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Summary of the Australian Royal Commission's investigation on JWs and child abuse


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Some of you may recall that a few months ago the Australian Royal Commission that has been investigating child abuse took a hard look at the Jehovah's Witnesses, which have had a very serious problem within their religion of covering up instances of child sexual abuse within their congregation instead of reporting it to the police. A report has now been released summarizing the evidence discussed in the investigation if you are interested. It is a PDF file to download: 

Submissions of Senior Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission Into Child Sexual Abuse contain damning summation of evidence against Watchtower Society.

It is a long read but it gives a lot of insight into how this religion operates that I don't think most non-JWs find out about. In addition to pointing out some of the really twisted policies this religion has about sexual abuse (such as forcing children who have been molested to face their accusers, and requiring the presence of two witnesses to even take any action within their religion against the abuser, never mind that they don't want to get the police involved) the document also goes into the JW practice of shunning former members. If you ever ask a JW point blank if they shun their former members, they will usually try to lie or downplay it rather than admitting they do it, but it does happen. If you do know any JWs that you feel comfortable talking to about this report, I think you will find their reactions to it very interesting. Most JWs cannot even face the possibility their religion is flawed and will insist that it must be "lies" from "apostates" if they are willing to talk about it at all. 

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The Sydney Morning Herald has picked up the news: 



Jehovah's Witnesses in Australia foster distrust of secular authorities and the church's way of responding to child sex abuse falls short of best practice, it is open to the royal commission to find.

In a damning submission published on Tuesday, Angus Stewart SC, counsel to the child abuse commission, recommends 77 adverse findings against the fundamentalist church, which since 1950 has received 1066 allegations against its members and never reported any of them to police.

Mr Stewart's recommendations arise out of a public hearing into the Jehovah's Witnesses and its oversight body, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia, in July this year.

He said the Witnesses receive approximately three and four reports of allegations of child abuse a month

Sadly, I think the social climate in the United States that is so sympathetic to fundamentalists means that even though these same types of abuses are happening in the US, it may take even longer for them to be dealt with properly here.  

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Not sure if anyone else is interested in more updates about this (can't tell if people just aren't interested or if it is that the JWs are so insular that most people don't know what their deal is) but I think this is pretty interesting: in response, the bigwigs at the Watchtower are now sending out pleas to their Australian congregations asking the elders to tell them about anyone in the congregation who is a "spiritually mature" lawyer or accountant. It sounds like they're anticipating a lot of lawsuits over this. The funny thing is that JWs are taught to avoid higher education because it could be "spiritually dangerous" and lead to things like believing in evolution, so any of these CPAs or lawyers would be in conflict with the religion's teachings. the vast majority of JWs work menial jobs because it is thought that since time is so short until God brings Armageddon about that things like pursuing a secular career are a waste of time.

One exJW site has a copy of the leaked letter and also points out:


what I find most distressing is that they did not put out a call for… oh I don’t know… counselors. Therapists. Psychologists. Doctors. Professionals who have experience in dealing with child abuse victims. Persons who could help them better frame their responses when children and adults come forward with allegations of sexual abuse and better assist these victims.

No, pardon my language, but the Watchtower wants to protect their ass and their assets, not their victims. It apparently doesn’t even occur to them that the real problem they need to face in the future is how the elders basically manhandle child sex abuse victims, and these untrained, unqualified, unsympathetic, often angry and misogynistic men have no business even speaking to these victims much less investigating their complaints. They also still don’t seem to grasp the failings of their practices and policies that demand a second witness to child sex abuse before an abuser is put out of the congregation, which allows such a person virtually unfettered access to children he or she may abuse, both inside the congregation and then also in their own family, neighborhood, and so on.



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