$35 Million Child Abuse Lawsuit Against JWs Overturned

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Twilightprincess
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22 Jan 2020, 8:33 pm

https://www.npr.org/2020/01/09/79501934 ... -witnesses


Quote:
In the court's opinion on Wednesday, Justice Beth Baker wrote that the church was not a mandatory reporter of abuse because of the exception in the state law. The law states that "a member of the clergy or a priest is not required to make a report under this section if the communication is required to be confidential by canon law, church doctrine, or established church practice."

The opinion finds that Jehovah's Witnesses maintain confidentiality as part of their religious canon or practice unless they are required by state law to report child abuse to authorities. Nunez's lawyers have argued that "because the decision to report child abuse to local authorities ultimately lies within the discretion of each elder, confidentiality is optional, not required," the opinion states.


Shame on you Montana! Clergy should have to report known abuse. Religion should not be given a free pass.

I believe that all citizens should be required to report. It's just what a decent human being would do.



Twilightprincess
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23 Jan 2020, 11:39 am

Also from the article:

Quote:
Jehovah's Witnesses have come under scrutiny in other states and countries for the handling of child sexual abuse claims. For example, a 2016 inquiry by a royal commission in Australia found that the Jehovah's Witnesses organization there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members — but the investigators found no evidence that it revealed any of the reports to authorities.



Bravo5150
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23 Jan 2020, 11:50 am

Twilightprincess wrote:
Also from the article:

Quote:
Jehovah's Witnesses have come under scrutiny in other states and countries for the handling of child sexual abuse claims. For example, a 2016 inquiry by a royal commission in Australia found that the Jehovah's Witnesses organization there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members — but the investigators found no evidence that it revealed any of the reports to authorities.


Maybe they believe saying fifty Hail Mary's is harsher punishment than time in the joint?



Twilightprincess
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23 Jan 2020, 12:06 pm

Bravo5150 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Also from the article:

Quote:
Jehovah's Witnesses have come under scrutiny in other states and countries for the handling of child sexual abuse claims. For example, a 2016 inquiry by a royal commission in Australia found that the Jehovah's Witnesses organization there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members — but the investigators found no evidence that it revealed any of the reports to authorities.


Maybe they believe saying fifty Hail Mary's is harsher punishment than time in the joint?


They want to keep this stuff under wraps because they don't want to turn people away from "the Truth." It sort of backfires when it becomes known that they were intentionally hiding stuff.

They also treat child sexual abuse more like a sin than a crime. They think that they can fix the pedophile with some religion, but in practice, it just makes more victims.



Bravo5150
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23 Jan 2020, 12:18 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
Bravo5150 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Also from the article:

Quote:
Jehovah's Witnesses have come under scrutiny in other states and countries for the handling of child sexual abuse claims. For example, a 2016 inquiry by a royal commission in Australia found that the Jehovah's Witnesses organization there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members — but the investigators found no evidence that it revealed any of the reports to authorities.


Maybe they believe saying fifty Hail Mary's is harsher punishment than time in the joint?


They want to keep this stuff under wraps because they don't want to turn people away from "the Truth." It sort of backfires when it becomes known that they were intentionally hiding stuff.

They also treat child sexual abuse more like a sin than a crime. They think that they can fix the pedophile with some religion, but in practice, it just makes more victims.


I was sarcastically acknowledging the point you made about sin versus crime.



Twilightprincess
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23 Jan 2020, 12:24 pm

Bravo5150 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Bravo5150 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Also from the article:

Quote:
Jehovah's Witnesses have come under scrutiny in other states and countries for the handling of child sexual abuse claims. For example, a 2016 inquiry by a royal commission in Australia found that the Jehovah's Witnesses organization there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members — but the investigators found no evidence that it revealed any of the reports to authorities.


Maybe they believe saying fifty Hail Mary's is harsher punishment than time in the joint?


They want to keep this stuff under wraps because they don't want to turn people away from "the Truth." It sort of backfires when it becomes known that they were intentionally hiding stuff.

They also treat child sexual abuse more like a sin than a crime. They think that they can fix the pedophile with some religion, but in practice, it just makes more victims.


I was sarcastically acknowledging the point you made about sin versus crime.


I knew what you meant. I was just clarifying.



BenderRodriguez
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23 Jan 2020, 12:25 pm

How does this work, Twilightprincess, I'm only somewhat familiar with JW and not so much with American law?

So I understand that members of the church and priests etc are not required by law to report, so they obviously don't do it. Are the children going to school? What happens if somebody else reports it? Does the part about "the investigators found no evidence" mean that sometimes reports are made, an investigation starts but nobody's talking so they can't do anything? Were in such cases the children examined by a doctor and psychologist?

Sorry for all the questions, trying to understand how they can get away with it.


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Twilightprincess
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23 Jan 2020, 12:38 pm

BenderRodriguez wrote:
How does this work, Twilightprincess, I'm only somewhat familiar with JW and not so much with American law?

So I understand that members of the church and priests etc are not required by law to report, so they obviously don't do it. Are the children going to school? What happens if somebody else reports it? Does the part about "the investigators found no evidence" mean that sometimes reports are made, an investigation starts but nobody's talking so they can't do anything? Were in such cases the children examined by a doctor and psychologist?

Sorry for all the questions, trying to understand how they can get away with it.


Laws vary by state. Usually, clergy are mandated reporters and are legally required to report. Montana has a loophole which enabled them to get out of it. It's in the quote in my original post. I still can't fully believe it. It's barbaric.

JWs are pretty insular, so there's a good chance that the child wouldn't have told anybody else and may have been discouraged from doing so because they would emphasize the fact that it would be a "bad reflection on Jehovah's organization." They worry about that a lot because they believe that theirs is the sole path to salvation.

She probably went to school but didn't tell anyone and didn't see a psychologist. Sometimes they think that faith and Bible reading will heal trauma.



Last edited by Twilightprincess on 23 Jan 2020, 1:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

BenderRodriguez
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23 Jan 2020, 12:41 pm

Children often don't tell. I was wondering if they come in contact with people outside the church, like teachers, who might be trained to recognise when something is off?

Do you know of any investigation actually taking place around your parts?


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Twilightprincess
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23 Jan 2020, 12:54 pm

BenderRodriguez wrote:
Children often don't tell. I was wondering if they come in contact with people outside the church, like teachers, who might be trained to recognise when something is off?

Do you know of any investigation actually taking place around your parts?


I do know of some drama that's playing out right now. I typed up the story but just deleted it because I don't think I'm supposed to be talking about it. It could potentially be a big deal and specific individuals involved are fighting for change.

I know of multiple crimes that were never reported from many years ago, but I wasn't knowledgeable enough about the situations to report them now. It was mostly 3rd or 4th hand information. Most of the situations I knew of were from when I was a kid. At least some of the perpetrators are no longer alive. I just learned of a new one recently involving an acquaintance of mine. The elders insisted on handling it internally.

Not child abuse, but I know of one man who raped his wife (I used to work with her). It was well-known. He is now an elder.



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23 Jan 2020, 12:57 pm

Thank you for the information and fingers crossed for future change!


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Twilightprincess
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23 Jan 2020, 1:12 pm

BenderRodriguez wrote:
Thank you for the information and fingers crossed for future change!


Yeah, something that troubles me is that I, personally, know of several cases (and some of the people involved) which actually happened. There are other situations in which, looking back years later, I wonder if there was something going on... These things are often kept secret as much as possible, even from other parents.

That elder who always hugged young women and girls even though it was fairly obvious that I didn't want to be hugged... He's no longer an elder. Why?

A known gossip who you couldn't fully believe because she'd exaggerate said something about another elder, involving his own daughters. Could it actually have been true or am I seeing signs where there aren't any? He was disciplined for inappropriate behavior towards women, but I think they were adult women.

The teenaged girl who accused her father and then took it back. She and her siblings have lots of problems. At a sleepover, their house was filthy, and I sensed some weirdness between a father and daughter...

At headquarters, JWs keep a database with all of the alleged cases and named perpetrators that have been reported to the elders (but probably not the authorities) over the years. They never comply with the justice system when it is asked for during a legal trial. I always wonder if I would know anyone on that list.

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/arch ... rs/584311/



Last edited by Twilightprincess on 23 Jan 2020, 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Twilightprincess
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23 Jan 2020, 1:49 pm

BenderRodriguez wrote:
Children often don't tell. I was wondering if they come in contact with people outside the church, like teachers, who might be trained to recognise when something is off?

Do you know of any investigation actually taking place around your parts?


I forgot to answer your first question!

Teachers are trained to look for red flags. I received some training on this as a substitute teacher. Sexual abuse is a particularly difficult thing to watch out for. Some kids are really good at masking that there's a problem.

Some things to watch out for: peeing their pants, withdrawn behavior, changes in behavior, pain upon sitting, being dirty (could be because they're afraid to shower), excessive hand washing (because they feel dirty), changes in eating patterns, and signs of other types of abuse.

Older kids can be really good at masking that there's a problem. Teenaged angst makes normal kids act weird, too, but I think that checking in and monitoring changes in behavior is always smart.

It can be really hard to sense that there's a problem, especially if the teacher has a big class and the student is good at masking and has been directly told not to tell. I think that's why it's so important for the adults that do know or suspect something to report it. Kids fall through the cracks all the time.



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23 Jan 2020, 2:06 pm

In the Netherlands:

https://nltimes.nl/2017/07/21/jehovahs- ... les-report

Quote:
The Jehovah's Witnesses in the Netherlands follow the international guidelines of the organization. Their own legal system is above that of international authorities. In the organization, male elders are the judges. According to Trouw, for a conviction in the society, at least two witnesses are needed. This creates a problem as in many child sexual abuse cases, the only witnesses are the victim and the perpetrator. And perpetrators don't tend to testify against themselves.

Perpetrators are also not forced to leave the community, unless he or she shows no regret. Other members are not told about the abuse, because talking about such a case without a conviction is seen as slander.

Turning to the police almost never happens, despite the guidelines for elders stating that a victim can never be kept from going to the police, according to the newspaper. That guideline is followed by a reference to the bible verse Galatians 6:5, which states: "For every man has to bear his own burden". In practice, victims and those involved are advised and sometimes forbidden to go to the police, several victims and ex-members said to the newspaper.