Child molestation within the ranks of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a serious, disturbing problem; see the Pedophilia category for more information. Jehovah’s Witnesses enforce a staunch “two witness” rule to these matters, demanding that a victim produce a witness to their attack or incident, or that a second allegation be made of the same type of incident by the same person, before an accusation is acted upon by elders.
To really understand the obscenity of how these matters are handled, I would invite you to read an article from the Daily Mail in the UK, regarding a JW elder named Jonathan Rose, at this site. To summarize the story, Rose, a then-elder in the Moston congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, was convicted of molesting two girls, age 5 and 10 at the time, and spent eight months in jail. Even after his conviction, he was never removed or excommunicated from the congregation. After his release from prison, elders demanded that the two victims in question, both in their early 20s by then, appear before them and meet with Rose if they wanted him expelled from the congregation, as the elders did not deem their testimony in court to be sufficient evidence to warrant Rose’s removal.
Two Witnesses Were Produced
The first issue to be noted about this is that the necessary two witnesses were produced, as there were two victims (and another who made allegations against him but did not have sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal case), both of whom testified under oath in a court of law. What details were needed from the elders in addition to this, to warrant the removal of Rose from the congregation? How could they sit there in the courtroom and hear the testimony from these victims, and know that Rose was allowed to speak in his own defense during the trial, and still think that they needed more information or details in order to excommunicate him?
Allowing the Perpetrator to Question the Victims
This meeting that was demanded put the victims in the position of allowing their abuser to question them, endlessly and without interruption. According to the news story, the elders never stopped Rose from outright bullying the young women with his words; in a court of law, lawyers are not allowed to harass, intimidate, or badger witnesses, and with good reason. However, this was not done in this meeting with elders, as Rose was reportedly “given the floor” and allowed to conduct himself, ask questions, and make accusations freely.
Asking If They Enjoyed It
Perhaps the most disturbing information contained in this report is that the elders asked the women if they did anything to encourage their molestation, and asked if they enjoyed it. Mind you, the women were five and ten years old at the times of their molestation.
Let me repeat that. They were five and ten years old. Yet, despite how young they were when they were molested, grownup adult men are asking them if they enjoyed being sexually abused by an adult. They were also posing the question in such a way so as to somehow disprove the accusation of child rape, reasoning in their own minds that if the children somehow enjoyed it, then it wasn’t a horrific, brutal crime that would leave them with mental and emotional scars for life. If the children enjoyed it, according to their thinking, then Rose wasn’t as culpable, and the children themselves would share some blame. I don’t think I need to explain why such questions and such thinking are disgusting and downright evil.
Shepherd The Flock of God … With Some Exceptions
The obscenity of how this matter was handled is bad enough on its own, but consider it in context of a religious setting. The elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses are told that they are spiritual shepherds to the congregation and that it’s their job to build up and encourage those within their ranks; their super-secret handbook of instructions is even called “Shepherd the Flock of God,” a phrase taken directly from the scriptures.
However, what shepherding did these women receive? They needed to approach a “worldly” or non-JW law enforcement agency and go through the court systems to get a small measure of justice; even then, no concern was shown for the horrific nature of these acts committed against them by those supposed “shepherds.” Are these women not also members of that same “flock”? Rather than worrying about the horrific nature of being raped when still a child, the elders instead grilled them mercilessly, implying that they may have been complicit in this act. They, in effect, raped them again, mentally and emotionally, and certainly spiritually. Their only concern was one of their own, a fellow elder, and not his innocent victims.
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