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National Press Coverage of Silentlambs

Click here to read Second National AP Article PHOTO

The associated press did a national story on the silentlambs conference on 4/27/04. The story was very good and we were so excited to see it hitting papers across the USA on Sunday morning. The story is as follows,

 

Jehovah's Witnesses Hold Sex Abuse Caucus

By RICHARD N. OSTLING
A
P Religion Writer

4-27-04


NASHVILLE, Tenn.
P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders gathered in their first national caucus Saturday, sharing grievances about the religion's handling of abuse complaints and discussing legal strategy.

William Bowen, former leader of a Kentucky congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, said Saturday that more than 6,000 alleged sexual abuse victims have contacted a group he founded in 2001 to express "outrage at being silenced by the bad institutional policies" of the faith.

The religion's procedures "can decimate the lives of the innocent and empower predators to get away with the crime of rape," Bowen said.

Bowen's group, called silentlambs, was holding the caucus, which runs through Sunday and drew about two dozen participants.

A key participant was
Kim berlee Norris , an attorney from Fort Worth , Texas , whose firm represents 47 alleged abuse victims in civil cases against Jehovah's Witnesses organizations and individuals. Since getting involved in 2002, she said, she has spoken with more than 2,000 victims.

J. R. Brown, public affairs spokesman at world headquarters of the Witnesses' Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, in
New York City , said the religion agrees with silentlambs' goal "to minimize or eliminate the sexual abuse of children," but disputes the group's specific allegations.

"We do not view them as our enemies," Brown said.

Bowen contends that the Witnesses organization is a "pedophile paradise" because of the strong authority exercised by local elders and their overseers and the unusual way in which cases are handled.

As members of the faith understand biblical teaching, an accusation of wrongdoing must be supported by two people with direct knowledge, which silentlambs says is impossible in most molestation cases. Without such corroboration, the accused person is deemed innocent, silentlambs says, and victims and parents can be "disfellowshipped," or excommunicated, for slander if they speak up.

For a Witness, excommunication is a very harsh punishment. It means being cut off from relatives, friends and business associates. Bowen and other whistle-blowers have been excommunicated fo
r r aising abuse complaints against the organization.

Brown disputed the silentlambs' contention that Witnesses are discouraged from taking abuse complaints to secular police. Official policy says elders should report abuse allegations to police if state laws require this, as is now the case in many states.

Silentlambs, founded in 2001, has formed a loose interfaith alliance with two older groups that emerged from the Roman Catholic abuse scandals: The Linkup, based in
Louisville , Ky. , and Survivors Network of those Abused by P riests, or SNA P , with offices in Chicago and St. Louis .

Linkup leader Susan Archibald is joining the silentlambs board and Bowen is joining Linkup's board.

The issue has international ramifications for the Witnesses, who report about 1 million
U.S. followers and 6 million worldwide.

One silentlambs speaker was Anders Kristensson, visiting from
Sweden . He said when he told his local elders about his abuse they simply gave hi m c opies of the religion's Watchtower and Awake magazines, said "trust in Jehovah, everything will be O.K., and that's it."

Roger Carlson, a former Witnesses elder in
Sweden , said that since a national television report last year about abuse amon g Witnesses, 60 new victims have come forward.

"It's the same in every country," he said.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

I love the Washington Post headline,

 

Thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses Abused, Groups Say

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29713-2004Mar27.html

Associated P ress
Sunday, March 28, 2004 ; P age A09

NASHVILLE, March 27 -- P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders gathered in their first national caucus Saturday, sharing grievances about the religion's handling of abuse complaints and discussing legal strategy.

William Bowen, former leader of a Kentucky congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, said Saturday that more than 6,000 alleged sexual abuse victims have contacted a group he founded in 2001 to express "outrage at being silenced by the bad institutional policies" of the faith.

The religion's procedures "can decimate the lives of the innocent and empower predators to get away with the crime of rape," Bowen said.

Bowen's group, called Silentlambs, was holding the caucus, which runs through Sunday and drew about two dozen participants.

A key participant was Kim berlee Norris , a lawyer from Fort Worth whose firm represents 47 alleged abuse victims in civil cases against Jehovah's Witnesses organizations and individuals. Since getting involved in 2002, she said, she has spoken with more than 2,000 victims.

J. R. Brown, spokesman at world headquarters of the Witnesses' Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, in New York , said the religion agrees with Silentlambs' goal "to minimize or eliminate the sexual abuse of children," but disputes the group's specific allegations.

"We do not view them as our enemies," Brown said.

Bowen contends that the Witnesses organization is a "pedophile paradise" because of the strong authority exercised by local elders and their overseers and the unusual way in which cases are handled.

As members of the faith understand biblical teaching, an accusation of wrongdoing must be supported by two people with direct knowledge, which Silentlambs says is impossible in most molestation cases. Without such corroboration, the accused person is deemed innocent, Silentlambs says, and victims and parents can be "disfellowshipped," or excommunicated, for slander if they speak up.

For a Witness, excommunication is a harsh punishment. It means being cut off from relatives, friends and business associates. Bowen and other whistle-blowers have been excommunicated fo r r aising abuse complaints against the organization.

Brown disputed the Silentlambs' contention that Witnesses are discouraged from taking abuse complaints to secular police. Official policy says elders should report abuse allegations to police if state laws require this, as is now the case in many states.

Silentlambs, founded in 2001, has formed a loose interfaith alliance with two older groups that emerged from the Roman Catholic abuse scandals: the Linkup, based in Louisville , Ky. , and Survivors Network of Those Abused by P riests, or SNAP , with offices in Chicago and St. Louis .

The issue has international ramifications for the Witnesses, who report about 1 million U.S. followers and 6 million worldwide.

----------------------------------------

And best of all the New York Times,


The New York Times


March 27, 2004

Jehovah's Witnesses Hold Sex Abuse Caucus

By THE ASSOCIATED P RESS

Filed at 3:13 p.m. ET

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (A P ) -- Present and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders gathered in their first national caucus Saturday, sharing grievances about the religion's handling of abuse complaints and discussing legal strategy.

William Bowen, former leader of a Kentucky congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, said Saturday that more than 6,000 alleged sexual abuse victims have contacted a group he founded in 2001 to express ``outrage at being silenced by the bad institutional policies'' of the faith.

The religion's procedures ``can decimate the lives of the innocent and empower predators to get away with the crime of rape,'' Bowen said.

Bowen's group, called silentlambs, was holding the caucus, which runs through Sunday and drew about two dozen participants.

A key participant was Kim berlee Norris , an attorney from Fort Worth , Texas , whose firm represents 47 alleged abuse victims in civil cases against Jehovah's Witnesses organizations and individuals. Since getting involved in 2002, she said, she has spoken with more than 2,000 victims.

J. R. Brown, public affairs spokesman at world headquarters of the Witnesses' Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, in New York City, said the religion agrees with silentlambs' goal ``to minimize or eliminate the sexual abuse of children,'' but disputes the group's specific allegations.

``We do not view them as our enemies,'' Brown said.

Bowen contends that the Witnesses organization is a ``pedophile paradise'' because of the strong authority exercised by local elders and their overseers and the unusual way in which cases are handled.

As members of the faith understand biblical teaching, an accusation of wrongdoing must be supported by two people with direct knowledge, which silentlambs says is impossible in most molestation cases. Without such corroboration, the accused person is deemed innocent, silentlambs says, and victims and parents can be ``disfellowshipped,'' or excommunicated, for slander if they speak up.

For a Witness, excommunication is a very harsh punishment. It means being cut off from relatives, friends and business associates. Bowen and other whistle-blowers have been excommunicated fo r r aising abuse complaints against the organization.

Brown disputed the silentlambs' contention that Witnesses are discouraged from taking abuse complaints to secular police. Official policy says elders should report abuse allegations to police if state laws require this, as is now the case in many states.

Silentlambs, founded in 2001, has formed a loose interfaith alliance with two older groups that emerged from the Roman Catholic abuse scandals: The Linkup, based in Louisville , Ky. , and Survivors Network of those Abused by P riests, or SNA P , with offices in Chicago and St. Louis .

Linkup leader Susan Archibald is joining the silentlambs board and Bowen is joining Linkup's board. The issue has international ramifications for the Witnesses, who report about 1 million U.S. followers and 6 million worldwide.

One silentlambs speaker was Anders Kristensson, visiting from Sweden . He said when he told his local elders about his abuse they simply gave hi m c opies of the religion's Watchtower and Awake magazines, said ``trust in Jehovah, everything will be O.K., and that's it.''

Roger Carlson, a former Witnesses elder in Sweden , said that since a national television report last year about abuse amon g Witnesses, 60 new victims have come forward.

``It's the same in every country,'' he said.

------

On the Net:

Silentlambs: http://www.silentlambs.org

Jehovah's Witnesses: http://www.watchtower.org

----------------------------------------------------------

For links to various newspapers and television s tori es see below,

 

Alleged sexual abuse victims gather
Kansas City Star (subscription), MO -   Mar 28, 2004
By RICHARD N. OSTLING The Associated P ress. NASHVILLE , Tenn. P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who say they were sexually ...

 

Thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses Abused, Groups Say
Washington P ost, DC -  Mar 27, 2004
NASHVILLE , March 27 -- P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders gathered in their first national ...

 

Alleged victims of abuse gather
Dallas Morning News (subscription), TX -   Mar 27, 2004
NASHVILLE , Tenn. P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who say they were sexually abused by congregation leaders gathered in ...

 

Jehovah's Witness sex abuse victims hold caucus
Houston Chronicle, TX -   Mar 27, 2004
NASHVILLE , Tenn. -- P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders gathered ...

 

Victims share pain, discuss legal plans
Springfield News Leader, MO -   Mar 27, 2004
By Richard N. Ostling. Nashville P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders ...

 

Group meets on Witnesses' abuse
AZ Central.com, United States -  Mar 27, 2004
NASHVILLE - P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders gathered in their first national caucus Saturday ...

 

Jehovah's Witnesses discussing grievances
Indianapolis Star, IN -   Mar 28, 2004
By Richard N. Ostling. NASHVILLE , Tenn. -- P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation ...

 

Jehovah's Witnesses group alleges sex abuse
Miami Herald, FL -  Mar 28, 2004
P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by leaders in the congregation gather in an effort to publicize their concerns. ...

 

Jehovah's Witnesses gather to share sexual abuse claims
Houston Chronicle, TX -   Mar 27, 2004
By RICHARD N. OSTLING. NASHVILLE , Tenn. -- P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation ...

 

Jehovah's Witnesses discuss abuse
Cleveland P lain Dealer, OH -   Mar 28, 2004
Nashville , Tenn.- P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who say they were abused sexually by congregation leaders gathered in their first national caucus ...

 

Caucus on sexual abuse held
Baltimore Sun, MD -   Mar 28, 2004
NASHVILLE , Tenn. - Current and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders gathered in ...

 

Jehovah's Witnesses speak out on abuse claims
Detroit News, MI -   Mar 27, 2004
By Richard N. Ostling / Associated P ress. NASHVILLE , Tenn. P resent and former Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim they were sexually ...

 

Jehovah's Witnesses hold caucus on abuse
Billings Gazette, MT -   Mar 27, 2004
NASHVILLE , Tenn. - P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders gathered in ...

•  Paradise Holdings, Inc. Information at Business.com icon- ... via ABCNEWS.com - March 27, 2004 1:13 PM) Jehovah's Witnesses Hold Sex Abuse Caucus Jehovah's Witnesses Who Claim to Have Been Sexually Abused Hold Their First ...
http://www.business.com/directory/food_and_beverage/restaurants_and_foodservice/paradise_holdings,_inc/news/

•  The Herald-Mail ONLINE icon- Sunday March 28, 2004. Jehovah's Witnesses who claim sexual abuse hold caucus . by The Associated P ress. NASHVILLE , Tenn. (A P ) - P resent ...
http://www.herald-mail.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=76132&format=html

•  The Herald-Mail ONLINE icon- ... jet reached 5,000 mph · P elosi raps GO P budget plan in Democratic radio address · Jehovah's Witnesses who claim sexual abuse hold caucus · Bush touts home ...
http://www.herald-mail.com/?module=displaysection§ion_id=83&format=html

•  saukvalley.com - Serving Dixon, Sterling, Rock Falls and Northern ... icon- ... him plenty of... Sun, Mar 28, 2004 . Sexually abused Jehovah's Witnesses hold caucus NASHVILLE , Tenn. (A P ) — P resent and former ...
http://ww2.saukvalley.com/news/nationalnews.bsp

•  HeraldTimesOnline.com: Stories from the Nation-World section for ... icon- ... cancer research. AP Photo. Jehovah's Witnesses who claim sexual abuse hold national caucus (2004/03/28) NASHVILLE , TENN. Present and ...
http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2004/03/28/index/nationworld

•  HeraldTimesOnline.com: Stories from the Nation-World section for ... icon- ... and religious freedom. Jehovah's Witnesses who claim sexual abuse hold national caucus (2004/03/28) NASHVILLE , TENN. Present and ...
http://www.hoosiertimes.com/stories/thisday/index/nationworld

•  Tri-Valley Herald Online - Local & Regional News icon- ... - Present and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation ... gathered in their first national caucus Saturday, sharing ...
http://www.trivalleyherald.com/Stories/0,1413,86~10669~2047362,00.html

•  Religion News - Daily News icon- ... Jehovah's Witnesses hold sex abuse caucus Seattle P ost NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- P resent and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by ...
http://archive.wn.com/religionreview/

•  WTOP Radio - 1500AM - 820AM - 107.7FM icon- ... Jehovah's Witnesses Hold Sex Abuse Caucus - 03/27/2004 Present and former Jehovah's Witnesses who claim they were sexually abused by congregation leaders ...
http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=3&page=7

•  amarillo.com | US & World News: Sunday, March 28, 2004 icon- ... to the media. Across the Nation: Jehovah's Witnesses who claim sexual abuse hold first caucus NASHVILLE , Tenn. - Current and former ...
http://www.amarillonet.com/usnews/

•   

Silentlambs Caucus News Articles (March 27th, 2004):

 

Fox News Channel: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,115410,00.html

 

NewsDay.com: http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-jehovahs-witnesses-abuse,0,5070.story?coll=sns-ap-nation-headlines

 

New York NewsDay: http://www.nynewsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-jehovahs-witnesses-abuse,0,3422130.story?coll=sns-ap-nation-headlines

 

The Guardian ( United Kingdom ): http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-3910500,00.html

 

Tuscaloosa News: http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040327/APA/403270810

 

Kansas City Star: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/world/8293198.htm?1c

 

Centre Daily Tim es: http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/news/8293198.htm

 

Fort Wayne News Sentinel: http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/8293198.htm

 

The Miami Herald: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/nation/8293198.htm

 

Wichita Eagle: http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/8293198.htm

 

Worcester Telegram (MA): http://www.telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040327/APA/403270810&cachetime=5

 

The Ledger ( Florida ): http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040327/APA/403270810

 

Penn Live ( Pennsylvania ): http://pennlive.com/newsflash/lateststories/index.ssf?/base/national-20/1080418745183370.xml

 

San Diego Union Tribune: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20040327-1208-jehovahswitnesses-abuse.html

 

San Luis Obispo Tribune ( California ): http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/local/8293198.htm

 

Biloxi Sun Herald (MS): http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/nation/8293198.htm

 

Wilmington Morning Star ( North Carolina ): http://www.wilmingtonstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040327/APA/403270810&cachetime=5

 

Times Daily ( Alabama ): http://www.timesdaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040327/APA/403270810

 

Akron Beacon Journal ( Ohio ): http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/8293198.htm

 

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (IN): http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/8293198.htm

 

Wilkes Barre Weekender ( P ennsylvania ): http://www.timesleader.com/mld/timesleader/news/8293198.htm

 

Duluth News Tribune (MN): http://www.duluthsuperior.com/mld/duluthsuperior/news/8293198.htm

 

Tim es P icayune: http://www.nola.com/newsflash/national/index.ssf?/base/national-20/1080418745183370.xml

 

Fresno Bee ( California ): http://www.fresnobee.com/24hour/nation/story/1243153p-8291184c.html

 

Seattle P ost Intelligencer (Washington): http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apus_story.asp?category=1110&slug=Jehovah's%20Witnesses%20Abuse

 

Fort Worth Star Telegram ( Texas ): http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/nation/8293198.htm

 

San Jose Mercury News ( California ): http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/8293198.htm

 

Bradenton Herald ( Florida ): http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/8293198.htm

 

Grand Forks Herald ( North Dakota ): http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/news/8293198.htm

 

MLive.com (MI): http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/lateststories/index.ssf?/base/national-20/1080418745183370.xml

 

Atlanta Journal Constitution (GA): http://www.ajc.com/news/content/news/ap/ap_story.html/National/AP.V7547.AP-Jehovahs-Witne.html

 

Houston Chronicle ( Texas ): http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/nation/2471261

 


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