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Abuse allegations in Newfoundland casting a cloud over Jehovah's Witnesses

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( MMC-NEWS ) You are reading the article "Abuse allegations in Newfoundland casting a cloud over Jehovah's Witnesses" latest updates. Allegations of abuse against two members of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious movement in Newfoundland have emerged, though details of the charges are protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

Allegations of abuse involving two members of the Jehovah's Witness religious movement in Newfoundland have emerged, though details of the charges are protected by a court-ordered publication ban. 

CBC News has learned that a former volunteer church elder and his son are facing charges.

The former elder is charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation relating to allegations dating from 2009 to 2012 in central Newfoundland.

According to court documents, a second man is charged with sexual assault, with the information referencing a period between May 2011 and December 2013 in a community on the Avalon Peninsula.

CBC News has confirmed that the pair are father and son.

The RCMP also confirmed Thursday that both cases involve the same complainant.

A sexual exploitation charge involves anyone in a position of trust or authority who commits an offence against a young person.

The matter involving the older accused was called at a provincial court on Wednesday.

It was set over until next month, when a date is expected to be set for trial.

The younger accused is scheduled to make a court appearance later this month.

'We're all human'

The father of an alleged victim told CBC News it's been a difficult time for his family.

The father said he is still involved with the Jehovah's Witness, and spoke in a forgiving tone.

"Things happen. We're all human. No matter what religion you're of, things can happen," he said.

CBC News also spoke briefly with the former elder. He declined comment, but did say he is still involved with the church.

The man did not appear in court Wednesday, but is expected to plead not guilty.

An RCMP spokesman said he could not comment on either case because of the publication ban. However, he stressed that officers take such allegations very seriously.

Members throughout the province

A member of the congregation linked to both of the accused said that it has been a difficult time, but declined to comment.

Jehovah's Witnesses are a U.S.-based religious movement with an estimated eight million followers worldwide, including about 1,200 members in Newfoundland and Labrador, with churches known as a Kingdom Hall in communities throughout the province.

They are Christians, but have sometimes been described as an insular sect.

The essence of their movement is to serve as God's "witnesses."

Followers are best known for door-to-door evangelism, and free publications called Awake! and The Watchtower.

They also follow strict rules that prohibit, among other things, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, smoking and drugs.

The movement has also made headlines for refusing to allow blood transfusions, even when a life is at risk, and to refuse to celebrate occasions such as Christmas, Easter and birthdays.

Co-operating with police

In Canada, the movement is headquartered in Georgetown, Ont., outside Toronto.

'We do abhor that kind of wickedness … and we do not protect any of these individuals and we allow the authorities to do their work' - Simon Picard

CBC News spoke with Simon Picard at the Jehovah's Witnesses "public information desk" in Georgetown.

When asked about the charges, he also referenced the ongoing investigation and publication ban, but strongly condemned any abuse against young people.

"How we feel about child sexual abuse has been very clear for years now," said Picard.

"We do abhor that kind of wickedness … and we do not protect any of these individuals and we allow the authorities to do their work."

Picard confirmed the older accused is no longer a church elder, and that the church is co-operating with the investigation.

He also stressed that the Jehovah's Witnesses have measures in place to protect members of the church.

"Our publications give all kinds of tools to our parents on how to teach and train their children to be protected from these kind of things," he said, adding the organization's website also offers tips.

http://mmc-news.com/canada/abuse-allegations-in-newfoundland-casting-a-cloud-over-jehovahs-witnesses.html

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      One child abuse lawyer believes there could be thousands of victims across the country who have not come forward because of the "two witness" rule.
      A spokesperson for the church said it did not "shield" abusers.
      'Bring reproach on Jehovah'
      BBC Hereford and Worcester spoke to victims - men and women - from Birmingham, Cheltenham, Leicester, Worcestershire and Glasgow, one of whom waived her right to anonymity.
      Louise Palmer, who now lives in Evesham, Worcestershire, was born into the organisation along with her brother Richard Davenport, who started raping her when she was four. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence for the abuse.
      The 41-year-old, formerly of Halesowen, West Midlands, said when she told the church of the abuse she was told not to go to police.
      Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-42025255
    • By Srecko Sostar
      A group of alleged sexual abuse survivors from across the country have filed a $66-million class action lawsuit against the Jehovah’s Witness, CityNews has learned.
      The victims are seeking $20 million for damages from sexual and mental abuse by elders, $20 million for failing to protect children, and another $20 million for breach of duty of care.
      links:
      http://www.680news.com/2017/10/02/66m-class-action-sex-abuse-suit-filed-jehovahs-witnesses/
      http://mcstclassactions.com/
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A 44-year-old man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage boy he had met while working as a teacher in Long Beach, officials said Wednesday.
      Jason Morris Gorski on Tuesday pleaded to two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
      Prosecutors said that Gorski met the 13-year-old victim in 2007 while working as a teacher at Southwestern Longview Private. The school shut down in 2008, state records show.
      Gorski had worked at the school for four years and was an active member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Cypress when he met the boy.
      In 2009, the teenager reported the abuse to the congregation, which then removed Gorski from his position as an elder, but allowed him to remain an active member. Gorski later moved to South Carolina and started attending a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
      The victim reported the abuse to law enforcement in March 2016. The Buena Park Police Department investigated the case and arrested Gorski in June 2016.
      Gorski is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on Jan. 26 and he faces a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in state prison.
      http://ktla.com/2017/11/15/long-beach-private-school-teacher-jehovahs-witness-elder-pleads-guilty-to-sexually-abusing-teen-boy/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Barry W. Bussey: Last week, the Supreme Court was asked to do something courts never do: review the solely religious decision of a church
      On November 2, the Supreme Court of Canada was asked to do something Canadian courts never do: review the solely religious decision of a church community. Until now, the courts have recoiled from getting involved in religious disputes—and for good reason.
      The case involves Randy Wall, who was dismissed from a Jehovah’s Witness church for failing to repent of his religious offences: getting drunk on two occasions and verbally abusing his wife. Wall’s appeal to another church entity was unsuccessful. He then appealed to a court of law by means of “judicial review,” on the grounds that the church had denied him a proper hearing. 
      In Canadian law, in a process known as “judicial review,” a person can ask a court to “review” (i.e. hear) whether the decision of a “public actor” (such as a government licensing agency) was unfairly decided. Courts rarely review decisions of “private actors” (such as a church); they generally do so only if a private actor’s decision engages property or civil rights. In Wall’s case, the court had to determine whether the Jehovah’s Witness church’s decision involved property or contractual rights, which would then enable the court to review the church’s decision.
      "The church argued it was a private religious body, not a public body"
      The church argued it was a private religious body, not a public body, and that its decision did not affect Wall’s property or contractual rights. It also argued that its disciplinary procedure was a religious process involving prayer and scripture reading aimed at reconciling the relationship between Wall and the church. The lower courts both held that religious decisions can be reviewed by courts to determine whether a church gave a fair hearing, even if no property or contractual rights were engaged. However, both courts were also of the view that property rights were an issue in the case. The Supreme Court of Canada must now decide whether those courts were right. The Supreme Court reserved judgment after last week’s hearing; we can expect its decision early in the new year.
      Courts like to “fix things.” They naturally want to find resolutions to disputes; this is what they exist to do. However, courts have historically avoided getting involved in religious cases, recognizing that they lack the expertise and authority to settle religious disagreements. They handle legal cases, such as contractual disputes, but not religious cases that raise metaphysical truths, such as the definition of God.
      Wall argued his case did involve a “property right,” because his dismissal from his church meant the church members were no longer willing to do business with him. As a real estate agent, 50 per cent of his clientele were Jehovah’s Witnesses. His business folded from the loss of their support. He says there is a direct line of causation between his loss of church membership and business loss. It’s likely the case that one caused the other, but that doesn’t mean Wall’s claim is a legally enforceable property right. 
      "A church member is not required to patronize the business of a former church member"
      The reality is, Wall chose to limit his business to Jehovah’s Witnesses and took a personal risk in doing so. The church did not tell him to do so, and certainly there is no known legal principle that says a church is responsible for the economic losses that might flow from a loss of membership. A church member is not required to patronize the business of a former member. In the same way, we would not expect a former husband to maintain business with his ex-wife’s family.
      At last week’s hearing, Wall’s legal counsel tried to persuade the court that, if there are no grounds under Canadian law for the court to interfere in purely religious matters, the court should then consider adopting U.K. law, which does allow this type of review. “Good luck!” Justice Rosalie Abella quipped, prompting everyone to burst into laughter.
      That exchange suggested the court was not persuaded that it is time to change the law to allow courts to get tangled up in reviewing decisions of religious bodies. That would be a good thing, as courts don’t have the moral or legal authority or doctrinal expertise to decide such matters.
      This hearing occurred around the time of the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. If we have learned anything since then, it’s that the law does not need to apply to every nook and cranny of our lives – especially our religious affairs.
      Barry W. Bussey is Director Legal Affairs at the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. He blogs at lawandreligion.org
       
      http://nationalpost.com/opinion/courts-have-no-business-reviewing-religious-decisions
    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The judicial committee of a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses asked the Supreme Court of Canada today to rule that Canadian courts do not have the authority to review the expulsion of one of their members — arguing that judicial review by the courts should not extend to decisions by private and voluntary associations that have no effect on the public at large.
      The Highwood Congregation, located in northwest Calgary, brought its appeal to Ottawa after Randy Wall took the congregation to court for expelling him from the church. The congregation’s judicial committee “disfellowshipped” Wall in the spring of 2014 after his family reported to the group’s elders that he had been drunk on two occasions and was verbally and emotionally abusing them — and after determining he was not “not sufficiently repentant” for those actions.
      After three internal and unsuccessful appeals, Wall applied for judicial review of the congregation’s decision-making process, insisting it was flawed and that the congregation’s judicial committee had “breached the principles of natural justice and the duty to be fair.” Both the Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal in Alberta declared that it is within the jurisdiction of the superior court to review Wall’s case.
      The congregation’s appeal of those two rulings, heard by the Supreme Court Thursday morning, has attracted a lot of attention from legal experts and religious communities across the country. Echoing the congregation’s plea today in the packed Ottawa courtroom were 12 religious, political and civil liberties groups — all of them unanimous in arguing the top court should not interfere in the membership decisions of religious bodies.
      The consequences of such interference, they said, would be detrimental to the self-determination of religious groups.
      “It (would) fundamentally alter our nation and not for the better,” counsel for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms said in court.
      “The wish or desire of one person to associate with an unwilling person (or an unwilling group) is not a legal right of any kind,” the group wrote in its written submission to the Supreme Court. “For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
      This question of jurisdiction is one that has been explored and decided on by the courts — including the Supreme Court of Canada — in the past. Case law shows the top court has recognized the the autonomous ability of religious and private voluntary associations to govern their own affairs and dictate who can and cannot be a member of a congregation.
      The courts have determined, however, there is room to intervene in specific cases when a membership decision turns on property or civil rights — or is of “sufficient importance to deserve the intervention of the court.”
      Wall — who does not dispute the allegations against him that formed the basis of the congregation’s decision to kick him out — argues his case meets those requirements because his “disfellowship” caused him to lose business clients, suffer “significant economic harm” and experience fraught family relations.
      In return, the congregation argues that neither Wall’s property rights, nor his civil rights, were affected by their decision. Justice Russell Brown also remarked during the hearing that “one does not have a justiciable right to earn a living.”
      The congregation also argued that it did not ask or force its members to boycott Wall’s business — but people choose to do so in line with their religious convictions. Counsel for the congregation also said that “the door is not closed” to Wall and he can be reinstated in the congregation in the future.
      More generally, the congregation argued that it would be inappropriate for the courts to review the internal decision-making processes of religious groups because those processes are ecclesiastical.
      In a news release, the Association for Reformed Political Action — one of the 12 intervening groups — said the case before the Supreme Court has “profound implications for the separation of church and state” and it believes the court should maintain a hands-off approach to membership decision-making by religious groups.
      “Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” the association’s director of law and policy, André Schutten, wrote in the statement. “Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere.”
      The Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association took a slightly more nuanced position, arguing in its factum that “there will inevitably be cases where judicial intervention in the decisions of religious groups is ‘warranted'” but courts “should intervene … only in the rare case where required by a prevailing public interest.”
      Thursday’s hearing was heard by all nine justices on the Supreme Court bench. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin said the court will reserve its decision after today’s hearing.
      Overflow seating was set up in the front hall of the Supreme Court to accommodate all the people who came to see the hearing live.
      http://ipolitics.ca/2017/11/02/church-congregation-asks-top-court-to-keep-hands-off-membership-decisions/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A Central Coast man who raped and tortured a succession of women over more than two decades has been sentenced to at least 27 years in jail.
      The 53-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of 55 charges relating to the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of women he lived with between 1988 and 2014.
      The man, who was a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, was accused of raping the women with household objects and detaining them.
      The sadistic nature of the offences included bashing and raping the women for not folding washing correctly, making them eat off the floor, locking them in wardrobes and hog-tying them and placing them face down in a bathtub full of water.
      A number of the women have suffered permanent physical injuries stemming from the abuse.
      One of the women known as JF was locked in a cupboard after calling her sister who contacted police.
      When police visited the home, the offender said she had gone out.
      In her victim impact statement JF said "It's hard to understand the fear unless you have lived with it," and that she "frequently believed she wouldn't be alive the following day".
      In handing down the sentence in the Downing Centre District Court, Justice Sarah Huggett said the man used "gratuitous cruelty ... designed to emphasise a victim's powerlessness and helplessness".
      "When one victim found the strength to escape, he found a replacement," she said.
      "I have no doubt there was foresight, premeditation and planning."
      Justice Huggett said the degree of violence was a relevant consideration in the sentence and that the offender was "frightening, controlling and undermining each victim's sense of security".
      The court heard that while in custody, the man had been verbally aggressive towards visitors and nursing staff.
      The man will be eligible for release in 2041.
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-13/man-who-tortured-women-jailed-27-years/9046326
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      TORONTO.- La demanda acusa a la organización religiosa de tener reglas y políticas que protegen a los que abusan sexualmente de menores y ponen a los niños en riesgo.
      “La política y el protocolo de la organización para hacer frente a las denuncias de abuso sexual está gravemente dañada y resulta en más daño a las víctimas de abuso sexual y en alegatos legítimos de abuso sexual que no se denuncian”, dice el documento.
      “Esta es una cuestión que la comunidad en general debe preocuparse, y no sólo los testigos de Jehová”, dijo Tricia Franginha. Agrega que sus primeros 14 años de vida como Testigo de Jehová fueron llenos con abuso sexual.
      “Como resultado de los procedimientos, cuando se presentan acusaciones de abuso, a estos delincuentes sexuales se les dejan en libertad”, dice Franginha. “Como la mayoría de la gente sabe acerca de los testigos de Jehová, es que ellos son los que vienen a su puerta los sábados por la mañana, cuando sus hijos están en casa y por lo que saben, esa persona ha ofendido más de una vez”.
      Todavía ninguna de las acusaciones en esta demanda ha sido probada en el Tribunal Superior de Ontario. Un portavoz de los Testigos de Jehová dijo que mientras la demanda ha sido presentada, la organización aún no la ha recibido oficialmente, por lo que no pueden comentar los detalles.
      “Los Testigos de Jehová aborrecen el abuso infantil y nunca protegerían a ningún perpetrador”, fue la explicación el portavoz Mattieu Rozon. La organización también dice que los ancianos de la congregación cumplen con las leyes de reportes de abuso infantil.
      Franginha dijo que cuando ella fue a buscar ayuda, fue callada.
      “Cuando tenía alrededor de los 12 años, me dijeron que debía tner dos testigos y que tenía que respetar a mis padres – callarme y no hablar de ello”, explicó.
      La necesidad de que dos testigos corroboren las denuncias de abuso es señalada en la demanda. Las personas que han sido abusadas sexualmente deben presentar dos testigos creíbles de su abuso, explica Franginha, quien añade que los testigos deben ser otros Testigos de Jehová en buen estado en la iglesia.
      “Esto, obviamente, nunca sucede”. “La naturaleza misma del crimen es que es secreto”.
      La demanda también alega que la policía no es llamada cuando las acusaciones de abuso sexual salen a la superficie y en su lugar son manejadas por los veteranos de la iglesia dentro del Salón del Reino.
      “Es nuestra información, basándonos en personas que nos contactaron, que los sistemas que tienen no protegen contra el abuso sucedido, y cuando se hacen denuncias, se toman medidas inadecuadas para asegurar que la queja llegue a las autoridades apropiadas” dice Bryan McPhadden, ayudante de McPhadden Samac Tuovi, que representa a las víctimas.
      Las víctimas buscan $20 millones por daños por abuso sexual y mental perpetradas por personas mayores, $20 millones por no proteger a los niños y otros $20 millones por incumplimiento del deber de cuidado.
      La demanda se espera que tome años para abrirse paso a través de los tribunales.
      Si usted cree que califica para unirse a la demanda colectiva, puede comunicarse con los abogados en www.mcst.ca.
      http://diarioelpopular.com/2017/10/02/demanda-por-66-millones-por-abuso-sexual-presentada-contra-los-testigos-de-jehova/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A group of alleged sexual abuse survivors from across the country have filed a $66-million class action lawsuit against the Jehovah’s Witness, CityNews has learned.
      The suit accuses the religious organization of having rules and policies that protect child sex abusers and put children at risk.
      “The organization’s policy and protocol for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse is seriously flawed, and results in further harm to victims of sexual abuse and results in legitimate allegations of sexual abuse going unreported,” it alleges.
      “This is an issue that the wider community should be concerned with, and not just Jehovah’s Witnesses,” says Tricia Franginha. She says her first 14 years of life as a Jehovah’s Witness were filed with sexual abuse.
      “As a result of their procedures, when abuse allegations come forward, these sexual offenders are left at large,” Franginha says. “As most people know about Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are the ones who come to your door on Saturday mornings, when your kids are home, and for all you know, that person has offended more than once.”
      None of the allegations in this the suit have been tested in Ontario Superior Court. A spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witness says that while the suit has been filed, the organization hasn’t officially received it yet, so they can’t comment on the details.
      “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and would never shield any perpetrator,” says spokesperson Mattieu Rozon. The organization also says congregation elders comply with child abuse reporting laws.
      Franginha says that when she went for help, she was shut down.
      “When I was around 12, I was told that I didn’t have two witnesses and I needed to respect my parents – not to talk about it,” she says.
      The need to have two witnesses corroborate allegations of abuse is singled out in the suit. People who have been sexually abused must present two credible witnesses to their abuse, explains Franginha, who adds that the eyewitnesses must be other Jehovah’s Witnesses in good standing in the church.
      “This, obviously, never happens,” she says. “The very nature of the crime is that it’s secret.”
      The suit also alleges that police are not called when allegations surface and instead they’re handled by church elders inside Kingdom Hall.
      “It is our information, based on people who contacted us, that the systems in place don’t guard against [abuse] happening, and when allegations are made, inadequate measures are in place to ensure that the complaint reaches the proper authorities,” says Bryan McPhadden, laywer at McPhadden Samac Tuovi, which is representing the victims.
      The victims are seeking $20 million for damages from sexual and mental abuse by elders, $20 million for failing to protect children, and another $20 million for breach of duty of care.
      The lawsuit is expected to take years to wind its way through the courts. If you believe you qualify to join the class action suit, you can reach out at www.mcst.ca.
    • Guest
      By Guest
      U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is finishing up the third round of NAFTA negotiations alongside counterparts from Mexico and Canada. 
      They’re talking cars. Right now, a law known as the “rules of origin” states that for a car produced in NAFTA countries, 62.5% of its total value must originate in those countries. BUT there aren’t any country-specific mandates. Expect the U.S., which feels like it’s getting stiffed in vehicle manufacturing, to demand a minimum level of U.S.-made parts.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Recourse to secular courts
      Religious laws apply to a believer's spiritual life. They don't trump Canada's Criminal Code, civil law or other statutes. 
      Sometimes, secular courts are even called upon to judge whether a faith-based decision is fair.
      On Nov. 2, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear from an Alberta man appealing a decision made by a Jehovah's Witnesses' judicial committee.
      Elders disfellowshipped — or expelled — Randy Wall when they decided the Calgary man was not sufficiently repentant for two drunken incidents where he allegedly verbally abused his wife.
      This decision by elders of the congregation required Wall's wife and children to shun him. Wall, a real estate agent, alleges the shunning caused him to lose a large number of Jehovah's Witnesses clients. Courts are sometimes are asked to judge the fairness of a religious rule or decision. The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear the case of a Jehovah's Witness who was expelled for alleged verbal abuse of his wife. (Chris Wattie/Canadian Press)
      In 2007, Canada's top court ruled in favour of a woman who took action against her ex-husband for refusing to grant her a religious Jewish divorce, known as a get.
      "The consequences to women deprived of a get and loyal to their faith are severe," Justice Rosalie Abella wrote.
      "They may not remarry within their faith, even though civilly divorced. If they do remarry, children from a second civil marriage are considered illegitimate and restricted from practising their religion."
      Full article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/shariah-religion-islamophobia-1.4295453
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Un juez ha autorizado a un hospital de Montreal a realizar transfusiones de sangre para tratar a una adolescente de 14 años con cáncer, a pesar de su rechazo porque es testigo de Jehová.
      Al permitir las transfusiones, el tribunal dictaminó que es lícito proteger a los niños, a veces "contra sí mismos", cuando sus decisiones pueden ser fatales.
      Bajo la ley de Quebec, los menores de 14 años pueden rechazar ciertos servicios de salud. Sin embargo, si los padres del niño o un hospital -en este caso, el Centro Universitario de Salud McGill- quieren administrar esos servicios, pueden solicitar el permiso de un juez.
      El juez de la Corte Superior, Lukasz Granosik, dijo en su decisión que la adolescente es "una chica brillante y articulada" que tiene mucho éxito en la escuela y tiene una "madurez más allá de su edad biológica", pero que aún no estaba madura para decidir, y estaba bajo la presión de sus padres que también son testigos de Jehová.
      Granosik también señaló que la niña habló de la muerte con "renuncia", a pesar de tener un 97 por ciento de posibilidades de recuperación si se sometió a tratamiento.
      En junio de 2017, descubrió que tenía linfoma de Hodgkin, una forma de cáncer, y tuvo que comenzar la quimioterapia.
      Este tratamiento, sin embargo, a menudo requiere transfusiones de sangre. Sin ella, la paciente podría morir o sufrir un daño neurológico irreversible, dijo su médico.
      Los Testigos de Jehová no aceptan transfusiones de sangre.
      La decisión del juez Granosik fue rendida el 1 de septiembre.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A judge has authorized a Montreal hospital to perform blood transfusions to treat a 14-year-old teen with cancer, despite her refusal because she is a Jehovah's Witness.
      By allowing transfusions, the court ruled that it is lawful to protect children, sometimes "against themselves," when their decisions can be fatal.
      Under Quebec law, minors over the age of 14 can refuse certain health services. However, if the child’s parents or a hospital--in this case, the McGill University Health Centre--wants to administer those services, they can seek a judge’s permission.
      Superior Court Judge Lukasz Granosik said in his decision that the teen is "a brilliant, articulate girl" who is very successful at school and has a "maturity beyond her biological age," but that she was not yet mature enough to decide for herself, and was under pressure from her parents who are also Jehovah's Witnesses.
      Granosik also noted the girl spoke of death with "resignation," despite having a 97 percent chance of recovery if she underwent treatment.
      In June 2017, she found out she had Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer, and had to begin chemotherapy.
      This treatment, however, often requires blood transfusions. Without it, the patient could die or suffer irreversible neurological damage, her doctor said.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions.
      Judge Granosik’s decision was rendered on Sept. 1.
      - With a report from The Canadian Press
      http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/judge-rules-teen-jehovah-s-witness-will-get-blood-transfusions-1.3599245
    • By Bible Speaks
      QUEBEC, CANADA
      A judge orders a 14-Year-old witness to be baptized with blood.
      A judge from Quebec has decided that a 14-Year-old Jehovah's witness who has cancer must undergo blood transfusions, despite his express desire not to receive them.
      The Adolescent, who is not named, learned in June that she has hodgkin's lymphoma, a rare form of cancer affecting white blood cells. He has an excellent survival rate, if it's early.
      Treatment involves chemotherapy, which often requires blood transfusions. But as Jehovah's witness, the faith of the girl states that it is against God's desires to consume or be transfused with any blood.
      The girl, who had just turned 14 at the time of her diagnosis, refused to accept any transfusion.
      Under the québec law, children under the age of 14 may reject certain health services. However, if the parents of the child or a hospital want to administer these services, they may request the permission of a judge.
      In his decision issued earlier this month, judge lukasz granosik noted that the girl had embraced his religion at an early age and was baptized at 12 years of his own agreement.
      McGill University Health Center, where the girl was being treated, argued that the girl was not mature enough to make those decisions and was under the pressure of her parents to refuse transfusions.
      In his judgement, granosik noted that the girl was brilliant and expressive, but also said he was talking about death "almost with resignation".
      Noting that the law is designed to protect children even from themselves, he ordered the girl to submit to any blood transfusion necessary to save his life
      The girl's Hematologist-oncologist says that the girl's prognosis with full treatment is excellent, with 97 percent of recovery possibilities.
      The hospital has promised to use blood transfusions only if the child's life is in danger, and use other methods to avoid transfusions when possible.
      No update on the current adolescent health status is known.
      http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/quebec-judge-orders-jehovah-s-witness-14-to-undergo-blood-transfusions-1.3599486

    • By Bible Speaks
      The Quebec court requests the adoption of a collective demand for sexual abuse against Jehovah's witnesses
      A trial proposes to accuse the leadership of the religious organization in Canada and the United States to protect alleged abusers
      The lawsuit is looking for $ 250.000 per plaintiff for moral and punitive damages.
      Radio-Canada says that, if approved by the court, collective action will be the first of its kind against Jehovah's witnesses, a religious movement that is already the subject of several individual trials in the United States.
      It is now up to the québec high court to determine whether the application is sufficiently substantiated to authorize collective action.
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-court-asked-to-approve-sexual-abuse-class-action-lawsuit-against-jehovah-s-witnesses-1.4293138

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Quebec provincial police are investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by two members of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Mont-Laurier in the Laurentians, Radio-CanadaÂ’s investigative program Enquête has learned.
      Both men have been sanctioned through the churchÂ’s internal disciplinary process for dealing with allegations of child abuse, but congregation elders did not share their findings with civil authorities.
      One of the men being investigated, Michel Courtemanche, who has been expelled from the congregation, was acquitted of charges of sexual assault and indecent assault in 1996.
      However, the Sûreté du Québec has renewed its investigation of Courtemanche and has begun investigating another man, former congregation elder Georges Leclerc, based on new evidence from at least seven alleged victims.
      Leclerc has been stripped of his status as an elder, but he has not been arrested or charged, and he refused to speak with Enquête.
      Courtemanche has not been arrested or charged as a result of the new investigation and denies the allegations against him. In an interview with Enquête, he pointed to his 1996 acquittal.
      “My answer is there was a judgment on this based on very precise facts, and I was acquitted,” he said.
      At least 7 potential victims, police say
      Enquête spoke with Pénélope Herbert, the woman whose allegations of repeated sexual assaults starting when she was just 10 led to Courtemanche’s 1996 trial.  
      Carolle Poudrier, now in her mid-40s, also told Enquête of alleged sexual contact by Courtemanche, over a period of months when she was 11.
      In the case of Herbert, she said the assaults continued until she was 17 — even after her family moved from Mont-Laurier.
      “He would come to our house to say hello and would sleep over,” Herbert, now 42, told Enquête. “Those nights, he would come to my room. We’re talking total rape, those nights.”
      Carolle Poudrier told Enquête of alleged sexual contact by Michel Courtemanche, over a period of months when she was 11. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada)
      Enquête has learned the SQ has interviewed more than 40 people, of whom seven have been identified as potential victims of either Courtemanche or Leclerc.
      Four of the seven, including Herbert and Poudrier, have now filed formal complaints with police. SQ spokesperson Martine Asselin told Enquête they’re now seeking other possible victims and witnesses.
      “We’re looking to identify other potential victims who perhaps feel they’re alone and aren’t ready to talk,” Asselin said.
      “They should know that investigators are ready to meet with them and witnesses.”
      Both men were friends
      According to Enquête, Leclerc and Courtemanche were friends around the time Herbert’s parents lodged an internal complaint with the congregation about the alleged assaults on their daughter.
      Leclerc was, as a congregation elder, a senior member of the congregation who is responsible for providing religious guidance and ruling on disciplinary matters.
      Enquête said Leclerc allegedly did not speak to Herbert to learn the details of her complaint, as required by Jehovah’s Witness protocols in such matters.
      Courtemanche was later reprimanded and allowed to remain in the congregation.
      Georges Leclerc and Michel Courtemanche were friends around the time Pénélope Herbert’s parents lodged an internal complaint with the congregation, according to Enquête. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada)
      Disillusioned with how the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses had handled her complaint, Herbert took her allegations to police in 1995.
      Courtemanche remained a Jehovah’s Witness after his acquittal but was expelled in 2014, Enquête found, after two other women filed internal complaints alleging he had assaulted them as minors.
      Leclerc remains with the Mont-Laurier congregation, but Enquête says he was stripped of his elder duties after at least three women filed complaints internally with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, alleging he had assaulted them when they were minors.
      Police, youth protection not notified of allegations
      According to Enquête, the first time police investigated Herbert’s allegations against Courtemanche in the mid-1990s, they were not aware Carolle Poudrier’s parents had also alleged Courtemanche had assaulted their daughter.
      Poudrier’s parents were members of a congregation in Terrebonne, just north of Montreal, and had filed their complaint there — not with Courtemanche’s congregation in Mont-Laurier.
      Poudrier alleged that Courtemanche, who was working for her dad, would make her sit on his lap so he could caress and tickle her, which made her uneasy. A few months later, he kissed her twice.
      “He asked me if I’d ever kissed anyone, and he put his tongue in my mouth. I found that disgusting,” Poudrier told Enquête.
      After she told her parents and they complained, Poudrier was made to recount what happened to a congregational elder in the presence of her father.
      Carolle Poudrier told what happened to a congregational elder in the presence of her father. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada)
      “I was really stressed talking about sexual matters with a man I didn’t know, in front of my father. It was embarrassing,” Poudrier said.
      She said the elder thanked her for telling him what had happened and said that “he was there to take care of it.”
      In a lawyer’s letter to Radio-Canada, the elder in question, John MacEwan, said he knew Poudrier’s family but denied meeting with them concerning allegations against Courtemanche.
      When asked by Enquête if the Terrebonne congregation had shared the complaint against Courtemanche with his Mont-Laurier congregation, MacEwan refused to answer.
      Neither police nor youth protection authorities were ever notified of the alleged assaults on Poudrier.
      The JehovahÂ’s Witnesses leadership, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, has given preference to internal judicial procedures and protocols for dealing with matters such as child abuse.
      Carolle PoudrierÂ’s father, left, had worked with Michel Courtemanche, right. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada)
      “In some jurisdictions, individuals who learn of an allegation of child abuse may be obligated by law to report the allegation to the secular authorities,” an internal memo to elders from 2016 reads.
      “In all cases, the victim and her parents have the absolute right to report an allegation to the authorities.”
      When it comes to sharing information with outside authorities, however, the leadership has insisted on maintaining confidentiality, citing privacy and the ecclesiastical privilege conferred by confessions.
      Enquête found there are as many as 30 steps a Jehovah’s Witness must take before that person is allowed to testify in court or furnish civil authorities with church documents, when it comes to matters of child abuse.
      “When you study the process, you realize it’s really a process for avoiding, a system for protecting the reputation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses,”  said Marilou Lagacé, a former Witness interviewed by Enquête.
      New instructions regarding allegations of child sexual abuse
      A recent royal commission in Australia found the JehovahÂ’s Witness church there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members over a 60-year period. Not one allegation had been reported to authorities outside the church.
      With pressure mounting in the wake of that royal commission and other allegations of sexual abuse of children in its ranks, on Sept. 1, the Watchtower Society issued new instructions regarding allegations of child sexual abuse.
      Those instructions recognize child sexual abuse as a crime and assert that members should be “clearly informed that they have the right” to report an allegation of abuse to police.
      “The congregation’s handling of an accusation of child sexual abuse is not intended to replace the secular authority’s handling of the matter,” the Sept. 1 letter reads.
      “Therefore, the victim, her parents, or anyone else who reports such an allegation to the elders should be clearly informed that they have the right to report the matter to the secular authorities.
      Elders do not criticize anyone who chooses to make such a report.”

      http://www.news.club/quebec-police-probe-possible-cases-of-child-sexual-abuse-in-jehovahs-witnesses-congregation/
    • By Bible Speaks
      Have you attended the 2017 Don't Give Up convention yet? How many people attended? My convention was held in June, and was tied into the Special Convention in Toronto, where we had the privilege of listening to Brother Herd give a talk all 3 days! ?
      ~ Tap on Link to Video MP4 ___
      Video by @hcastrojr -
       
       
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