When the website “Mormon Leaks” debuted, it came under fire for revealing many confidential documents that were part of the Mormon religion, and which were typically kept secret from the church’s rank-and-file members. Along with criticisms, however, the site also received a tremendous amount of encouragement to include other religions in its process of revealing confidential materials, especially as those materials related to financial misconduct, corporate policies, and sex abuse allegations.
Being Concerned for the “Public Humiliation” of a Child Rapist
As was revealed through leaked correspondences from congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Massachusetts, U.S.A., a man whom I’ll call “John Doe” was discovered to have been molesting and otherwise physically abusing his own daughters. The man was even terminated from his place of employment for using “excessive force” against someone in his care (see Part Two: Even With a “Long History of Violence,” a Man Can Still Be an Active, Approved Jehovah’s Witness for more info).
Some years after the girls had grown up and the abuse came to light, the man was disfellowshipped (excommunicated), but was working at being quickly reinstated, which means he would be attending all the meetings and conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. One daughter, whom I’ll call Jane Smith, had been granted a restraining order against her father during this time.
This woman and her husband, an elder whom I’ll call Jack, were going to be attending a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2004. The father was also going to be attending, which was a violation of that restraining order. At the convention, Jack called the police to have his father-in-law arrested. The police arrived and were intercepted by other elders, who asked John Doe to leave with them; he was handcuffed and escorted out without incident.
Apparently Jack Was the One In the Wrong Here?
The day after this incident, elders in Jack’s congregation wrote a letter to one of the religion’s overseers, which you can read in its entirety here 2004-02-29-JW-Mass_Circuit_9-B, criticizing Jack’s conduct, referring to his actions as “unnecessary,” and showing “poor judgment.” They state in the letter that Jack and Jane were not attending their assigned assembly location, claim that the couple knew beforehand that the father would be in attendance, and criticize Jack for not informing anyone else of his intent to call the police. They even call into question Jack’s qualifications as an elder for how he handled the situation.
Yes, how unnecessary and in poor judgment to have a child rapist and abuser removed from their building and from the presence of that man’s victim.
Being Protective of a Child Rapist
In this letter, the elders also show full sympathy and consideration to this John Doe. They note that he was “completely cooperative” with police, and say that this incident could be a “set back” (sic) for him and his attempts at “restoring himself to good standing with the congregation.” This is a sickening statement from the elders, but very revealing, as it’s obvious how eager they are to assist a child rapist to return to an approved standing in the congregation.
The letter also mentions one elder who knew this John Doe in particular, and said that Doe had “no history of violence,” completely contrary to the statements from his daughters, statements that were confirmed in another letter from the religion’s headquarters a few months later (see Part Two above to read that letter in its entirety). It’s apparent that elders arbitrarily ignored the testimony from these women about their father’s violence, and weren’t concerned at all about having someone so hot-tempered at an assembly with others. They also overlooked the fact that a restraining order had been granted, so it was not up to them to discern if the man had a history of violence or not; the courts had already determined that there was reason for this man to stay away from his own daughter.
Consider, too, that it took these elders one day, just one day, to put their snarling disgust over Jack’s actions in writing. Elders often take weeks, if not months, to deliberate and decide if they will ever act on an allegation of child rape, but if a known child molester suffers a bit of “humiliation” because of not being legally allowed to be near his victim, well, they will pounce on that matter as fast as they can get things in writing.
Perhaps the worst statement in the letter is when the elders say, in their summary, “No doubt John Doe was publicly humiliated by the manner of his arrest.”
This just sickens me. This should sicken everyone. John Doe raped his own daughters from the time they were just little girls, tied one to the bed and would “examine” her vagina in the morning, beat them both so that there were repeated trips to the hospital, and threatened their lives if they ever told anyone. They grew up terrified and humiliated, and in immeasurable physical, mental, and emotional pain, suffering horrific trauma and damage that will probably never leave them. Most victims of this type of abuse have long-term panic attacks, anxiety, bouts of rage, crippling depression, and extremely low self-esteem, not to mention problems with relationships and sexual expression. Many are suicidal.
Yet, the elders are concerned about his humiliation?
Does it not occur to elders that this man should be suffering humiliations and punishment for his actions? Many people, myself included, strongly feel that a child rapist does not deserve to live, much less should he or she be free to walk the streets. Yet, after all his abuses and torture of his own daughters, John Doe was walking around as a free man, with the only exception of not being allowed near one of his victims. Heaven forbid he should suffer a little humiliation after all he put her through.
Victim? What Victim? Who Cares About the Victim!
As if all that wasn’t bad enough, in this entire letter, there is not one word said about the victim herself, the damage done to her, and her feelings in this matter. She is only mentioned in the opening paragraph as an explanation of who had the restraining order against John Doe. There isn’t even an explanation as to why that restraining order was in place, nothing said about these horrific abuses and how the woman would have felt to see her father, her rapist and abuser, at such a convention.
The last paragraph also sums it up quite nicely, when these men question Jack’s qualifications as an elder after his “bypassing theocratic organization because of his personal feelings.”
That, in a nutshell, is the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. You can be viciously raped and beaten by your own father, have your very life threatened while you’re still an innocent child, and yet be made to sit in the same room as the man who did that, while any thought of your personal feelings are immaterial. Your humiliations and abuses are nonexistent, unimportant; the feelings of a child rapist and his reputation are the only things that are worth consideration, as this letter proves in black-and-white. Shame on you for acting on personal feelings, when you should have been worried about the “public humiliation” of a violent child molester. Their feelings are worth a two-page, same-day letter of complaint to an overseer, while their victims, no matter the disgusting, horrific, disturbing nature of their abuse, are obviously as important as this man’s daughter, which is not at all.
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