Here are the letters I hope they are helpful. I tried to include as much information that I could think of. Please keep in mind that I have a restraining order against Sheila (my biological mother) who is still a JW in good standing and against Ralph who is also in good standing with them. So if you contact either of them don't mention my name or the courts could consider that you are calling on my behalf. R andy also has a restraining order on Ralph. It doesn't bother me or R andy if you mention that we feel the need to have these restraining orders. The judge has told me that due to the severity of the case- (she read the witness impact statement) that this time she would grant it to me for a year but, next year when it is up for renewal she will grant it to me for life.
WITNESS IMPACT STATEMENT
To Whom it May Concern, April 1. 2003
My biological mother Sheila married Ralph Heroux when I was 5 years old and she then became a Jehovah's Witness. Shortly after that is when the sexual, physical & mental abuse started. This abuse lasted from the age of 5 until I was about 11 years old. The sexual abuse would happen whenever Ralph Heroux would get the chance (several times a week) he would even sneak into my room with Sheila sleeping in the next room! I would beg Sheila not to leave me with this man and she did anyways. The physical & mental abuse consisted of kneeling on a hardwood floor with my pants rolled above my knees for hours at a time. (to this day my knees still crack when I kneel and I will not wear shorts because my knees are so bruised. I was hit with a leather belt on my bare bottom, sent to bed without dinner, and made to clean the floor and wastebaskets with a toothbrush. These were all scare tactics done by Mr. Heroux so I would not tell anyone. Sheila was there most of the time when the punishments were given out but nothing was ever said or done. When I was 11 years old Sheila finally caught him sexually abusing, she confronted him about the abuse and went to the elders to complain about him and soon after that she filed for divorce. The elders met with her and they said that they would handle it. Nothing was ever done, it was hushed up and the rest of the congregation was not warned about this man. The elders & Sheila never went to the authorities or asked me what happened nor did they seek counseling for me. Although after 25 years Sheila found it necessary to seek counseling for herself. She told me that she needs to forgive herself even if I never will. Ralph Heroux moved to a different church and soon after that re-married a woman who had a daughter 3 years older than me. Again it appears not a word was ever mentioned to the new congregation about Mr. Heroux's past, and it was hushed up. And he was able to be around more children without anyone knowing.
I always wondered what I did to deserve this type of treatment from both of them. A lot of the physical abuse was happening with Sheila in the same room and nothing was being said or done to protect me. And even when she went to the elders no one was willing to help me. Being a Jehovah's Witness I was not allowed to celebrate any holidays because of this religion, this meant sitting in the hallway or going to the library when everyone else was celebrating Birthdays, Halloween etc. I could not associate with anyone that was not in the religion. Playing sports was not allowed either. You are not allowed to date or marry anyone who was not in this religion. For these reasons I view them more as a cult. When I chose to leave this so called religion I was not allowed to associate with anyone that was still in the religion because I was viewed as a bad person for turning my back on this religion. I did not know anyone out side the religion since I was raised in the religion since I was 5 years old. Another scare tactic done by Jehovah's Witnesses. So I felt I was being victimized again.
I moved out of Sheila's house when I was 18 years old and I moved on with my life as best that I could. I never mentioned a word about the abuse to a soul not even because I was ashamed. In May of 2002 I received a letter from the Seekonk congregation of elders stating that my name was given to the Bristol County District Attorney's office as being a victim of child abuse. At this point I called Seekonk congregation and asked them what Jehovah's Witnesses are doing to protect other children from Ralph Heroux and I was told "Nothing he is still active in the kingdom hall and he can still go out and preach to other people:" I was also told that they did their job they reported Mr. Heroux to the authorities. The only reason my name was even to the District Attorney was because of a new law passed last year. I was horrified that they would let this man be around children knowing he was a child molester. I knew I had to come forward and have him prosecutes to protect other children from the horrible 6 years of abuse that I had had to endure. When I told a couple of my aunts who are not Jehovah's Witnesses what had happened I learned that my cousin & my step-sister and step-brothers (Ralph's biological children) had also been abused by this man.
I am now the mother of a 3 year & a 4 year old and I am fiercely protective of them. The only time that they are not with me is when they are at daycare. I very rarely go out. I am afraid to leave them with anyone. I have two rottweilers and an akita and I have to have one dog sleep with me every night and one dog sleeps in my kids room for protection. I could never have a relationship with my biological mother because I feel so betrayed by her and the church. Even though she wasn't the ab user she allowed this to happen and it went un-reported. I will not even go to church because I don't think that the catholic church is any better. When I brought charges against Ralph Heroux I asked if I could also bring charged against Sheila but I couldn't. In making your sentence please take these few things into consideration:
The only reason he does not have a criminal record is because the Jehovah's witnesses never reported it to the authorities.
Jehovah's witnesses move these pedophiles fro m c ongregation to congregation without telling anyone about their past.
Not only did he abuse me & my cousin he also abused his own biological children both sexually and physically.
Please sentence this man to the stiffest possible term so that no other person has to go through what we have had to suffer.
One night the local congregations had a sermon on if any clergy knows of a victim of child abuse that because of the new law it needs to be reported. knows Sheila is the on who went to Joseph A from the Seekonk congregation and told him that it had to be reported. Sheila is also the one who went to the Circuit overseer and reminded him what Ralph had done when they wanted to make Ralph a ministerial servant. The elders that Sheila went to were Richard V, Arnold E & Richard M. When I asked Sheila if Ralph was able to be around children I was told he can't go door to door alone with a child or be alone in the kingdom hall with children. I told her so basically what your telling me is protect within and screw everybody else. What about the unsuspecting parents in his neighborhood or if a child answers the door when he is out preaching. What right does a level two sex offender have to come to my door and try and preach to me.
LETTER FROM THE SEEKONK CONGREGATION
SEEKONK CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
290 Arcade Ave.
Seekonk , MA 02771
May 28, 2002
Dear Jane Doe,
As required by the new Massachusetts child abuse reporting law, we made a report on the 28th of May 2002 , to the Office of the Bristol County District Attorney of allegations that we received that you were a victim of child abuse. This notice is provided to you as required by the new law.
Very truly yours,
Body of elders
For the Seekonk Congregation
LETTER WRITTEN TO THE PAROLE BOARD January 23, 2004
On January 18, 2003 at 11:30 am I made an anonymous phone call to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Seekonk , MA . I stated that my sister had studied the bible with Ralph & Maria Heroux and me & my two small children would like to study the bible also, But before I do this my husband wants to know what procedures you take to protect children in your church. I told Mr. Joseph A my husband was worried because we have a 2 & 3 year old and with the whole catholic scandal he just wants to be sure our kids are safe. He stated we do not have anyone like that in our church and if we did if it was in their past and they repented it was okay. I answered I would like Ralph & Maria to study with me & my kids. Joe stated Ralph was not available but Maria was. I stated I was going on vacation and would be back the 2nd week in February, could I call them when I get back? Joe A said that yes Ralph & Maria will be available to study the bible with me and my children then. Mr. Joe A can be reached at the Seekonk congregation or at home . I will be calling them back in February to see if they will meet with me.
I didn't call back in February, when Ralph was released in February from prison he was fitted with an electronic bracelet and had to do an application to see if he would be able to move back to Rhode Island . The state of R.I. denied him access to the state and told Ralph that he could never move back because he is a parolee for life. Imagine here is Joseph A an elder in the Seekonk congregation and he is telling me that a convicted level 2 sex offender can be around me & my 2 small children. this is why these people need to be exposed for what they truly are. Based on my phone call to the Seekonk congregation, and speaking with countless authorities from probation dept., the parole board, witness advocates and the sex offender registry board the following conditions are for his probation and parole.
LETTER FROM THE PAROLE BOARD REGARDING CONDITIONS January 28, 2003
This letter is to inform you that Ralph Heroux, was sentences to lifetime parole supervision. Conditions of parole include the IPSO (intensive parole for sex offenders) conditions. A violation of the conditions of parole could result in the offender being returned to custody. The first violation will result in a 30-day return. The second violation will result in a 180-day return. The third or subsequent violation will result in a 1-year return. The offender will be under parole supervision for life. The offender can request a termination of the parole supervision after a period of 15 years under supervision. You will be notified if the offender requests to terminate parole supervision.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at
Director, Victim Services
The following are a list of the conditions:
INTENSIVE PAROLE FOR SEX OFFENDERS (IPSO) SPECIAL CONDITIONS
These conditions shall be applied to all sex offenders in the (IPSO) Program in addition to the general and any other special conditions.
The parolee shall:
-Enroll and participate in a treatment program for sex offenders approved by the parole officer.
-Assume responsibility for paying counseling costs.
-Observe special curfew restrictions as imposed by the parole officer.
-Not drive alone at night or key times when parolee would offend. Parolee must keep a detailed driving log, including times, place and miles driven.
-Not drive at night except with the parole officer's permission and specific destinations.
-Not pick up hitchhikers whether driving or as a passenger.
-Not contact victim(s).
-Not view TV shows or motion pictures which are geared towards parolee's modus operandi, act as stimulus for parolee's deviant cycle or act as stimulus to arouse
parolee in deviant fashion.
-Not engage in use of pornography, erotica or frequent adult book stores, sex shops, topless bars, massage parlors, or other such establishments.
--Not possess cameras, particularly Polaroid-type cameras.
-Be monitored electronically for the first three months of supervision. Parolee shall be electronically monitored thereafter if the parole supervisor determines that it is necessary for effective supervision.
-Be monitored by polygraph examination. Polygraph examinations may be required at the discretion of a parole officer for the purposes of supervision and treatment.
-Not travel out of state or out of country at any time.
-Not engage in cruising or grooming activities.
-Keep a daily log of activities as required by the parole officer.
-Have and abide by a Relapse Prevention Plan approved by a sex offender therapist.
-Not possess, own or use computer programs that can access sexually oriented programs.
-Not have any romantic involvement or living arrangements with any individuals without the individuals being informed of the sexual deviancy and criminal offenses.
ADDITIONAL SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR PEDOPHILES
The parolee shall:
-Not socialize with individuals under the age of 18 in work, or social situations unless accompanied by an approved, responsible adult who is aware of the parolee's deviancy and approved by the parole officer: or
-Not have contact with individuals under the age of 18.
-Not frequent places where individuals under the age of 18 congregate such as parks, playgrounds and schools.
-Not live in an apartment complex or neighborhoods with large numbers of individuals under the age of 18 or neighborhoods near schools, parks or playgrounds.
-Have no involvement with individuals who have children under the age of 18 without approval of the parole officer.
ADDITIONAL SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR RAPISTS
The parolee shall not drive with other persons unless for a legitimate specific reason.
These were 2 newspaper articles that were done recently about the case. I find it very interesting that Attorney Joseph D says that the Watchtower Society has no control over Attleboro & Seekonk congregations but, my lawyer was able to uncover real estate holdings where they are connected to the Watchtower Society. My lawyer (atty. Stephen B) also brought a copy of the Watchtower and Awake to show that on page 2 it says published by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. Atty. D also states that there is no evidence the church had any knowledge of the activities of sexual deviance by Heroux, but the Seekonk congregation is the one who sent me the letter in the first place.
THE SUN CHRONICLE
Saturday September 18, 2004
City woman sues church on abuse
*Victi m c laims Jehovah's Witnesses did nothing to stop her former stepfather who, she says, molested her
By David Linton
Sun Chronicle Staff
ATTLEBORO - An Attleboro woman and two relatives are suing the Jehovah's Witnesses, alleging church officials in Attleboro ignored their claims of sexual abuse 30 years ago and the lack of "appropriate" action allowed that abuse to continue.
The lawsuit filed in Taunton Superior Court, seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages against the woman's former stepfather and alleged ab user , Ralph Heroux, 74 and the Seekonk and Attleboro congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Heroux, who was a ministerial servant in the church, pleaded guilty last year of sexually abusing his former stepdaughter, a woman now 36, and her 37 year-old male cousin from New Bedford .
Heroux served a one-year prison sentence before being released to a term of home confinement on an electronic bracelet for two years with probation.
The other plaintiff, and a 43 year-old South Easton woman, the stepsister of the Attleboro woman, was not part of the criminal case last year. But she claims in the suit that Heroux also sexually abused her as a child.
Also named as defen dan ts are The Watchtower and Bible Tract Society of Pennsylvania Inc., which governs the church, and the New York corporation which directs publishing activities.
The suit identifies the plaintiff using pseudonyms to protect their privacy rights because they were minors at the time of the alleged incestuous activities.
Although the alleged abuse involved Heroux and those in his household, the plaintiffs claim the church is responsible because it allegedly discouraged them or their relatives from reporting the abuse to outsiders or authorities.
By failing to take appropriate action after learning of these allegations of the eldest woman, the defen dan ts permitted Heroux to later abuse the Attleboro woman and her cousin, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim they suffered emotional and psychological harm, including depression and post traumatic stress disorder, into adulthood as a result of the abuse.
The case is scheduled for arguments in Fall River Superior Court Tuesday on a motion filed by the Jehovah's Witnesses, which denies responsibility, to dismiss the case on First Amendment grounds.
Joseph Desmond, a Boston lawyer representing the church, said the church is seeking dismissal based on the issue of separation of church and state.
In addition, he said, Heroux admitted in court to his crimes against two of the plaintiffs. The crimes were committed in his home and did not involve the church or church property, the lawyer said.
Desmond also said the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has no control over the Attleboro and Seekonk congregations.
"There is no evidence the church had any knowledge of the activities of sexual deviances by Heroux", Desmond said.
However, the suit alleges the Attleboro congregation was told of abuse and that Heroux was "disfellowshipped", a form of church discipline, for a brief period of time.
The Attleboro woman was abused from about age 5 to age 11 when her mother found out and allegedly told church officials. She also divorced Heroux, according to the suit.
The South Easton woman alleges she was about 5 when she was abused and that the incidents allegedly were reported to the church by her aunt, who lived with them at the time in Attleboro , the suit says.
The New Bedford man was abused by Heroux on two occasions when he was 10 and 12 on visits to Heroux's home.
Despite having been "disfellowshipped" by the Attleboro congregation, Heroux moved to Rhode Island in the late 1970's and joined the Seekonk congregation.
The church elders in Seekonk were warned about Heroux but because of a "code of silence" he later rose to become a ministerial servant, which is a mid-level rank in the church, below and elder, the suit says.
The criminal case against Heroux developed after the Attleboro woman was notified about the past allegations against Heroux by the Seekonk congregation in May 2002.
The church elders sent her a letter as required by a newly enacted law requiring churches to report allegations of sexual abuse to authorities.
The letter triggered the Attleboro woman's repressed memories of the abuse, the suit says.
A subsequent investigation led to an indictment against Heroux and her eventual guilty plea to indecent assault and battery and rape charges.
THE SUN CHRONICLE
Tuesday, September 30, 2004
Judge refuses to drop lawsuit
Woman claims that Jehovah's Witnesses did not stop abuse
By David Linton
Sun Chronicle Staff
Attleboro- A Fall River Superior Court Judge will not dismiss a lawsuit filed against the Jehovah's Witnesses that alleges the church ignored sexual abuse claims in Attleboro three decades ago.
The lawsuit was filed in April by an Attleboro woman and two relatives who allege church officials in Attleboro and Seekonk were told about the abuse and did not take "appropriate" action, allowing the abuse to continue.
A dismissal was sought by the church relating to the issue of separation and state.
The woman and her relatives, a stepsister and a male cousin, are named in the suit only by pseudonyms because they were between the ages of 5 and 12 when the incidents are alleged to have occurred.
One of the defen dan ts in the suit is the Attleboro woman's stepfather, Ralph Heroux, 74 who was convicted last year of rape and indecent assault and served a one-year prison term. The church had argued Heroux admitted to his crimes, which had nothing to do with the church.
Heroux who was a ministerial servant in the Attleboro church at the time, is now on probation, monitored by an electronic bracelet.
Also named aas defen dan ts are the Seekonk and Attleboro congregations of the Jehovah's Witnesses and The Watchtower and Bible Tract Society of Pennsylvania, which governs the church, and its New York corporation, which directs publishing activities.
The lawyer for the church could not be reached for comment.
On November 8th 2004 Attorney Joseph D requested a deposition from me. I was there for seven and a half hours before the deposition was suspended. He was more interested in my car accident and my job history then he was the sexual abuse. In April 0f 2002 I was in a car accident and Mr. D was more interested and who my doctors were for the past 5 years, what my injuries were and why I was suing the girl that hit me. I stated to Mr. D I was rear-ended hit and run by a person that had a revoked license. And my injuries were herniated discs in my neck that had to be taken out and plates and screws put in, wouldn't he sue? He was trying to paint me as a sue happy person. He was also insinuating that the only reason why I didn't use my real name in the lawsuit was because I didn't want the insurance company to find out I had filed another lawsuit. I told him absolutely not. I was trying to protect my family. Mr. D was very rude and tried to intimidate me by staring at me and using hand gestures to shut my lawyer up. These can't be recorded by the court stenographer and he knows it. I will not be intimated by a lawyer who seems to do whatever he can to stall these cases from going forward. In May 2004 my cousin who has also filed a lawsuit tried to commit suicide because all of the abuse suffered at the hands of this organization who it seems is more interested in protecting these pedophiles and convicted felons than help the real victims. they need to stand up and be held accountable for what they have done. I have been moni tori ng the website and had seen the e-mail from the man who had 2 brothers who were JW's. In my opinion I think the Catholics are better than the JW's, living in the Boston area and watching the whole Catholic church scandal unravel at least the Catholics admit their guilt and are settling these lawsuits they are also paying for counseling for the victims. The JW's would rather pay millions of dollars in lawyers fees then help one victim. When was the last time you saw the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society pay for anything to help a victim of a convicted child molester?
Thanks Bill for all your help.