Do JW's condone child abuse? You be the judge!
First of I am not an apostate, I am merely expressing my concerns over something that happens in the Organization. To me an apostate is someone who talks against Jehovah and I am not doing this in this letter. I am expressing my concerns over people within the organization, who take matters in their own hands.
I have been an elder for eighteen years and a presiding overseer for two years. About a year ago we had to deal with elder A, who had been molesting a child for about five years. The young sister had not been to meetings for a long time and had left the organization due to discouragement (wonder why). Elder A, was always the one to make shepherding calls on the family, perhaps to ensure that the young sister wouldn't talk, and put pressure on her.
One evening the father of the young sister had been told that elder A, was stalking her and calling her on her cell phone daily, sometimes twice a day. She was so downhearted and discouraged by the continued abuse that she decided to tell her dad, about the whole ordeal. Dad and Elder A were close friends and went on many vacations together. At times Elder A would molest the young sister on these vacations. When she turned eighteen she wanted the stalking and abuse to stop. Dad called elder A and confronted him with the allegations. Elder A, admitted to the charges and told his wife. The wife and father following organization guidelines encouraged Elder A to tell the elders of the congregation. She decided that she was willing to stay married because she had an affair with the father of the little sister, and felt that they were now even. This was never investigated to my knowledge and was hushed, since both parties weren't willing to talk about it. It would mean losing a friendship between the two families and this seemed of greater concern to them.
So we, the committee, dealt with the situation regarding Elder A regarding abuse and appropriately disfellowshipped him. As is encouraged by the Society, any time there is a case of abuse the organization needs to be informed and appraised of the situation. Since I was the chairman, I did just that, and was connected to the Legal Desk. There I talked to the Society's Lawyer and was informed that in our State there was no obligation for the elders to make a report to the authorities. However if the parents wanted to they have a right to make legal charges. However it was also not our responsibility to inform the parents of those rights as we were to remain absolutely neutral. I was floored and took it upon myself to tell the parents anyway. I think I made the right decision in doing that.
Meanwhile the family of the child moves to another congregation, due to the fact that they don't want to be in the same congregation as the abuser and his family. But as you can imagine they are very upset by what has happened. Trying to be good Christians, they didn't file criminal charges against former elder A. A scripture about not taking your brother to court was applied by local elders to discourage this from happening.
Due to stress I ask to be removed from the committee that is monitoring former elder A, of the other two elders that remained on the original committee, one ends up in the hospital, due to heart trouble. And the other moves away, for health reasons.
So now a 'new' committee is selected and the new committee is a set of young inexperienced elders, that are also close friends of df'd brother A. This 'new' committee decides to review the case regarding brother A, and feels it hasn't been handled correctly and take matters in their own hands. One day at an elders school, the new elders approach me and asked if I really felt that brother A should be labeled as a child molester. My reply was brief and to the point, that I have no business discussing this case with them, as confidentiality is at play. But the fact remains that brother A, confessed to the allegations. We contacted the Society and proceeded with disfellowshipping, as was appropriate.
Just six months later brother A is reinstated by the new committee of friends. The reason given was that we need to show mercy and the allegations are not as strong as were indicated. Talk about a case of "Simony". They were all close friends and buddies of brother A, and didn't want to lose him since they all went on expensive vacations, and all owned boats.
The family of the young sister was devastated. How can anyone receive a discipline like this? Why only six months. So I called the parents of the family to explain that I was just as floored as they were. But I was no longer on the case. Once again I informed them of their legal rights. At this point to protect the congregation they felt they had no choice, but to proceed with criminal charges. They felt betrayed and were angered at the way this confessed child molester was treated. Yet the complications were with the fact that the young sister was now of legal age and she had to file the charges. She was able to do so with the support and aid of her parents. Now brother A is in jail but serving a very short sentence.
I am extremely upset about the whole ordeal my health has declined beyond belief. I feel that my faith is crushed. There is so much hypocrisy that goes on in the organization with little being done to deal with those that abuse children. A brother or sister can get disfellowshipped for smoking, yet child molesters reign freely in the organizational policy created refuge.
Due to all the pressures, health and depression, in thinking and dealing with this situation, I became very lonely, since I had no one to confide in, or talk about the things that were of congregational concern. We were instructed by the Circuit Overseer to not talk about this case amongst ourselves as elders. For these reasons I wish to tell this story and let the public know that the abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses continues to put children in danger and protect child molesters.