How do you feel about having a convicted child molester coming to your door for any reason? If you’re like most people, you would rather someone who has been to prison for raping and molesting a child stay as far away from your property as possible, and certainly they shouldn’t be knocking on your door when your children may be home alone.
Unfortunately, if there are Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area, you may not have much of a choice in the matter. Earlier this month, a man recorded a known child molester in his neighborhood, out with other Jehovah’s Witnesses, knocking on doors to preach. The man who recorded the incident, Roman Vargas, had double-checked the public records for the child molester, Waymon Ivery, and confronted him face-to-face as Ivery made his way in the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The video was removed from YouTube, but you can read a news story about the case here. You can also see information about Ivery’s sex offender registry at this site. The media noted the many comments on YouTube before the videos were taken down, including those pointing out the hypocrisy of Jehovah’s Witnesses supposedly not allowing such molesters to be elders but allowing them to walk freely in the neighborhood, recruiting for the church.
Unfortunately, It May Be His Right
It’s easy to think that a convicted and registered sex offender is not allowed within a certain distance of a school or to proselytize from door to door, but after calling about six different police and law enforcement agencies in that area, I finally got some information from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (303-239-4222). The woman I spoke with said that these things are decided on a case-by-case basis, with either the probation officer or parole board after someone is convicted or has served a jail sentence. She couldn’t tell me how to find out about this man in particular, but considering that his conviction was 24 years ago, it’s not unlikely that he is now legally allowed to be in a local neighborhood and preach from door to door without any restrictions.
While there may be nothing that anyone can do to stop such a person from preaching, it is worth noting his reaction when confronted. He first told the man recording that he (Vargas) “got it all wrong,” and then started to say something about what “she” did, no doubt meaning the girl he molested (his stepdaughter). There’s no telling what he would have said if he had finished speaking, but he certainly didn’t seem very contrite, despite his news interview above.
What is also telling is the reaction of the persons out in the preaching work with him:
You can practically see the thought bubble with a, “La la la, I’m not listening” from the man behind him. After all, why would he be concerned with the fact that he’s sitting right next to a child molester, or with anything that anyone other than his own religion tells him? He didn’t want to hear what a man on the street was saying, despite the fact that Vargas simply wanted an answer as to why a convicted sex offender was knocking on doors, and despite the fact that the offender never denied that he was a child molester.
This certainly sums up the attitude of Jehovah’s Witnesses when it comes to child sex abuse and known offenders in their congregations. They don’t want to see or hear anything about it, and will literally cover their ears rather than listen.
A “hear no evil” response is also typical of Jehovah’s Witnesses when it comes to just about anything you might try to discuss with them, be it their misinterpretation of the bible over the issue of blood transfusions (see this site), their misapplication of scripture in order to shun family (see the Shunning category for more), encouraging women to stay with abusive men (this post), and the list goes on. However, they seem to be especially defensive when it comes to their mishandling of child sexual abuse:
This JW elder was being questioned about a man who had been caught raping all four of his daughters; despite this, when the man began cheating on his wife, he was encouraged to return to his family home. The point is made, and repeated, that sending the man back to the family home would not have been safe for the girls still in the home. You can see the callused, dismissive attitude of the elder, who seems to even laugh at the situation. In other words, he simply won’t hear anything about the danger posed to children by their advice, or the policies of Jehovah’s Witnesses as a whole.
Never let anyone tell you that Jehovah’s Witnesses are so very concerned with child rape victims. Don’t let them tell you that they are reasonable and “loving” in their policies; how can they be, when they don’t even want to hear about the man sitting in the van next to them?
This, too, is why our own activism needs to step up and get stronger, and why it’s so vital and important. Being direct and forward and confronting Ivery on the streets, and making that video go viral, is what got the attention of the news media. We need this type of coverage so that people understand who is knocking on their doors, recruiting for their religion. No one is lying when they say it may very well be a convicted pedophile.
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