Many readers of this blog know that I wrote an article on how easy it is to doctor up screen captures of Facebook conversations, responding to accusations against one of our better known anti-cult activists, Bo Juel (this post). What most people don’t know is how I got involved with the incident in the first place or why I even decided to write that post.
Bo put in a Facebook friend request to me in January of 2014; he soon asked for my help with the Watchtower Victims Memorial Day. That day was his brainchild but he didn’t really know how to move it forward, and I’m a freelance writer who specializes in web content and PR. We began chatting over the months about his past, his situation with his daughter shunning him, etc. During that time, I never felt I was anything terribly special in his eyes, just another advocate and casual online friend.
On July 30 of 2014, one of Bo’s greatest detractors referred to him as a pedophile, using that word specifically, in a private conversation with me. Of course I asked for clarification but got none, just a flippant, “Time will tell.” When those screen captures of Bo’s supposed conversation involving a sexual situation with a 12-year-old were published in a Facebook group on August 29, that detractor sent them to me immediately. I didn’t know what to make of them so I just thanked the man and then sent them to Bo, with a “Dude, what the hell?” message.
Over the course of the next week Bo swore up and down that they were not his conversations, he never said those things, didn’t even recognize the picture in the second screen capture that was supposedly of underage girls, etc. His lawyer in Norway and the lawyer for Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA), for which Bo acts as an adviser, both told him to do nothing and say nothing. (Must control urge to state honest opinion of that advice… Stupid effing ball-less lawyers… Well I held that in longer than I expected.)
I put Bo through the wringer that week; grilled him about his sex life, cried, threatened to leave the advocacy work, threatened to go to the police, asked him to just be honest about something being taken out of context, cried some more, everything I could think of. I waited and watched carefully, looking for some inconsistency in his responses, some hint of guilt. Nothing.
After about a week of this, I thought, well what if they are fake? Could someone do that? I didn’t think they were PhotoShopped as that seemed too obvious. So, I did what anyone would do; I turned to the almighty god of the internet and asked, “Oh great and wise Google, how do you fake a Facebook conversation without PhotoShop?”
The second website I found had that HTML source code trick. The second site. It was fast, easy, no special programs required, and right there on the internet for all to see. I thought, if I could find this, a woman in her late 40s who uses a laptop that’s three inches thick and a mouse with a cord, how easy would it be for someone else to know and use this trick?
I felt I had to put that possibility out there for everyone to see, not just for Bo but for anyone who uses Facebook. If you remember the first version of that column, I still left a huge backdoor open, not taking Bo’s word as gospel but pointing out how easy it was to fake conversations, talking about what it means to be “catfished” online, and why people would attack him that way.
Well, what a can of worms that opened. Over the course of the next few weeks people began coming out of the woodwork to give me more information. Apparently very similar things had been done to many other men within the ex-JW community when they also rejected the advances of one woman in particular, and got on the wrong side of Bo’s detractor. Interesting that the women behind the accusations had all insulted each other privately for months, however, when Bo had to tell them that no, they weren’t in a relationship and he certainly wasn’t going to leave Norway for them or give them any money, and he wasn’t happy with their work on the Victims Memorial Day, all of a sudden they were great friends with each other while Bo was this dangerous pedophile and child pornographer.
I learned that various threats and harassment had been levied and continued to be levied against other activists, some from the same accusers and some from unknown sources. One tidbit I found very interesting and that I’ve already mentioned is that another advocate, I’ll just call him “D”, had a doctored picture sent to his house of him… stop me if this sounds familiar… in a sexual situation with an underage girl. Fortunately “D” was able to prove unequivocally that the picture was fake but Jeeze Louise, even Stevie Wonder could see a pattern developing.
What was also interesting was the reaction over the next few weeks of those behind the accusations against Bo. Yes, they yelled and whined and stomped their feet and tried to embarrass and hurt him some more, but then they also did some very interesting things. The Facebook user “Johnny Jerkowski,” who had been very vocal against Bo right up until my column was published, suddenly left Facebook after taking one last stab at him. That was very odd to me; why would he just up and run away? As the police say, if you haven’t done anything wrong, why would you run?
Additionally, as I brought out when I revised that first post, more untruths came to light. Wall posts were doctored and private messages were apparently manufactured and then posted publicly. Comments were grossly taken out of context in order to support outright lies. One woman said that Facebook had verified Bo’s supposed conversations as being real, which begged the question, how exactly? There is no Help Desk at Facebook that does those things; even police need a warrant and forensic computer examiner to get that information. If that wasn’t another outright lie, I don’t know what else to call it.
The woman who was complaining about her grievance with AAWA admitted publicly that she had “provoked” one of their volunteers, and actually wanted her to retaliate as she did.
Who pushes and goads, and then complains when someone simply responds, especially if they respond how you wanted them to? Why not just move on? If volunteering for an organization is giving you headaches, stop volunteering. I still have no idea why things were handled this way. In law enforcement, this is called entrapment. On Facebook, it’s just confusing.
And a polite golf clap to you sir.
To demonstrate the lack of intelligence behind these accusations, a fake account with Bo’s name was created to make a vulgar comment about liking “the power the elders have to force fuck young girls,” and one of his accusers didn’t even realize it was a fake account. Note, this was well after these original accusations were published and Bo had deactivated his private Facebook account. So, according to this woman, he reactivated his private account and deleted his profile picture just long enough to send a message to one of his biggest accusers about force fucking young girls, and then immediately deactivated that account again?
Another tried to leave a comment on my page saying that some offhand, barely audible remark by a man on a video he made of Bo visiting the headquarters of the Watchtower Society somehow proved that the entire organization of AAWA is a failure. That literally, physically hurt me… right in my IQ.
Bo’s accusers have also stated that the FBI is investigating their accusation that he was sending child pornography. That’s interesting, because the FBI wouldn’t investigate child pornography that originated in Norway. That would be ICE. (I’ll let you look that up.) Good for the FBI for doing a job that isn’t theirs, but bad for the credibility department.
Also interesting is the person who said she received a picture from Bo of girls who were “looking young.” An attorney that I spoke with told me that child pornography laws state, “A person who, knowing its content or nature, possesses a photograph or film depicting someone he or she should know is under 18 has also violated the Act. If the possession is involuntary, the possessor has a defense. Possession is voluntary where a person ‘knowingly procures or receives’ the illicit material ‘with sufficient time to terminate his or her possession of it.'”
Note that point; in the screen capture, supposedly Bo said outright that the girls looked young and asked the other person if they wanted to see the picture, and they said yes. That means they knowingly received the photo. The woman who claims to be on the other end of the conversation admitted she held onto it for months if not a full year before reporting it. That would be “sufficient time” to terminate possession. Chances are, she could very well be charged with receiving and possessing child pornography herself, if those screen captures were real and the women were underage. But, I’m sure the FBI will get to the bottom of all that, once ICE tells them how to do their job.
Meanwhile, more outrageous and outlandish accusations about Bo being a danger his family and basically society in general were tossed about, as were bizarre, immature, and sometimes downright incoherent accusations against other advocates.
Well, that was just perfect. Thank you for doing all that. Sincerely, thank you.
I’LL TAKE CREDIBILITY FOR $100, ALEX
Do I need to spell this out? It’s called losing credibility. These people kept doing and saying such incomprehensible things and resorting to inappropriate personal attacks that they accomplished nothing but to chip away at their own credibility.
Note something about the story above; for anyone who may assume that Bo was “manipulating” me or lying to me about those screen captures, keep in mind that he didn’t know I was going to write that column; I didn’t even know I was going to write that column. Bo didn’t come to me and say, “Hey, if I say these are fake, can you save my butt?” He could have just said the conversations were taken out of context, he was with other adults, girls “looking young” meant 19, etc. He had no reason to lie to me; he and I never had any “adult” chats or an especially close relationship so that I would have been upset or jealous, and I’m a grownup who would have accepted any of those responses. In everything he said though, he never asked for anything, never did anything other than to answer my incessant questions and jump through all my hoops.
Note also that some people later criticized “organizations” that defended pedophiles. Which organizations, exactly? AAWA never said anything about the mess, and if someone assumes I’m their lackey, think again. No one, and I mean no one, tells me what to write in my blog. I am in no way affiliated with AAWA or anyone else; I don’t play well with other children and apparently I swear too damn much.
Credibility. I asked one woman who was behind those accusations for a copy of the report she supposedly made with the police; her response was that I should call the FBI myself and she didn’t have a copy, and then she blocked me on Facebook. Well, which branch? What number did you call? Do you have some type of report number? What agent did you speak with? Bo answered my questions more readily than she did. When I filed a report with IPSO regarding an inaccurate news story that ran about my flyers (this post), they assigned me a case number (01595-14) and a case manager (Bianca Strohmann). If anyone needs proof that I actually filed a complaint, visit that post and you’ll see Bianca’s email; write her directly and ask her anything you want. I’ve even posted screen captures of the email correspondence I’ve gotten from the editor of the paper and which I sent to Bianca myself. It’s that simple.
MEANWHILE, IN NORWAY…
Earlier this year yet another local disgruntled JW sent an anonymous letter to the authorities in Norway. Social Services in Norway then conducted a very thorough investigation over the course of several months, talking to Bo’s children, his ex-wife, everyone. Background checks were actually conducted.
In that investigation, the welfare agency inspected Bo’s computer, phone, and all other electronic devices. No child porn was found, no harmful images or conversations, nothing suspect in the least. Apparently he doesn’t sleep in a glass coffin. Their investigation was concluded last October and all seems to be well in their home. Note Bo’s statement about the incident on his Facebook page here.
AND THE FINAL JEOPARDY CATEGORY IS…
Since that column about Bo was published, not only was I told about “D” having that grossly doctored picture sent to him, but other activists have been accused of having inappropriate contact with underage girls and of perhaps being a danger to their own children. I also found out that a very lovely couple named Marc and Cora were once accused of some ludicrously outlandish things, and other activists are being attacked, mocked, and ridiculed right now. One woman told a member of AAWA that she was outright asked by the same man who called Bo a pedophile to me to “get some dirt on him.”
Well, no. These “sexual deviant” accusations and other such attacks on activists and those working hard to bring attention to the abuses of the Watchtower Society have as much credibility now as stories in the National Enquirer. Honestly, who’s next and what will you say about them? Who else gets to be accused of being a swinger or child abuser or pedophile, or of liking farm animals? Whose name will be attached to the next, “They’re a danger to society and children and possibly even sheep!”?
Another question that might be asked is, what are these people doing as activists? One thing I notice about most detractors is that they typically seem to do nothing when it comes to real activism, or anything else for that matter. Do they write columns and blogs to highlight abuses or the failed prophecies or scandals of the Watchtower Society? Do they make videos that point out their hurtful policies and practices or even their own experiences as a JW? Do they organize events, hand out flyers, write press releases, or talk to other groups about pedophilia or domestic violence? Maintain useful Facebook pages or websites with resources or reference materials that activists or victims can use? Anything?
Bo has gone on national television to talk about his experiences with the WT, continues to be interviewed by many media outlets in Scandinavia, and is currently working on some very good projects that will use his experiences in the fight against the Watchtower. It was his videos that helped to wake up my sister and plant doubts in her mind. Marc and Cora produce some of the best videos about JWs on YouTube, have been behind many stories printed in the media, regularly speak to hospital staff about the JW blood policy, and aren’t shy about handing out flyers to JWs and non-JWs alike.
Today’s accusers? They troll Facebook.
If someone has a difference of opinion with another, that’s your right and I would never tell others that they should silently put up with someone who bothers them or who is outright harassing them; that’s not what this post is about. It takes a strong personality to take on an organization like the Watchtower Society and sometimes strong personalities clash, as can be expected.
However, referring to someone, anyone, as a sexual predator or a pedophile or of being a danger to children, stating that they’re distributing child porn; that is not acceptable, even in a private Facebook message. According to two attorneys I’ve spoken with, it’s also harassment, defamation, slander, libel, a bunch of other big fancy legal words, and actionable in a court of law. Remember that being a pedophile and distributing child porn are crimes and unless someone has been convicted of those things in court, you’re not allowed to call them that, period. It doesn’t matter what screen captures of fragmented Facebook conversations you post, it doesn’t matter what else you say. The law says that unless there has been a conviction in court, calling someone those things is defamation, period. The statute of limitations for such suits is typically up to a year after the incident, so no, a person doesn’t need to file that claim immediately for them to still have a very valid case. Giving limited power of attorney to someone else means they wouldn’t even need to be in the same country.
Those complaining about AAWA have asked for a public apology from that group. Well, that’s between them; I won’t touch on that. I was told that the volunteer admin who misused some personal information did write a letter of apology and it was delivered by a neutral third party and she also resigned from AAWA as demanded, so I don’t know what else they want at this point. Since we’re talking about apologies though, why not apologize for sharing personal conversations and private pictures on the wall of your public group, especially after complaining about how your own privacy has been so invaded? You complain about damage to your family and then post conversations like this, from a man who never did anything to hurt you? Why not apologize for all your lies and dramatics and histrionics? (Look that word up too.) Why not apologize for sharing your naked boobies online, since I was forced to look at them every time someone sent me, unsolicited, a copy of the photos you shared, unsolicited, with all those men?
I still don’t know what’s real or fake, but I don’t believe for a minute Bo Juel would have sex while a 12-year-old was in the same room much less stand back and watch another man rape a child, or possess actual child porn. As I said in the article linked above, if those screen captures that were posted are real and were talking about role playing with other adults, note that “Bo” said “he asked her…,” not “I asked her…” meaning another man was having sex with a woman pretending to be 12. That would make another man the one with a thing for children, not Bo. There is also a huge difference between “looking young” and “underage.” I once talked with a screenplay agent and she said the company’s acting reps were also looking for “young” talent. How young, I asked. “You know, twenty, early twenties. Young.” Just last week I was telling someone that I got hit on at the gym by a guy who was “way too young” for me. He was 27. Flattering, but hardly illegal.
For the sake of whomever was on the other side of those conversations, if they’re real, you better hope they weren’t underage or you’re probably in trouble too. It would be sad if someone were to read this and actually notify ICE that you willingly received pictures that you thought were of underage girls and held onto them for months.
I also know that serious activists will always move on to bigger and better things. Marc and Cora will always have a beautiful relationship and family that puts any JW couple to shame, and continue to make inroads with hospitals and the media when it comes to attention on Watchtower abuses. As for Bo, well, I’m learning that trying to keep him down is like trying to squeeze a spring; once let go, it has more energy than before and can barely be contained.
I’m also pretty sure these detractors will be right where they are today during all this; making memes and posting the same screen captures again and again, playing the victim. After all, as of this writing it’s been five months since their original screen captures were posted, and they’re still saying the same stuff over and over… and over… and over. In all truthfulness, I really feel sorry for them, as do many other people online. We’re all pretty sure that two of them are just lonely and angry and feeling rejected by a man they liked, and this whole scenario makes them feel as if they have power over someone, and gives them the attention they’re not getting anywhere else. This is what women do when they’re rejected by someone; they talk about him incessantly because they miss him, even if the talk is unflattering. It’s their way of keeping that person in their life. Usually the more they talk about him, the bigger the crush they have on him. As for the third… you wanted someone to out you, and then complain when they do? Still don’t understand that.
What I also know is that the man holding their leashes has been called an ass by them to more than one ex-JW behind his back and they’ve admitted they’re using him for their own purposes, so I’m pretty sure this will all implode sooner rather than later. Everyone actually does have an agenda, it seems. Sad.
Try again. Better yet, don’t. Leave us alone so we can get some real work done, and move all these accusations over into the fail column where they belong. Have some mashed potatoes on me while you’re there.
Please note this information about Histrionic Personality Disorder.
Osiquu. It is well.
Please share with others via the social media plug-ins below. Those who put themselves in the public eye for the sake of calling attention to Watchtower abuses make themselves targets for these types of vicious attacks, and they deserve our support and protection when they happen. Thank you.