Laurie Roth/William H. Bowen Radio Interview Transcript
(this is a partial transcribed transcript in the event of errors it will be corrected)
LR: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, welcome one and all. Tonight we're going to have a very serious, sobering show, a show that's going to make some of you so nauseated you're going hurl chunks. Some of you are going cry yourself to sleep. Some of you are not going believe it. Some of you are going call me the "Great Satan." Many of you, inside a certain group of people, believe that all media, or anyone that is a whistleblower, is the great Satan, against a very closed organization that seems to not care about abuse victims.
Now we touched on this certain organization last week briefly and I promised you that if I could, I would get a certain gentleman, inside this organization for 43 years who has now been disfellowshipped. And I speak of the Watchtower Society, the Jehovah's Witnesses. Now before we get into this, and roll up our shirt sleeves, and start talking about the real stuff, the nitty-gritty of the abuse and the pain, before we get doing that ladies and gentlemen,
I want you to listen to me and I want you to listen to me clear: THIS IS NOT ABOUT BASHING RELIGION. This is not about having a little swordfight over doctrine. This is not about saying "all Baptists are bad, or saying all JW's are bad, or all Nazarenes are bad, or all Baptists are bad; this is about being honest about thousands of abuse cases - worldwide! - that are not getting to the police. This is about victims who have approached elders, who have approached leaders. And instead of reporting to the police, in all instances, what is happening instead is, the victims are being abused even more and disfellowshipped for saying anything at all.
So tonight, please don't call me if you're a JW with your feelings hurt and think that I'm the great Satan, and that I'm attacking your religion. Because I could care less if you believe in tree bark. I don't care if you worship your Chihuahua . It's America , you can do what you want. We have all kinds of different faiths. But when you are in a system that has a blue wall of evil silence towards victims; when YOU are in a system - I don't care what religion you are, I don't care what you... I don't care if you think you're the fourth person of the Trinity. It's blatant black evil - evil - and after what I've read, the last several days, I the host may have to hurl chunks and take a break. And Ron, my producer may have to take over because this is sickening, this is horrifying, to look at abuse after abuse, of power. My guest William H. Bowen, will be joining me shortly. A Jehovah's Witness over 43 years, disfellowshipped for exposing the light of day and defending sex abuse victims. William H. Bowen, he'll be joining me shortly, the numbers 1-800-837-9680. I'm Laurie Roth, the Great Satan and I will be back.
Announcer: You're listening to the Laurie Roth show.
LR: Welcome back folks, and welcome one and all. Actually tonight there will be listeners across America and around the world. I had a call from England , I've had calls from all over America. Abuse survivors, people that have lived nightmare, who have gone in good faith to church elders begging for justice. And what were they told? "Shut up or you'll be disfellowshipped. We'll take it from here." And then in numerous cases, an obscene amount of cases, it never gets to the police. You see, they're part of the Great Satan too, just like I am. Hm Hm, you see I'm part of the media so I know how it is, isn't that convenient, keep everyone isolated, only trust the big bubba who's DOING ALL THE LITTLE CHILDREN!!! 1-800-837-9680. I'm already angry
(call in Willie from Florida )
Willie: Hey, how you doing?
LR: Great, how you doing?
Willie: Fantastic, I'm doing good.
LR: What's on your mind tonight, sir?
Willie: What's on my mind tonight? I'm just very happy to know that the word's getting out, about Jehovah's Witnesses,
LR: What was your experience with them?
Willie: My experience was growing up as a Jehovah's Witness, and I still am one technically even though I haven't gone in a while, I'm pretty much inactive. Growing up most of my life, I have been a part of the organization, I have seen how the elders in the congregation have mishandled situations over and over.
LR: When you say mishandled, specifically what are you talking about?
Willie: Well, as far as sexual abuse, I didn't know about that type of situation until about two years ago, until I first started talking to Bill etc, etc. but prior to that, my mother was involved, and my father was also Witnesses, they were also involved with the physical abuse. My father was abusing my mom.
LR: I'm so sorry.
Willie: And my mom went to the elders, etc, etc, and they had the same rule, that same principle applied, if you don't have anybody else who can substantiate what's going on, which is the two witness rule, then the elders couldn't do anything to my father.
LR: You know, Willie can you answer a question for me? What kind of pedophile, rapist, or Ted Bundy invites the neighborhood to watch while you do a little child? Give me a break!!!
Willie: I know. Exactly.
LR: So, in other words, if there's not two witnesses, any crimes okay I guess?
Willie: Pretty much, that's what they're saying. I mean, they're not investigating the situations the way it should be. And I used to be what the world would consider an assistant minister, I was a ministerial servant, at one time myself, when I was twenty, twenty-one years old. Which means you're like one step next to becoming an elder in the congregation if you move up and become spiritually more mature. I've worked with the elders on certain cases, and certain situations as well, and I've seen how they apply the Scriptures. For the most part they do okay, but in these serious areas of abuse, and dealing with the family environment, they have too much control, they shut people up, they tell you don't sue your brother because it's against Jehovah's name and his religion, it's not right to sue your brothers in court, it's not right to make a bad name for Jehovah, and if you do, you know they're going to kick you out or you're going to have repercussions within the congregation.
LR: Isn't that just sick and twisted Willie when you think about it? You're not going sue your brother; is your brother one who just raped your 12-year-old? Is that your brother? Excuse me?
Willie: No, not even.
LR: Oh my stars and stripes. Willie, I want to thank you for listening in. Are you listening in on cable radio or network, were you able to get it on the internet?
Willie: I wasn't able to get it on the internet, I got the news station, they're talking about the US News tonight, I was kind of upset about that.
L: Well, thank you so much for calling in. 1-800-837-9680 - what's your story tonight? Pro or con? I do not want to hear people call in and defend doctrine because it's really not what were attacking, were attacking hypocrisy, were attacking why there's little children and young people and older people and young women, and all kinds of people, not getting justice in the church. Why? Why are elders hiding behind weird twisted versions of the Scriptures? What about the slaughter of the innocents? What about a pure and unadulterated religion defending the widows and the orphans? YOU WANT TO PLAY SCRIPTURE GAMES YOU JUST CALL ME!!!
Heidi Meyer. Welcome, and I understand you have quite a story to tell. Welcome to the show.
Heidi: Thank you.
LR: What's on your mind tonight? What happened to you, my dear?
Heidi: I was molested by a congregation member between the ages of approximately 10 and 12, all throughout my 12th year. After I was molested, I found out that many other young girls in my congregation had also been molested by the same person.
LR: Oh, my word.
Heidi: And when I was about 14 I became very close to one of these girls and I found out that she had also been molested by him, and I found out that when she had gone and talked to the elders of our congregation, and that they had told her that there was really nothing that could be done about it since that they hadn't heard any other claims against him, and she didn't have any eyewitnesses.
LR: The same old diatribe, - Oh according to Deuteronomy and Matthew, if there's not two or more witnesses - I guess you're in trouble, Heidi, I guess no one believes you?
Heidi: Oh well then I thought that I would tell them what happened to me, and then they said the exact same thing; without eyewitnesses, you need to be careful what you say as you could be disfellowshipped for gossip or slander. If you don't have any witnesses to corroborate your claim. Really what you're saying could be viewed as gossip or slander. So, the threat was there; keep your mouth shut or you will be disfellowshipped.
LR: So, they wanted you to trust them completely that they would take care of it, and you were to just shut up?
LR: Did you say anything about going to the police?
Heidi: They let us know that this should not be talked about with anyone.
LR: Okay, then what happened from there? You must have been stunned.
Heidi: Oh I was, I was fifteen when I talked to them, and I couldn't believe it. You know, I talked to my parents, I was very upset, I couldn't make it right in my head,
LR: I'm so sorry.
Heidi: It didn't make sense Scripturally, even rationally. It didn't make sense.
LR: Yes, why the victim is continuing to be victimized, and they're protecting the pedophile.
Heidi: Well, that's three grown men who, in my experience, had proclaimed themselves to be men of Christ, Christians who dedicated their life to serving God, who wanted to uphold biblical principles, allowed this to continue to go on. And I knew at that point that that's exactly what they were doing, that they were making excuses, that they were turning and looking the other way, they weren't paying any attention. They were basically enabling him to molest all these little girls.
LR: And so did you tell your parents?
Heidi: Yes, I told my parents.
LR: Were they also a part of the church?
LR: And what did they tell you?
Heidi: My dad told me to leave it in Jehovah's hands.
LR: Oh great, okay.
Heidi: And my mom was really outraged, but really didn't know what she could do about it. But because the threat of being disfellowshipped is an extremely powerful one, to every Jehovah's Witness; all you're surrounded with are Jehovah's Witnesses. You don't have people who are your friends who are outside of the congregation, because that association is considered bad association.
LR: So, you're completely isolated when you've threatened to call the cops, threatened with disfellowshipped. Which means what for those of us who aren't JWs? What does that mean?
Heidi: Similar to being excommunicated.
LR: What does it mean, does it mean you're going to Hell? Does it mean you can't talk to people, or what?
Heidi: Well, witnesses don't believe in Hell, but they do believe that humans will be resurrected after death, after Armageddon, to a paradise earth, which you would not be entitled to if you were disfellowshipped, in a more immediate sense, everybody you know and love, your friends, your entire support system, your life as you know it, would be ripped away from you, simply with the word "disfellowshipped" being labeled on you.
LR: My goodness.
Heidi: It's immediate, and it's severe, and it's effective.
LR: So you lived with a serious threat, so your whole family had to deal with that threat, with trying to figure out what to do. So what happened?
Heidi: Well, nothing happened. It happened when I was 15. When I was 16, I moved out, I moved away, and obviously had problems making this right with the organization, with the people who were leading the organization, and didn't realize the extent of the problem until I saw the "Dateline" show that aired last May. And then I talked to this friend, who had also been abused, and said, "We need to talk to an attorney" and see if there's anything we can do to help get the message out there and that it's not just going on in selected areas, that's it's something that's clearly widespread not just over the country but the whole world.
LR: So where has it gone from here. Were you disfellowshipped, did the fact that you wanted to sue or something, did they say "you're out of here" or what?
Heidi: No, I was inactive, so I don't think unless policy has changed, I don't think they can disfellowship me. But I don't think there's ever been publicized acts to what they would consider "apostiscism."
LR: So what ever happened to the guy that abused you?
Heidi: Oh, he's still there, he's still an active member.
LR: He's still an active member, probably still raping little children as we speak.
LR: And hiding behind Scriptures as usual, and acting like the fourth person of the trinity, when they're a bunch of dad-gummed Satans?
LR: Unbelievable. And what has happened to your life, Heidi? Have you picked up the pieces and gone on, or what?
Heidi: I'm doing great, I'm a survivor. But it's not without evidence of the trauma that's happened. My family doesn't speak to me.
LR: Oh, I'm so sorry.
Heidi: Well, it's too bad, but you know? - priorities are priorities and clearly -
LR: Do you believe you're going to Hell?
Heidi: No. And if I'm going to Hell for feeling like somebody taking advantage of me when I was a helpless child, then maybe that's where I belong, because that just makes sense to me. It's wrong to abuse a child and if that means I end up in Hell, then that means I end up in Hell.
LR: Well, then Heidi, if that's the way that works, then you and I can share suntan lotion in Hell. All righty, Heidi, you're my hero, thank you so much for your courage and for telling your story. I'm so sorry to hear about your suffering and the fact that justice wasn't done but you know what goes around comes around.
Heidi: I believe that.
LR: All right sweetie. William Bagnios on the line and I want to take him. I want to thank you so much for listening in. Those of you who are listening on the cable radio network or who are on the internet I want to welcome you all. This is a very serious topic. We are NOT AFTER a denomination. Just like the people who were whistleblowers were not after the Catholic Church. But we are after those that would protect rapists and pedophiles; those that would deny justice to little children and to young people, the Heidis of the world. I mean fancy a world, could you imagine these people coming door to door, the elders still in the church, and he's coming to want to talk to you and your little kids, and he's still there? Oh, he got away with all kinds of rape, why? because there weren't two witnesses. WHAT PEDOPHILE HAS TWO WITNESSES WHEN HE DOES A 13 YEAR OLD?
William, welcome so much to the show. You're my version of John Wayne as a whistleblower, and I thank you for your courage. Just so you know, William was a Jehovah's Witness and a leader in the church for 43 years and he's considered Satan like I am now. And after serving as an elder for many, many years, and performing many managerial and administrative positions he resigned while serving as presiding overseer in protest of policy that hides child molesters from everyone. He now has a website that hosts all kinds of letters from all kinds of officials, it's not hearsay, he posts actual documents, affidavits, things that you can read, go to his website and read and learn before you judge. Silentlambs.org. Silentlambs.org. And then you'll hurl chunks. And you'll know why I don't feel very happy right now.
William, can you hear me?
Bill: Yes. I'm here.
LR: Welcome to the show, I'm sure. You're holding so patiently, I'm sure you heard Heidi on there.
Bill: Yes, I know Heidi and she's a very brave and courageous young lady.
LR: It just kills me, that guy, is still in the church that apparently raped her, she said nothing happened to him.
Bill: That's right, and due to organizational policy he remained anonymous within the church and it appears, according to depositions, he molested multiple young women or little girls. And he can still remain in the church, a Jehovah's Witness in good standing and he is protected and has an anonymity within the church.
LR: All because two witness weren't in place?
Bill: Well, it's funny, prior to--
LR: William, hang on just a second, well have a long segment right after these messages, I'm so sorry. My guest, William Bowen, a whistleblower of the JWs. Tell your friends to tune in, I'll be right back.
Announcer: This is the Roth Show.
LR: My guest is William Bowen, a former Jehovah's Witness for 43 years. He's been disfellowshipped. He has seen a lot, and now he's trying to make a difference because no one else seems to want to with the Jehovah's Witnesses from what I'm seeing, from what I'm reading from their own letterhead and their own documents. How did this all start, William? I mean, how did it start? Where do we go from here, where did it come from?
Bill: Well, I was a second-generation Jehovah's Witness, and very active, as you mentioned earlier, in the religion, and I discovered an issue involving child abuse in the local congregation where I served as presiding overseer. And in the process I worked for almost a year within the congregation arrangement to try to identify this man, not only for the congregation but to have him reported to the police. And a series of phone calls were made to the home office as well investigations conducted as to the extent of the molestation. Also, allegations were brought forward that he was molesting a child even as we spoke. And when I called the home office, they told me to leave it in God's hands and to not do anything about it. It was at that point that I chose to resign as an elder and to go ahead and report the matter to the police. I then posted my letter of resignation on an obscure website/forum on the internet. I was contacted by hundreds of victims that stated similar things had happened to them. This resulted in starting the silentlambs website in March of 2001 to give the victims a voice. I later was able to help some of these survivors that contacted me including a young woman, Erica. When she came forward with her abuse allegations the entire congregation went against her and tried to intimidate her into silence much as in the situation of Heidi that you talked to earlier this evening.
LR: Now who did she accuse of raping her? Who did she accuse of raping her, another Jehovah's Witness?
Bill: Yes, this man had served as a ministerial servant, and as an elder in the congregation, there are indications, or allegations, that he had molested other girls also within the church. And he ultimately was convicted in the latter part of the nineties and sent up to prison for 11 years. When he was in the process of this trial, at one point he stood up on the steps of the courthouse, while thirty or forty members were sitting around on the steps where he read to them from the Bible about the trials of Jesus. In essence symbolically applying it to himself. So he had the total support of the congregation while they treated little Erica like she was a criminal herself. His conviction was overturned on a technicality.
LR: I.d. liked to have had him experience the trials of Laurie Roth here, okay? William, I'll be right back, thank you for your patience, callers; just hang tough and well get to you Richard and David and the rest. So well try to sprinkle in some callers throughout the show but I want to have a little time with William first. 1-800-837-9680. Were talking about abuse, why do we not care? I'll be right back.
LR: Welcome, ladies and gentleman, if you've just joined me, I'm talking with whistleblower William Bowen who has a website, Silentlambs.org and were talking about the - what is so sickening to me is how widespread the abuse. I mean, he has a thousand cases of abuse, that really have not been taken care of, in the Jehovah's witnesses church. He knows of six thousand. I mean this is just monumentally unbelievable, William, so you have, these people have talked with you directly, I mean you're aware of at least six thousand of these cases?
LR: Tell me, we were talking a little bit before the show, and I was reviewing some of the documents and some of the letters and responses from the church. Tell me their official policy when it comes to reporting sexual abuse as posted on their website and in a 2002 letter. That just killed me. Go ahead.
Bill: Basically, there's a letter that was written to all bodies of elders on February the 15 th of the year 2002. And that letter basically says, that if a person chooses not to report that they face no sanctions within the church. Now, that really endorses the committing of a crime. And this is the instructions that are given to elders. Now, the way they worded it, they say that if you chose to report, or choose not to report, you face no sanctions from the church. And that really puts the parents in a position where if they choose not to report abuse, then they are basically protected by the church. And so that does not protect the child.
LR: Well, Isn't it breaking the law in the states that require reporting? I mean, how many laws require reporting, and they play that little game too, some don't and some do.
Bill: Actually, according to our research, what came from Dateline, 16 states require the reporting of child abuse by clergy. So Jehovah's Witnesses exploit the loophole, in 34 other states where they are not required by ecclesiastical privilege to report. And thus they do not report it. Now the point I've tried to make with this is: Why does God say in 16 states that it is required to report a crime, but God says in 34 other states not to report? Who are they to say that God says that its okay not to report it. When I wrote my letter of resignation, I stated three times that it's ethically and morally wrong to not protect children. To not report the crime of child rape is ethically and morally wrong and surely God would not approve or condone behavior such as that.
LR: Unbelievable. No doubt about it. In a second I'm going to sneak in another caller and they may want to visit a little bit. Tell me briefly about the story - was it in Sweden - There was a documentary over there and one brave soul came forward and was talking about his abuse and he got totally leveled. What happened to him?
Bill: That was a young man by the name of Anders who is 24 years of age, he is an active Jehovah's Witness, and he came forward on the program that aired in April of this year. And he told about his abuse. And the church proceeded to go on a - I don't know any other way to put it - a complete blackball campaign against him. Not only did they send a letter out to all congregations, but they took out quarter-page adds in the primary newspapers across Sweden in which they, in essence, said that he was nothing more than a big liar. And they went on to state they were distancing themselves of course from the program and that they were considering suing Swedish television.
LR: And where did they get their information from, that he was such a big liar? Did they come to him and ask for any kind of a witness?
Bill: They never spoke to him. As a matter of fact, his own mother, who is an active Jehovah's Witness wrote, or called, the home office, there in Sweden and asked them where they got their information. And they wrote her a letter - which is posted on my website by the way - in which they stated to her, where they gathered this information from was his molester.
Bill: So they used the word of a child molester to call a victim a liar. Three weeks ago, Anders was excommunicated when two elders informed him at his place of work. He wasn't even given a hearing and denied the right of appeal.
LR: So he was disfellowshipped, and now he's going to Hell and join Heidi and I, and we'll have to share the suntan lotion I guess. You might join us too; do you tan very well William? I mean, since were all going to Hell, apparently, do you tan ?
Bill: - the real atrocity is how the governing body has chosen to handle this and what has happened to victims. These people were actually excommunicated in the year 2002 that spoke out on documentaries about child abuse. Their crime against God was simply that they said there was a problem with abuse. One of them an elder, simply wrote a letter and resigned, he was disfellowshipped two weeks later.
LR: Unbelievable, he can enjoy his - I guess we'll all go to Hell. Richard and David , I'll be right back and include you in the conversation 1-800-837-9860. We're talking about, I guess, injustices in monumental proportions. I'll be back.
LR: ... cable area network and on internet around the world and all my affiliates. Were talking about child molesters and why certain governing bodies within the Jehovah's Witnesses are hiding things or certainly their idea of reporting seems very bizarre to me. And my guest is William Bowen. And well be sprinkling in some of your calls here as well, but I wanted to give him a chance to tell his story a little bit. David , from Virginia , welcome to the show. What's on your mind tonight?
David : Hi Mr. Bowen, this is David from Virginia . I'd like to know about that secret database the Jehovah's Witnesses have, the 23,720 child molesters in New York City. And I was wondering why we can go to Waco and raid Waco, and we can't go to the Governing Body and raid their place up there and go and put all these child molesters in jail.
LR: Okay, William, can you hear him?
Bill: Yes, I can hear him.
LR: Okay, well how do you respond to that?
Bill: The database, which I was contacted about by three different individuals, that's a figure that I feel has increased since that actually came about, in March 2002. 23,720 are reports that elders make in which they give detailed information about people that have molested children or as they term it, alleged child molesters. This database I feel firmly in my opinion at least 80 percent of these people in conservative figures have never seen the light of a police investigation. These men remain anonymous within the religion and this is more or less a worldwide figure. When you consider there's only six million Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide, when you have a figure of 23,000; when you consider there's only 90,000 congregations, that means that there's, on their records, one molester for every four congregations that they have. These are ones that have been confirmed and reported to the church. These are not counting ones that have denied that they are child molesters. And when you consider the ramifications of that; that's one reason I coined the expression "pedophile paradise." If I was a pedophile, I would immediately become a Jehovah's Witness. Because you have all the protocols in your favor, you'd be able to molest children and get away with it and not be identified.
LR: Unbelievable. Tell us once again the protocols, their official letter from their official corporate head and what they say A, B, C, and what protocols. Why is it in favor of the pedophiles?
Bill: If you go to the Jehovah's witness website, and look for their policy on child molestation, they identify three problems that must be addressed before they begin an investigation. Number one, if a child is molested, they require lay ministers, who have no training to investigate the crime of child rape, that's the first mistake. The second thing they do, child molesters within their organization, are required to go door-to-door anonymously and call on the public. And the public are not informed of these men, who are calling at their homes, and they do not let these people know that these people are identified as child molesters. These are people that are confessed child molesters, not to mention the ones that are accused. The third area is, any child molester that is in the Jehovah's Witness religion, can re-qualify as an elder within twenty years after being accused of child molestation. A child molester should NEVER be allowed to have a position of responsibility in any church if they've ever hurt a child. So this is all we ask. And this is what we've asked since day one. A: Report it to the police. B: Identify child molesters and don't allow them to call on the unsuspecting public. And 3: Don't put them in positions of responsibility in the church.
LR: And have you gone to the high-ups William and tried to plead with them on these three rational points?
Bill: we've stated this since day one. This was stated in my letter that I wrote to them. And it's been repeatedly asked. And numerous others have written letters, begged them to change this. They flatly refuse.
LR: Unbelievable, William. William, we need to take a hard news break. David, thank you for the call sir. 1-800-837-9860 if you have a question or comment, or agree or disagree, please give us a call Well be right back after the news. Richard, I'll catch you on the next side. I'm Laurie Roth.
Announcer: Ladies and Gentleman, the Annie Oakley of the airwaves. she's out of control. It's the Roth Show. Now your host, Laurie Roth.
LR: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the second hour of the show. If you've just joined me, I'm visiting with William Bowen, whistleblower and a former Jehovah's Witness member for over 43 years. Who found out that the governing body, the elders, and the church were kind of hiding a whole bunch of dirty little secrets; like not reporting things to the police. Because I guess they're part of the great Satan network, like all the media, including me and now him. And anybody that seems to defend the victims is evil. If we do something to try to help or stand by the victims, instead of the perpetrators, were called Satan or were going after Jesus Christ or attacking their religion. Well, who cares, I could care less, everyone, it's a free America, believe what you want, but when you're hiding pedophiles and rapists, when they get to go on going door-to-door, when they get to be elders just because they say, "there's not two or more witnesses," you can KISS MY GRITS. YOU CAN KISS MY GRITS. 1-800-837-9860.
David , you didn't have much time to ask a follow-up question because we had a hard news break, go ahead, and if you'd like to continue the thoughts, go ahead.
David : I would just like to know how they get their money. Could you sue these people, and do this money transaction thing to help out? And how they get this money going door to door, and what is it used for, and stuff like that?
Bill: You'd like for me to comment on that?
Bill: Jehovah's Witnesses have a fund and it's called the Worldwide Work. When you make a contribution in the door-to-door work, it's sent to the Worldwide Work Fund. We're in the process, we have at least seven different victims file lawsuits against the Watchtower Society - of course, the Jehovah's Witness home office is called "Watchtower" - they immediately go into the local community where these victims are located and they hire the top-shelf law firms who try to paper these lawsuits out of courts, with frivolous motions - to the tune of hundreds - that are filed against these victims. So, you could literally say that millions of dollars of World Wide Work money is being spent on behalf of child molesters - in effect, becaus