Australian Royal Commission Inquiry 2015

Over 1,000 Cases of Pedophilia Hidden by Australian Jehovah’s Witnesses, Who Blame the Victims (Again)

Today is July 27, 2015, the first day of an investigation by the Australian Royal Commission regarding the handling of pedophilia by Jehovah’s Witnesses. During this first day alone, it was revealed that the Australian branch of this religion is known to have hidden over 1,000 reported cases of pedophilia, and has admitted to destroying records regarding these cases over the past few decades. These pedophiles were also promoted to positions of authority over others, including children. Two women also came forward to state that they were blamed for the molestation they suffered as teens because of “seducing” their rapists. One of those women was molested by her own father.

Her father. Who said that she seduced him.

Let me first give you a summation of the report:

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses hid over 1,000 reports of pedophilia within their religion, dating back to the 1950s. The elders never reported these incidents to the police. Not one.
  • Elders in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses destroyed records of these incidents, so that no one would ever have access to them, specifically, the wives of those elders.
  • It never occurred to elders who destroyed these records that they were committing any type of crime by destroying what might be considered criminal evidence.
  • Victims of molestation were required to face their molesters in the presence of elders in order to bring their accusations forward. Accusers were allowed to freely question these ones.
  • Only some 400 Jehovah’s Witnesses were disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for their molestation, with about half of them eventually being reinstated beck into the religion.
  • Two women testified that they were blamed for their molestation as teenagers because of having “seduced” their molesters, including one woman whose own father accused her of being the seductress.

As a writer, I’m supposed to pick apart stories like this and give you an editorial point of view; as a blogger, I often try to give my readers something to think about when it comes to the beliefs, teachings and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Elders in the Jehovah’s Witnesses forced a girl to confront her father who was abusing her, and who blamed her for seducing him.”

I’m all out of words.

What in the world could I possibly say about this; what needs to be said? This religion systemically and as a rule swept these abuses under the rug and even destroyed evidence of one of the most horrific crimes that can occur, with no thought of getting police involved and doing everything they could to protect other children from being hurt. Congregation elders, with no training in child psychology, criminology, or crisis counseling were left to run kangaroo courts that required persons who were still very young to sit and talk about crimes of a sexual nature in intimate detail, and to be grilled mercilessly by their molesters.

Keep in mind that this is just what was discovered in court during their first day. If there were over 1,000 cases that were revealed, how many have yet to see the light of day? Two women talked about how they were blamed for their molestation; how many other children, boys and girls, were blamed for being raped and molested? How many were just sent home to their molesters, if it was someone in the family, or told that their molester was “sorry” and so nothing would be done? Only 400 faced any type of removal from the congregation and half of those were eventually brought back, to sit in the same Kingdom Hall as their victims and other potential victims. Since none of them were reported to the police by elders, none would have faced jail time, registry on any type of sex offender list, or any real punishments, unless and until their victims called police, on their own. While removed from the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who is to say if they were not then molesting other children in their own neighborhoods, extended family, and the like?

As a woman who was molested as a child (in all fairness, not by a fellow Jehovah’s Witness) and who had her own mother get angry at her when she finally revealed it as an adult, I have an understanding for what these victims have been through. Being molested and abused physically is horrific enough, but being abandoned or even worse, blamed, yelled at, shown resentment, dismissed, or otherwise mentally and emotionally abused means being raped all over again. These victims will probably suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, low self-esteem, relationship issues, anger issues, health problems including high blood pressure and eating disorders, as well as secondary issues, such as an inability to focus and concentrate, nightmares, sleep disturbances, and agitation. All of this, not just from being molested, but from being treated like their pain and their abuse is of little consequence, and they themselves are the problem. Remember, this is from the religion that claims they build strong families based on love and that they “abhor” child abuse and are not “permissive” toward pedophiles.

This is also the religion that comes knocking on your door, recruiting for their religion. I hope your children aren’t home alone when it happens.

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15 replies »

  1. Hi I like your articles are you produce great content I was just wondering if you could at the end of the article at the bottom show your cites that you used to get this info it helps a lot, thanks! Also there is a grammatical error um you meant to put “back” but it was spelled “beck”, keep up the good work guys!

    • Thank you Jayden, this article is difficult to cite exactly as you would need to read the transcripts of each witness called for the Australian Royal Commission. You can read this page about the inquiry overall and see where many of the quotes come from if that helps. I’ll look for the error, thanks for pointing it out.

  2. I was raised a JW, my uncle was an elder, my entire large extended family were, and mostly still are JW. As a young child, 4 yrs old, I was molested by my cousin who was 14, and also a JW. I told my mother, and it was swept under the rug. A few years later, when I was being taught progressively more and more doctrine and ideas and rules, I was conflicted emotionally by the memory of the abuse. The incident of abuse was neither painful or frightening for me as a very small child, as it did not involve actual penetration of any kind. When my budding conscience as a young devout JW plagued me regarding this memory, I went to my mother, as we are taught to do. I told her that I was worried that it was bad that I didnt recall any pain or trauma, that in fact the act itself had felt pleasurable. This idea had been tormenting me, a mere 8year old child, as I was wrestling with developing morals. My mother sharply told me that those feelings were a grave sin, that having themand admitting them were very bad, made me read thenew adolescent written material on “no-no’s”, dealing with inappropriate feelings and masturbation. I was shamed and treated as if I disgusted her and ordered never to speak of it again. The only assistance I was given for my emotional struggle was being told to pray for forgiveness. This whole debacle has influenced my life profoundly, and seriously warped even further any chance of having a normal sexuality, the abuse definitely did damage but the treatment I recieved from my mother and my faith did far more.

    • Kasey Heinige, I am so sorry you went through that; it’s terrible. My religious family did something very similar to me. I’ve recently gotten professional help for trauma/PTSD and would encourage you to do the same; this is not something you should keep inside. I wish you the best of luck.

  3. Great article, but I’ve got a correction to make that I feel should be highlighted.

    It’s not 1,000 cases of unreported child abuse, it’s 1,006 unreported child abusers. Actual figures of victims and incidents appear to be unknown… and much, much higher.

    • Thank you Brinjen, I guess I was thinking that each child abuser equals a case of pedophilia. I realize that actual numbers of the abuse itself will be higher; one pedophile may rape a child many times over. And I agree that there are probably hundreds if not even thousands of cases that never get reported or if they do, elders don’t make a record. However you slice it, it’s absolutely disgusting and obscene.

  4. It’s important to understand that what is being disclosed in Australia, is nothing less than a systemic fault. The elders are doing EXACTLY what they are told by the “mother” in Brooklyn. This is what the organization want the elders to do in these kind of cases and I remind you that these people believe that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society out of Brooklyn, New York, are gods organization here on earth. They even believe that the elders are chosen by the Holy Spirit. Talk about deluded people!

  5. Few decent respectable fair minded people would agree with the abuse of children.
    but to say that “This is also the religion that comes knocking on your door, recruiting for their religion. I hope your children aren’t home alone when it happens.”
    Is unfair,
    because I think it is safe to say that you know in your heart that even if there are cases of sexual abuse being ” swept under the carpet” by some who happen to be a Jehovah’s witness,
    that does not mean that the entire organization is corrupt and deceitful
    and therefore cannot be trusted.
    I feel sorry for the victims of Abuse and for the good people within the organization
    who try very hard to conduct themselves in the way that prevents themselves from being accused of wrongdoing.
    but sadly human nature tends towards setting ones own standards.
    in the sense that a person that starts to desire to do something that they know is wrong and unnatural and also goes against the principles of Christianity,
    has to decide within themselves whether to give into the wrong desire
    or resist it and even pray or approach senior members for advice?
    doing that will likely be distressing for all involved
    but I think that any feelings of shame experienced from asking for help to deal with resisting bad desires
    is better than the distress and damage caused when one does give into bad desire.
    it not only damages the victim but also leaves a stain on those who strive from day to day to uphold God’s high moral standards.
    therefore when certain individuals give in to bad desires
    they should without excessive hesitation be dis-fellow shipped,
    and if need be,
    they should face criminal charges
    after all sexual abuse of anyone is a criminal offense and cannot be justified
    and ones religion cannot and should not be used as a kind of “hiding place” for one to withdraw into when ones bad deeds have been uncovered.
    but again we should try to remember that everyone is human and to a great extent we have to trust one another
    until there is sufficient reason to doubt.

    • What you said, to me, doesn’t make any sense. Alex has covered time and time again that Jehvoah Witnesses, the hierarchy so to speak, are aware that these pedos are hiding in the religion and the Elders know, they just don’t give a fuck, really.

      You need to spend more time reading more articles if you haven’t already. Because Elders know what are going on, and they don’t care. It’s literally as simple as that. And you know what? I would love to have my baptized mother be reasonable, but she won’t be until you bite, scratch and overall fight back. That’s just human nature.

      • so what your saying is that the elders are being unjust in the way they deal with allegations of sexual abuse right?
        and that clearly leaves you feeling upset and disillusioned?
        if so that is totally understandable.
        but have you taken time to understand why this “sweeping under the carpet”
        is the chosen method used in these case?
        I assume it is chosen and used to prevent the organization from collapsing and losing its long held status as the only true up holders of god’s high standards?
        but if these allegations are true
        then it is clear that the “former clean name” of Jehovah’s witnesses,
        is now tarnished by people within the organization who are living a double life.
        going to the meetings, going out on the ministry, and in their own time doing things that are not in line with what they learn and what they preach.
        its sad Connor.
        because I believe that when this organization started back in the 1800’s they were motivated by the desire to learn the truth about the purpose of Christianity,
        and thereafter help others to do the same while striving to live up to the standards set out in the bible.
        however with the passing of time
        it is clear that some people also start of with a pure desire to serve god and uphold his standards
        but for one reason or another they eventually give into sinful desire and that is where the downfall started?
        and if the elders have been trying hard to suppress and sweep things under the carpet
        that is probably cause they are worried about what these allegations will do to the name of JW’s?
        but if the allegations are true
        then it also reveals a poor sense of Judgment on the part of the elders?
        clearly dis-fellowshipping people that are accused of abusing children
        is in line with scriptural guidance,
        but it doesn’t do anything for the victims of the alleged abuse.
        and so they continue to cry out for justice but the elders appear to shut their ears to those cries.
        which serves to leave the victims feeling evermore frustrated and disillusioned.
        “coming clean” in the sense of the elders holding up their hands and admitting poor judgement in the way they have dealt with these allegations
        means a fall of status and the feeling of pride is replaced with the overwhelming feeling of shame.
        but who is to blame for that?
        the victims or the elders?
        well in my opinion it is down to the ones accused of sexually abusing children first and foremost
        and then the elders for not dealing with the allegations in a fair and just manner.

      • Fair enough, I do believe that the organization started out first with innocent desire, to learn the truth about Christanity. Also, I live in the UK which our main religion is Catholic’s (hoping I spelled that right). With that in mind, I do believe Jehovah Witnesses want to learn the truth. But those days are gone now, gone and dusted. I also don’t agree with what you said and it completely pisses me off that people are enabling and justifying – just as you did – with saying that they sweep these serious criminal offenses under the rug because of their status. That isn’t justifiable, and it isn’t certainly isn’t Christan worthy either. It’s completely bullshit.

        I have a question, and if I seem to be attacking you please don’t think I am, I am curious: why are you trying to reason with JW’s? Are you one, or do you have family members that is part of the organization?

    • “….because I think it is safe to say that you know in your heart that even if there are cases of sexual abuse being ” swept under the carpet” by some who happen to be a Jehovah’s witness,
      that does not mean that the entire organization is corrupt and deceitful
      and therefore cannot be trusted.”

      Really? Do you read the same articles as the rest of us? Listen, this is not just a little thing here and another little incident over there – this is a SYSTEMIC FAULT.

      The elders do as they are told. And yes, this actually speaks volumes of this particular “religion”. The ORGANIZATION is being order to pay millions because they have RULES that make pedophiles safe in their organization.

      Don’t try to undermine the fact that this sick cult is to be blamed because they are in fact convicted for these things in the US. And that my dear apologist is just the beginning! The entire “faith” will disappear very soon!

  6. Thank you Alex, for another interesting read. I am sorry what happened to you, and I really hate how your mother acted towards you coming out and saying what happened, she should be supportive not being a total dick about it. :/

    This is the 21st century, I wonder how long it will be before the Jehovah Witnesses get shut down by legal authorities, this sounds more like an organized pedophilla ring than anything else. Teaching god? Kiss my ass they are. I’m also amazed at how many of these witnesses just read and recite the bible, they don’t actually live their life by the bible. They still play violent video games, swear, abuse alcohol and even commit adultery. Goes to show how “strong” their faith is, obviously non existant.

    Speaking of this, I had a screaming contest with my mother. It wasn’t what I wanted, but I’m sick of not standing up for myself and letting her put me down. It was just under an hour of shouting at each other and swearing, but in the end she somehow came to the conclusion to respect me as an individual and adult… what? Yeah, I’m not sure either. I thought it would be nice to share that breakthrough experience, though I still have no hope in her, I’ve made my decisions already.

    Once again, thank you, Alex, for writing about this, it really does help.

    • Hi Connor,
      thanks for your response.
      In answer to your question,
      I’m not a JW.
      I used to study with them several years ago
      but I decided to stop studying for several reasons which I won’t disclose here.
      I guess the reason why I sound “pro witness” if you like
      is because of my experience as a child going to church on a Sunday morning
      and my later experience of going to a kingdom hall of Jehovah’s witnesses.
      there is a obvious difference in both,
      and that has helped to convince myself that despite the unfortunate “self inflicted wounds” on JW’s
      They nevertheless follow the pattern set by the first century Christians,
      in the sense that that recognize the need to study the bible and understand its purpose
      and then put it into practice by going out and sharing the knowledge with as many people as possible
      which we both know is in line not only with what first century Christians did,
      but it is also god’s will for those who want to serve him
      to share his message with the public.
      however the clergy also preach and teach
      but what they preach and teach does not match the source of spiritual knowledge in the bible.
      much of what they promote (and I learned this from my studying with JW’s) actually
      originates with time that the roman emperor Constantine decided to be “different” by believing in the god of Christianity.
      however rather than using the scriptures as a guide or tutor
      it seems he decided to set his own standards,
      and decided to take what had been a pagan rooted worship of the sun
      and convert it into a supposed “christian” celebration of the birth of Jesus.
      as far as I know,
      the scriptures do not give an exact date or month on which He was born?
      therefore deciding for himself and his associates
      that Jesus was born on December 25th,
      was the first sign that people were starting to stray
      which actually had been foretold by the Christian apostle Paul.
      so what may have been a genuine desire to honor god and his son,
      has now become a reason to overeat and spend more than we would normally
      all because of what Constantine and his associates decided to do with the pagan worship of the sun.
      Just because Constantine showed an interest in Christianity,
      doesn’t mean that Interest was genuine.
      if you use the conversion of the former opposer of Christians
      who was known as Saul of tarsus,
      and how once he learned that what he was doing was wrong,
      he took steps to learn the right way to worship god
      and then he put that to use by sharing it with others.
      and so we are able to discern what it means to be a christian.
      it means recognizing the need to question our own religious beliefs and standards and examine them along side the scriptures and see if they match?
      if they don’t then changes need to be made in order to be able to teach others properly.
      the emperor Constantine clearly
      saw the need to question the long held traditions of his time,
      however it is also clear that rather than rely on the scriptures as a guide and tutor
      he looked to other sources who looked to pagan ideas and sought to convert them to Christianity which is right.
      but the problem was that once they became accustomed to that
      they seemed to lose sight of the need to stick to what the bible says.
      and so rather than continuing to learn about the true purpose of Christianity,
      his colleagues decided to convert the bible to fit in with their “new way” if you like
      which included the celebration of Christmas,
      even though Christmas did not originate with the Christianity taught and practiced by the first century Christians.
      December 25th was the month and date which pagans used as part of their “false belief” that the sun was born on that month and day.
      the clergy may not pay honor to the sun as people did in the past on December 25th
      but that does not make Christmas “a christian celebration”
      the apostle Paul continually reminded the Christians of his time to “keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the lord”
      that advice can be applied to the taking of a pagan celebration and changing it into a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
      the bible is the source of knowledge and the author of that knowledge is god.
      therefore he is in a sense our tutor by means of the bible.
      and the people who take on the responsibility as leaders in the Christian organization are therefore obliged to teach what is found in the bible
      rather than their own knowledge.
      that then shows that they are not just teachers of Christianity but learners as well.
      therefore if leaders stand up and teach but what they teach does not match the knowledge found in the bible,
      they are no longer worthy of the title as teachers
      neither are they showing humility to god
      as Jesus and Paul and many other did.
      so in conclusion Connor
      I am able to discern who are striving to represent god and who are actually striving to imitate Constantine and his associates of old.
      the latter can be rightfully linked to the clergy and its associates.
      but the former can only be rightly linked to Jehovah’s witnesses
      despite the self inflicted wounds.
      I hope that answers your questions.
      Regards

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