicted pedophile, for instance, to be alone with children with no supervision.

My concerns are with codified obstruction of justice, the theocratic war strategy that allows deceitfulness in court for the protection of the organization over help and justice for victims, and the lack of care or protection for children and others.

JWs – if you are experiencing or have knowledge of domestic abuse, rape, molestation, or other predatory and/or abusive behavior, please don’t be silent – let the police investigate. That’s their job. It’s not the job of the elders to mediate such matters. The status of such a person in the organization is a separate issue – two witnesses needed, whatever. But get help outside the congregation. Don’t let the organization tell you that “Jehovah will take care of it.” There are too many examples in the news for you not to take this seriously. Please.

Silent Lambs – Pages of Interest:

Russian JWs Awake(n) – A Beginning?

Russian JWs Awake(n) – A Beginning?

It is possible that internal discussion about Watchtower policies has begun, at least among some Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Internal discussion or debate is very rare – those who attempt to initiate such are quickly disfellowshipped so that their “unsheep-like” attitude does not “infect” the congregation. The Watchtower Bible and Tract publishing empire/religious group is totalitarian – very much a “top-down” organization. They believe that their Governing Body is literally God’s earthly representative. Disagreement with the Governing Body or the Watchtower publication’s interpretations are not tolerated. Members do not hold them accountable for anything.

To be honest, I can’t tell if this is from any organized group of people or not. There is a forum and a site, but I don’t know how many people may be in agreement with what it says. I don’t know how many among them might actually be active JWs, either. But when I got this via a news bulletin from Silent Lambs (where it was submitted) this morning, I saw it as a hopeful sign that some JWs might be opening their eyes on this issue.

To the people of Russia and of the world

D E C L A R A T I O N of active members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses International Organization

We are compelled to write this Declaration because of recent events in the United States that have to do with established incidents of sexual abuse of minors involving some appointed servants (including elders) of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization. We want to express our opinion about the situation and about the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society position in this regards.

Our organization’s leadership — the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses — remains silent and pretends that nothing extraordinary is going on. Nevertheless we cannot remain silent any longer, because we see it all, we face these problems in our everyday lives and we feel confused and ashamed when others point us to such incidents. Thus we in Russia feel very uneasy about these facts.

We do recognize clearly that the present internal policies of our organization are favorable and conductive to concealment of such transgressions against law and morals. All who attempt to press for just punishment of the offenders will themselves come under condemnation unless they have enough evidence against an accused person – oftentimes presence of two or more eye-witnesses of a given incident is requested, whereas one-man witnesses of crimes committed against close kin are dismissed. Therefore a criminal often goes unpunished and privately continues to commit felonious acts against his victim.

We do not know of any single instance when elders of a congregation would turn to the law enforcement agencies with a request to investigate claims of sexual abuse, although crimes of such kind should be investigated by experts.

This probably happens because the elders themselves, as we know, are often involved in similar transgressions (including, to be sure, not only sexual sins, but also deceit, licentiousness, rudeness etc,). Praise God, we do not know of any instances of pedophilia in Russia, but in other situations actions of elders are being portrayed in such a way as if nothing has happened — elders being often “shielded” by fellow elders and/or regional overseers. All this gives rise to feelings of indignation and aversion. We have enough examples to prove our case, but it is not our goal to publish these.

Unfortunately it turns out that it has become more important for Jehovah’s Witnesses to maintain authority of the elders and of the organization in general than to maintain biblical ethics and morals.

We’d be glad to find ourselves mistaken, but thus far all facts speak in favor of such conclusion.

On behalf of all Jehovah’s Witnesses indignant with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society policies we would like to make apologies to those who have suffered from such actions on part of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We are truly ashamed of their actions. We do this because we recognize that the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, with its usual practice of improper “pudency”, will never do it. Public should know that among Jehovah’s Witnesses both in Russia and in the world there are hundreds and thousands of honest people — they see all the lawless deeds of their organization and sincerely mourn it.

We also do recognize that many policies of our organization are not biblical, but rather based upon dogmas put forth by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. One result of such unchristian position is their “policy of concealment” as applied to various crimes committed by members of the organization. Rank-and-file Jehovah’s Witnesses are mostly unsatisfied with this policy, but they remain silent for fear of being repressed by the leadership which has only one interest: to maintain a positive public “image” of the organization.

We do not want to be condemned by God along with those who stubbornly persist in their delusions (2 Thes. 2:11-12). Having put our hope in His mercy and submitted everything under His mighty hand (1 Peter 5:6), we pray for our brothers that God may open their eyes (Rom. 10:1). Members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses International Organization

E-mail: mnenie00@mail.ru
Forum: http://jwforum.org
Website: http://allistinawt.by.ru

I see here open criticism – and it seems to me that it may come from a grounded integrity that feels compassion and sorrow, a sense of priorities, and a more evolved form of ethics. An apology to victims – because the Governing Body will never do it. An acknowledgment that JWs will not refer these cases to the police for investigation. The practice of “shielding.” An understanding that the dogmas exceed biblical justification. (Side quibble: I don’t even want to know what they mean by pudency. It is a word, ranging in meaning from modesty to shame to prudery (as you might guess, it refers to pudendum). Do they mean “prudence”, perhaps?)

I keep hoping that – for the sake of JWs themselves – they will learn how to begin local discussions and debates, and that they find within themselves the wherewithal to step outside the controlling structures and think things through for themselves.

In order to prevent such discussions from happening (or to deal with them if they start), I am speculating (if not outright predicting) that before too long the Governing Body will be forced to announce that they have “received new light from Jehovah” on some of these issues. (I have always wondered about the specific mechanism of the new light delivery system – is there a receiver near the Brooklyn Bridge?)

I know that some Jehovah’s Witnesses have to have noticed the steep decline of compassion and kindness (among other things) among their “sisters and brothers,” their “friends” over the last several years. JWs often quote the scripture about the “fruits of the spirit” as a way of arguing that only they are the true religion. Protecting predators while ignoring victims is not a comfortable stance for people who do their best to conduct their lives in the way they believe God wants and is asking of them.

It is my feeling that the greatest change would occur when JWs find the courage to start having local discussions on some of these issues, rather than simply parroting the talking points sent over from Brooklyn on how to answer questions at the door. True friends and sisters and brothers share their insights, and each one’s gifts contribute to the body as a whole. Spirit does not reside only in the head (so to speak). The fact that almost no JWs partake of the wine and bread at the Memorial, and that even those who consider themselves of the 144,000 never meet with the Governing Body, could make them think about what kind of “communion” or “network” they might really be involved with, but it doesn’t happen.

Some of them know, deep inside, that there are more important things than maintaining the image of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the eyes of the world. Reform is long overdue.

Opposing Watchtower Sex Abuse Policies

Opposing Watchtower Sex Abuse Policies

Someone has put some of the coverage of the Silent Lambs in Nashville up at YouTube. Check it out.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlRHaO0y4ro[/youtube]

Over a five day period in February, 16 civil child sex abuse lawsuits against the Watchtower Society (the Jehovah’s Witness headquarters in New York City) were quietly settled in three states (CA, TX and OR). The victims involved were essentially coerced into signing ‘gag orders’ that prevent them from discussing the cases. One Jehovah’s Witness elder who was sued was long time San Diego resident Rick McLean who was featured on America’s Most Wanted in March. He is suspected of molesting more than 30 children.

Molestation victims and advocates met to support abuse victims and to protest the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ policies on sexual predators and abusers (some of which include discouraging victims from seeking help from “worldly authorities,” requiring two witnesses to the abuse, keeping information from the police, allowing known abusers to interact unsupervised with children, and not informing congregations of potential issues or problems when predators transfer to other congregations).

They encouraged victims and witnesses to get help.

In light of the recent multiple-case settlement, they also urged all faith groups to stop requiring secrecy (gag orders) in settlements.

For more details see these previous posts:

JW Child Sex Abuse Cases Settled with Gag Order!

JW Child Sex Abuse Cases Settled with Gag Order!

Press Release:


Sixteen Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits Against Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Settled
Largest Deal Ever in Denomination’s History Includes Controversial Gag Order

One of the Predators is A Fugitive & Was Profiled on “America’s Most Wanted”

Two Organizations Urge All Faith Groups To Stop Requiring Secrecy in Settlements

The Nation-wide Support Groups Prod Witnesses & Victims To Come Forward & Get Help

WHAT:
At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will disclose and discuss a child molestation settlement (allegedly in the millions of dollars and the largest-ever) against the Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the predators was recently on ‘America’s Most Wanted.’

They’ll also discuss a nationwide outreach effort to find and help more men and women who have been sexually abused by Jehovah’s Witness officials, and publicly urge all faith groups to stop requiring abuse victims to sign gag orders.

WHEN:
Thursday, May 10, 10:00 a.m.

WHERE:
Outside the Davidson County Courthouse (in courtyard), 200 James Robertson Parkway in Nashville, TN

WHO:
Several clergy molestation victims and advocates from five states, including – a Kentucky man who is the founder of a nationwide support group for Jehovah’s Witness victims & Tennessee leaders of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,
SNAPnetwork.org)

DETAILS:
Over a five day period in February, 16 civil child sex abuse lawsuits against Watchtower (the Jehovah’s Witness headquarters in New York City) were quietly settled in three states (CA, TX and OR). The victims involved were essentially coerced into signing ‘gag orders’ that prevent them from discussing the cases. (Copies of the 16 dismissal notices and of 1-2 of the actual lawsuits will be provided.)

One Jehovah’s Witness elder who was sued was long time San Diego resident Rick McLean who was featured on America’s Most Wanted in March. He is suspected of molesting more than 30 children.

http://www.amw.com/fugitives/case.cfm?id=35566

http://www.silentlambs.org/rickmcleanamw.htm

Victims groups and veteran clergy sex abuse attorneys (like Jeff Anderson who has filed 1,500 such lawsuits in the past 20+ years) are highly critical of gag orders because they keep the identities of predators secret and make it harder for victims to heal from the devastating effects of childhood trauma.

Attorneys for the victims in these cases are Greg Love and Kimberly Norris of Ft. Worth Texas (817 560 5600). Jehovah’s Witness officials JR Brown and David Semonian and church lawyers Philip Brumley and Mario Moreno can be reached at 718-560-5600 or
845-306-1100.

The denomination was prompted to settle the cases because of an adverse court ruling last October in California that would require them to turn over deeply-held secret records about abusive Jehovah’s Witnesses.

http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20070125.html

A similar news conference is being held today in San Diego at 1:00 p.m. (Pacific time) outside a downtown courthouse there. (For details: Mary Grant 626 419 2930, Paul Livingston619 847 3998)

Six years ago a Kentucky man – William H. Bowen – reported to fellow Jehovah’s Witness church officials that another elder was in fact a confessed child molester and remains a Jehovah’s Witness in good standing to this day. Bowen was then ostracized
by fellow church members, went on to start a now 6,000 member support group for those abused and silenced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. That group, SilentLambs.org, now has 6,000 members.

http://www.silentlambs.org/NationalPresspacket.htm

Contact: William H. Bowen of Paducah KY, founder of SilentLambs.org 270-703-2257 cell, 270-527-5350

Mary Grant of Long Beach CA, SNAP western regional director 626-419-2930 cell

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314-566-9790 cell

Statement by Bill Bowen:

Sex abuse survivors through litigation have forced Jehovah’s Witnesses to admit their policy on child abuse is not working. Watchtower policy has silenced thousands of victims and continues to strangle their ability to cry for justice and healing.

One month ago, we were informed about settlements in some of the more than forty recent civil sex abuse lawsuits against the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We learned that 16 victims were paid the largest settlement in history of Jehovah’s Witnesses but forced to sign a gag order that forbids them from speaking about their abuse. We find this bittersweet. On one hand, we’re glad a few victims are finally getting some financial help. On the other hand, we’re sad and worried because they’ve essentially been forced to give up their right to protect others by speaking out about their abuse to the public.

In 2002, US Catholic bishops publicly promised that the church would never ask for gag orders when compensating abuse survivors. Five years later, Jehovah’s Witnesses do just the reverse. They keep putting innocent kids and unsuspecting families at risk of horrible crimes because they value their secrecy and reputations more than they value children’s safety. Jehovah’s Witness kids that experience abuse need to have freedom to speak. It is time to step up and do the right thing instead of protecting the reputation of the church.

Watchtower’s secrecy and recklessness gives dangerous men like Rick McLean continued access to youngsters. McLean was recently featured on America’s Most Wanted as one of the 15 most wanted fugitives in this country. Four of his victims were part of the sixteen lawsuits recently settled and silenced by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Because Watchtower officials never reported McLean and his crimes to law enforcement, he remains on the run and in fact might be molesting kids right now. Watchtower has a long-standing and ridiculous policy of not reporting molesters to police, requiring two eye witnesses before an abused child is believed and insisting that untrained individuals do internal investigations. This keeps kids vulnerable and predators free.

Watchtower has attacked and ousted members of conscience who have spoken out on to protect kids. They have protected child molesters by maintaining a secret database of more that 25,000 molesters that they do not shared with law enforcement. Finally, when a few victims find the courage and strength to speak up, get help, warn others, and seek justice in court, church officials silence them with hurtful gag orders.

Why did they settle? Last fall, a California court ruling would have required Watchtower to open their pedophile database. To prevent this information from becoming public, church officials chose to settle these 16 cases. They do not want anyone to know how much damaging information the database contains.

This is an international problem that needs to be addressed by one of the wealthiest religious groups in the world. At silentlambs.org, we want victims to know that, now more than ever, they can speak out, get help, expose molesters and protect others. Now more than ever, the legal climate has changed and is changing, so they have a better chance to get justice in court and deter others from hiding sex crimes.

We are announcing a worldwide campaign to reach Jehovah’s Witness sex abuse victims. We are asking that this downloadable “Service Bulletin” be placed in every Kingdom Hall (JW CHURCH) around the world and delivered to any Jehovah’s Witness that you may come in contact with. By doing so you can help victims find healing and protect children.

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