UK Charity Commissions Inquiry

The UK Charity Commission Asks to Hear From Victims of the Watchtower Society

The Charity Commission in the UK is a regulatory agency that oversees and investigates any allegations of abuse or mismanagement of an organization with charitable status. As brought out in this post, the Charity Commission began considering an inquiry against Jehovah’s Witnesses a few years back, something the Watchtower fought against in court. In March of this year, the Commission received a favorable judgment to be able to move forward with their inquiry.

This morning, lead investigator Jonathan Sanders sent out an email regarding the inquiry, as follows:

“Dear All,

I hope you are all well.  It is bright and sunny here in London so I hope the weather is good in your part of the world.

We are continuing to make good progress on our inquiries into safeguarding and charities linked to Jehovah’s Witnesses; I am also pleased to say that we are in addition making progress in addressing the complaints we have received regarding governance and the public benefit delivered by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain.  I am looking forward to being able to share further information with you on both counts in the very near future.

I would now like to ask people who have experience of the following to let me know if they would be prepared to make a formal written statement:

  • Direct, first-hand experience
  • Of safeguarding
  • In charities linked to congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • In England and Wales
  • After 2011
  • And NOT currently being investigated by the police or going through the criminal or civil courts

I know that there are many people whose experience has been different.  I would like to assure you that I value the information you have shared with me to date.  I hope it will be all right for us to stay in touch so that we can communicate with each other about the way the inquiries are going; I in any case anticipate that I will be coming back in the not too distant future with further appeals for witnesses who have had different experiences.

I also recognise that there are many people who are not in a position to provide a statement.  Please do not feel under any pressure from me to do anything that is not right for you; and again please allow me to assure you that the information you have shared has been invaluable in helping us to develop our lines of inquiry.

Some of you have already contacted me either directly or indirectly with details of your experiences.  I am very thankful to you for doing this.  I am however mindful of the need to ensure that whatever steps we take are underpinned by best evidence, and so this is why I am now asking you to consider working with me to translate the emails and letters you have sent into formal statements. 

If your experiences are reflected above, I would be very grateful if you would consider contacting me so that I can give you more information about the next steps.  I would envisage meeting in person and taking a statement from you.  I would not ask any questions about the detail of the abuse but would rather ask about how the trustees of the congregational charities dealt with what happened.

I know this is a lot to think about so please let me know if you have any questions.  I would as ever be very pleased to field questions on any other aspect of our work or simply to catch-up!

Take care,

Jonathan. 

Jonathan Sanders

Senior Investigator

Investigations Monitoring & Enforcement

Charity Commission

jonathan.sanders@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk

0300 065 2075

www.charitycommission.gov.uk

Charity Commission | PO Box 211 | Bootle | L20 7YX”

Please note the conditions as mentioned; this applies to those in England and Wales, and he is looking for experiences that happened after the year 2011.

If these conditions apply to you, please contact Mr. Sanders directly at his email address above and discuss your concerns. As I bring out in my own post linked above, the Commission can only act against an organization when they have strong evidence to do so, which makes it all the more important for UK victims of the Watchtower to contact them.

I will add this information to the page linked above and please help to circulate this information, especially among UK ex-JW groups via social media. If you have questions about his email, contact Mr. Sanders directly as I am simply forwarding his information as I received it. Thank you.

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2 replies »

  1. It’s high time lawmakers cracked down on groups that use “freedom of religion” and “freedom of speech” as platforms to spread harmful teachings that allow for predation of children, break apart families, or put people at medical risk. Whenever belief steps past the bounds of “personal” and goes out into the public arena, common-sense safeguards should be in place to protect the masses.

    For example, while leaders of an organization may believe they should sidestep the turning in of child molesters, i.e. criminals, using whatever rationale, they should be required by law to report these individuals and let trained investigators establish guilt or innocence, and they should also be required by law to warn others in their organization, thus safeguarding innocent children.

    By refusing to report suspected child molesters, this sets the stage for future predation of children.This has to stop.

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