Children

Jehovah’s Witness Elders Ask Child Rape Victim How Far Apart Her Legs Were During Her Attack

Just when I think I’ve heard it all when it comes to how Jehovah’s Witnesses have been handling accusations of child rape in their organization, another story comes out that turns my stomach and causes the rage to bubble over. This latest story is from the Barry congregation in the U.K., where elder Mark Sewell was convicted of a string of sexual crimes including rape (this site). In court, it was revealed that Sewell consistently used his position as an elder to force young women into lurid behavior, including giving them topless massages, rubbing his groin against them, and forcing them to kiss him. He also outright raped one woman who became pregnant with, and later miscarried, his child.

As the women finally came forward as adults, the other elders in the Barry congregation shredded documents about the abuse and did not speak to police about the incident.

Jehovah's Witness elder Mark Sewell, convicted of several sexual crimes including rape.

Jehovah’s Witness elder Mark Sewell, convicted of several sexual crimes including rape.

Mentally and Emotionally Raped

During one part of Sewell’s trial, the victims recounted, not just their ordeals at the hands of this rapist, but also how they were further traumatized by the meetings they were forced to have with him and other elders. In the Jehovah’s Witness religion, if you make an accusation against someone of child rape, their procedure is that you must confront that person face-to-face with elders present, and the accused will have a chance to deny those charges.¹ This may sound good for some types of accusations, but when talking about child rape, obviously children and young adults should never be put in this position, and certainly not in a meeting overseen by religious elders rather than trained law enforcement agents!

At any of these such meetings with elders, the accused person can question the accuser without restraint, regardless of their age or the circumstances of the ordeal. This is done even knowing that, if the accuser does not have an eyewitness to this crime and the accused person does not confess, and there are no other accusations or second victim to the same type of abuse, the elders drop the matter, feeling they can do nothing further. You might already realize how this type of situation can turn into a traumatizing ordeal for children and teens talking about being raped and molested, having to sit and face their abuser or rapist in front of other adult men, and being forced to relive the event again and again.

Sewell’s case is especially horrendous, as one victim testified in court that during her meeting with Sewell and other elders, the elders forced her to tell them how far apart her legs were during her rape. They did this because Sewell wanted to claim that he could not have raped her in that position, and he attempted to actually demonstrate this with his own wife in the same position.

I don’t know that I need to make many comments about the obscenity of this type of questioning, as any sane and rational person can see that it’s nothing short of sick and disgusting. Asking a young woman to actually physically demonstrate her own rape in front of her rapist and other men is beyond comprehension! These men put this woman through this knowing full well that they would do nothing about her claim since she didn’t have a second witness to her attack and her attacker was not going to confess.

Please Show Me In the Bible

Jehovah’s Witnesses often hide behind their claim that they need to follow the bible’s instructions to speak to someone face-to-face when that person has “sinned” against you, but nowhere in the bible does it say that someone making an accusation should be grilled mercilessly by elders and forced to answer their questions or face sanctions themselves. Never does it say that the accused should be able to ask any question he or she wants, and that the accuser needs to answer them no matter their age, circumstances, or trauma caused to them.

Every story like this reinforces my personal beliefs that there is no “holy spirit” from god guiding these men in their supposed bible-based activities and responsibilities and, if there is, god is a terrible, horrible, nasty, obscene creature.

So … which is it?

I would put that question to Jehovah’s Witnesses directly; if you’re being guided by god, why would anyone worship a god that makes a rape victim demonstrate in front of a room full of men how she was positioned when raped, so that her rapist could argue with her, using his wife as a sexual prop? If you want to protect Jehovah’s reputation and say that this meeting wasn’t being directed by his magic holy spirit, then why would anyone follow you and assume you should be telling them how to worship, since you don’t have god’s holy spirit guiding you?

You can’t have it both ways; either the organization is led by perverted, disgusted, lewd old men, or you’re worshiping a god who is just as disgusting.

Pick one, and get back with me.

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¹This procedure was changed in August, 2016. See this post.

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7 replies »

  1. Karen Morgan, I commend you for being able to handle this situation as calmly & as well as you did. I myself couldn’t have, I guarantee I would have wound up getting a myself a free ride with handcuffeds included but, feeling vindicated knowing that I fixed that part of him &it would never work again as Mr. Sewell was on his way to the nearest ICU via airlift or ambulance. I do hope you’ve had help healing. As women we we are amazing & we have unbelievable strength & that’s what gets us through along with prayer. God bless you & keep you safe. I can only hope Mr. Sewell has gotten what he has coming while incarcerated.

  2. Karen so sorry you had to go through this ordeal. I’m glad you are not associated with that cult anymore. Sounds like you’ve moved on and can recognize the real ‘holy spirit’ Blessings to you girl!

  3. Hi. I am one of the child abuse victims in this case and I just wanted to set something straight. Firstly, it’s the BARRY congregation not BERRY. Secondly, none of the elders who were involved at the time would give a statement to the police. One eventually did but then tried to get out of coming to court. He was the only one who did attend but he said very little on the stand. No elders were forced to come as none had given a statement. They didn’t fight against it for years they simply forgot all about it until they were approached by police.

    I was put in front of Mark Sewell 3 times during the elders investigations. In addition to that, I met with elders a further twice on my own. I was 16 years old. One Elder even asked me if I had encouraged him in any way. Remembering I was around 12 years old when the abuse started you can see how ridiculous the question was. Their questioning of the rape victim is another example of why these untrained men should not be allowed anywhere near victims of rape or sexual assaults.

    I prayed to Jehovah for a year before bringing this case to the attention of police and I continued to pray throughout it even though I am disfellowshipped. I felt his holy spirit more during this whole time than I ever did at meetings with elders.

    • Why did they disfellowship you? To keep you quiet. I won’t shut up about how I’ve been treated by my mother and then my ministerial elder husband who they protected, I literally have told two congregations of elders to go fuck themselves if I need protecting I gotta 38 with hollow point 9’s. I almost succeeded at suicide and instead of helping they shoved me out. I am no angry I hate with a black bile rage from Satan’s bowels

  4. What a bunch of sick bastards. Too bad the elders didn’t pursue pedophiles with the same gusto and enthusiasm that they do those who celebrate Christmas or accept blood transfusions.

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