Jehovah’s Witnesses Were Told Not To Report Child Sex Abuse

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The religious organisation is accused of covering up attacks and sheltering the abusers

Jehovah’s Witnesses have come forward claiming that they were told not to report allegations of child abuse.

The organization has been accused of sheltering abusers.

Several victims have accused the religious organization of a systemic cover up, with some revealing how they were themselves assaulted as children. They claim the group’s rules, which require two witnesses before an incident can be investigated by elders, have protected perpetrators.

One child abuse lawyer believes there could be thousands of victims across the country who have not come forward.

The Telegraph reports: The victims – many of whom want to remain anonymous – claimed that the religion’s guidelines have shielded their abusers, as well as deterring victims from contacting the authorities.

In a statement, the organisation on Monday described the allegations as “absolutely false”, adding that victims and their parents had an “absolute right” to report abuse to the police.

But leading solicitor Kathleen Hallisey, who brought a landmark case against the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2015, claimed the scale of child abuse was similar to that exposed in the Catholic Church.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph last night, Ms Hallisey said: “Frankly I would equate this to a scandal and a cover up akin to the Catholic Church. Knowing about paedophile priests and moving them from parish to parish. The two are identical.

“Most of the cases I deal with are in relation to abuse by people in positions of trust within the organisation.”

She said that the internal teachings of the organisation meant that the true scale of the scandal has been suppressed.

“I think because of the barriers to coming forward, we don’t have the same number [as the Catholic Church],” she added. “There’s teaching which is that you shouldn’t take another Jehovah’s Witness to court. There’s also a teaching to avoid interaction with secular authorities. So you’re breaking two rules [in reporting abuse].

“Those two things could lead to you being disfellowshipped, which means that you’re shunned.”

It came as victim Louise Palmer, who has chosen to waive her anonymity, said that she had been told not to report being raped by her brother, Richard Davenport, who was also a Jehovah’s Witness.

Ms Palmer, who lives in Evesham in Worcestershire, alleged that her brother began raping her when she was four, but said she was discouraged from alerting the authorities by members of the organisation. Davenport was eventually jailed for 14 years in 2014, later reduced to ten.

“I asked them what should I do?” she told the BBC. “Do you report it to the police? Do I report it to the police?

“Their words were that they strongly advised me not to go to the police because it would bring reproach on Jehovah.”

Ms Palmer said she does not believe that children “are safe” in the organisation, adding that its safeguarding policies needed to be updated.

Another woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she was sexually abused by a friend of her brother and later raped by him.

She claims that when she informed her parents and elders in her Jehovah’s Witness congregation she was also told not to alert the authorities.

Victims who came forward claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ judicial policy, known as the “two witness rule”, is preventing the abuse from being exposed.

According to the process, two witnesses are required to establish a perpetrator’s “sin” if they do not confess to the allegations made against them.

Jehovah’s Witnesses claims that the policy protects members against malicious accusations of sexual assault. It has also stated previously that the “incidence of this crime among Jehovah’s Witnesses is rare”.

However, incidents of child sex abuse within the organisation have been exposed across the world, including in Australia, where in 2015 it was disclosed that the national branch had kept files on 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sex abuse since 1950.

The UK’s main Jehovah’s Witness organisation, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain, is currently the subject of an inquiry by the Charity Commission.

A report by the commission earlier this year found that one congregation in Manchester had allowed a convicted paedophile to cross-examine two women he had abused as children before they would expel him.

Ms Hallisey believes that the Commission should strip the organisation of its charitable status, adding that it had repeatedly refused to change its processes when challenged in court.

“I think it is reaching the point where we do really need drastic action, and we need something like the removal of their charitable status. Because…despite the litigation, the inquiries and the court orders, they don’t seem to be changing.”

A spokesman for the organisation said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse, and view it as a heinous crime and sin. The safety of our children is of the utmost importance.


  1. I wish too start this discussion by saying that I , am a Jehovahs Christian Witness. I can say in the utmost of sincerity that we do not move Pedophiles around,, secondly we Abhore those who prey on the young, and those who do prey on children will Never hold a position in the Christian Congregation of Jehovahs Witnesses!! Furthermore they will not be allowed too be around young ones, too prey on! Secondly while we avoid taking a brother too court, WHEN it involves legal disputes, we have reasons found in the Bible, namely 1st Corinthians 6:6, where we are advised too avoid it , however not when it involves issues of crimes, which brings reproach on our God Jehovah. We are then advised , (by law), namely mans laws too report them,but that is up too the victim as too which course too follow. In fact we as Jehovahs Witnesses are sternly advised too Obey Mans laws, and never too disobey them, UNTIL mans laws disobeys Gods laws found in the Bible. In the accounts of Jesus Apostles, who were told NOT too go on speaking in the name of Jesus, they stated,(WE cannot stop speaking the great things of our Lord), and went out the next day and continued preaching the Gospel. Now as far as reporting too the secular authorities , heck yes!!, where their is a Serious violation of a human beings rights, whether it be rape, molestation, incest, etc etc, we are advised too report those immediately too the police! , but along with that we are advised too try and forgive., If some serious offence occured , and the brother refuses too listen , it is then taken too 2 brothers, and if still the sinner continues sinning he is then taken before the Body of Elders in that Congregation, and if, he still does not listen he is Disfellowshiped., NOT the Victim! Maybe some of our dear brothers or sisters werent clear on that. , we do not disfellowship the victims! Acts 5:29 brings out that we are too obey the secular authorities, so we do. Actually Acts 5:9- 5:13 explains the way we do in the Christian Congregation. Unfortunately pedofiles are everywhere, their your neighbors, their the store clerk, their in Churches, etc etc etc, and history teaches they have been that way all along. THE BIG difference between us and the Catholic church is ( we take action on such ones in the Congregation,) in other words they either stop it, or they are removed , meaning they are not allowed too carry on in the Congregation, verbally or otherwise. They have too come late too the meeting, just before it begins, and then have too leave Immediately after the concluding song, so they cannot bother the ones who are trying too keep their lives clean. I can assure everyone that the matter is dealt with in a very swift way, and because we are a Theocratic Organization, we will deal with those who get out of line. However if a serious crime is committed , then it is dealt with by the secular authorities. WE do not move the pedophiles around too avoid anything. We believe with our utmost of sincerity in bringing honor too God, and do things as described in the Holy Scriptures, and we dont have policies that are man made, we adhere strictly too Gods laws, as found in his word the Bible.

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