Jehovah’s Witnesses & Sexual Predators

I probably don’t have to tell you about the recent string of events surrounding Penn State and Jerry Sandusky.

Revolting is the term that came to my mind when I heard the news of his allegedly  raping young boys in the showers of Penn State.

What I find most disturbing is the willingness on the part of the staff to cover this up and to keep it quiet.

The Catholic church has had similar situations occur where they avoided publicity and merely tried to sweep the problems under the carpet. Instead of getting authorities involved or even defrocking the priest they would move the offending sexual predator to another parish to prey upon the children there. It became such a problem that the Catholic church lost millions of adherents as a direct result of their failure to address it. When threatened with accusers they would seek to discredit them, ignore them and otherwise shirk their Christian duty as “men of God”.

What of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? What is their record in all of this?

I’m glad you asked!

This is a true story that I know firsthand because I was there:

My sister married a Jehovah’s Witness who was out on appeal for pedophilia. He maintained his innocence even though he had been found guilty and was subsequently convicted of this horrible crime. Because the elders never saw fit to take action against this guy he was able to get inside my sister’s head and against my parent’s advice got her to marry him. He later had to begin serving time in the state penitentiary where it came out that he was in fact guilty of the crime. My sister, upon hearing the news, immediately filed for divorce and went through a horrible time psychologically as well as financially as a result.

Sadly this type of thing isn’t isolated. The elders attempt to hide certain things from the congregation and the general public for political reasons, to protect relatives and family members from embarrassment and to avoid bad publicity for the organization. When confronted about these things they claim a “confessional privilege” and dodge the issue. Yet because of their failure to do the right thing, they put the entire congregation at risk in allowing suspected and known pedophiles unobstructed access to the children and the vulnerable in Kingdom Halls around the world.

This was certainly the case with my sister. Had this predator been disfellowshipped immediately upon being convicted, my sister would never have become involved with him. However since the elders saw fit to allow him to remain in good standing with the congregation, he was able to attend the meetings, associate with the brothers and sisters and even go out in field service! My sister felt safe in trusting the judgement of the elders and assumed that he must be innocent if they refused to disfellowship him.

I think this is the most insidious aspect of being involved in a cult.

People who would normally make a good, gut instinct decision to report someone, call the police, or at least stay as far away from a particular person as they can, will choose to ignore their own good judgement because of their involvement in the cult. They allow themselves to “drink the Kool-Aid” of the organization and subjugate their own correct instincts in favor of a “group think” that puts themselves and their families in harm’s way.

As is well documented, in many cases a JW will choose death for themselves and their children over disloyalty to the organization.

Why didn’t anyone at Penn State report Sandusky? Like the Catholic church and the Jehovah’s Witness leadership, they were far too busy protecting the institution they were a part of. They didn’t want to rock the boat or be perceived as disloyal. This type of group think isn’t just for religions folks. This happens in corporations, universities and, in the case of Nazi Germany, entire countries. Fear of reprisals, ouster, loss of reputation, loss of money and status as well as social standing in the group becomes the driving force behind actions or lack thereof.

Jehovah’s Witnesses who would, under normal circumstances, take swift and decisive action, stand back and look to their “leaders” to tell them what to do. This is the “group think” that I was speaking of earlier.

Who suffered in all of this with Penn State? The children that were raped, their families, and the students and faculty that had no knowledge of these atrocities being committed right under their noses.The ripple effect and the damage done to the victims, their families and the rest of the innocent could span generations.

What cults teach their followers is to suspend and ignore their own inner voice. Independent or critical thinking is strongly discouraged. Someone who displays a willingness to stand up to an elder, circuit overseer, district overseer or the organization is considered “weak” or “apostate” or “a goat” instead of “a sheep”.

These ones are quickly ostracized, disfellowshipped and made examples of for the rest of the group. Their reputations are subsequently trashed and those caught associating with them receive the same treatment. The other members of the group see this and realize this could happen to them and so they cower and bow to the will of the group.

Such is the plight of those stuck in a destructive, manipulative mind controlled cult.

If you would like more information regarding the horrendous record of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their abject failure to report pedophiles to the local authorities when clear proof and/or confessions to such acts existed you can do so at:

Stop Cult Child Abuse

The above linked site was founded by Bill Bowen, former JW elder and presiding overseer for 15 years. He has brought credible proof of not one, not fifty, but over five thousand documented cases of molestation of children in the Watchtower organization. He left the organization for their abject failure to report these predators to the authorities and even allowing many of them to hold positions of responsibility in the congregation as elders and ministerial servants!

I can’t make this crap up! It is absolutely STUNNING that the Watchtower leadership would allow this to go on.

That’s almost enough to make Warren Jeffs look like a choir boy. He was only convicted of two counts of child sexual assault! Jerry Sandusky, if convicted, probably will only face eight or so accusers. Yet the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society has systematically ignored the pleas of over five thousand innocent children with impunity!

There is a lot of good material there providing resources to those who have suffered at the hands of these monsters. There are hotlines, support groups, and counseling available online.

If you or someone you know has been sexually molested by a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses you need to report it to the police immediately even if it happened years ago!

The fact of the matter is this:

Even if someone shows repentance, the record of repeated predatory behavior was enough to make Megan’s Law mandatory in all states. Sexual predators rarely if ever reform. Megan’s Law protects children from these pedophiles. However it only works if the offenders are prosecuted and found guilty. If they aren’t prosecuted then chances are their behavior will continue indefinitely and they will just move on to easier targets. The discipline these miscreants receive from the elders equates to nothing and most of the time they are simply given a slap on the wrist and are warned not to do it again. Even if they are publicly reproved the reason they are being reproved is never disclosed and so innocent children are constantly being placed in harms way as a result.

It never ceases to amaze me that the organization will allow a known child molester to hold a position of responsibility in the organization while at the same time disfellowship and absolutely trash the reputation of someone with the guts, the moral compass, and the self determination to stand up to them for allowing it to happen.

We simply must protect the children from these monsters and the only way to do so is to get public officials involved. You can’t trust the elders to call the police. Chances are they won’t. It is up to you to do so. Even if the elders threaten you with expulsion for calling the authorities, you must do what you know is right.

I implore you to do the right thing here! If you know of any abuse against children in the Watchtower organization, regardless of what the elders have said or done, call the police first and child protective services next!

You can make these calls anonymously.

The child you save could be your own!

Yours in Christ,

Doug Shields