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@AllenSmith enough is enough with you guys here in JW land.... cease and desist. I've warned you before to stick to the issues and leave the personal attacks elsewhere.  

All witness testimony requires some level of interpretation does it not? No less so 'forensic evidence' surely. That's where the professional input comes in. Prompt reporting to the authorities would (hopefully) enable due attention to be given to safety of actual and potential victim(s) and initiate the appropriate type of investigation to deal with the criminal element of the matter. Let's face it, if you found someone hit by a car in the road, you would call for professional help immedia

Yes, true of course. But I think the point is that as JWs, the elders, (and any member of the congregation really), if they have reasonable evidence or a suspicion of child sexual abuse, they should report it to the authorities, like they would with the reasonable evidence or suspicion of any other crime..... Possible. But still doesn't change what I said above. By the way, you all might know this already, regarding today's hearing (case 54) copies of either the pdf or word docs are

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Justice McLellan: "If the organisation doesn't acknowledge that they were abused, that imposes a great burden on them, doesn't it?"
Mr O'Brien: "We don't disbelieve a person who makes an accusation. That's why we investigate every accusation brought forward by the elders."
Justice McLellan: "Yes, but if there are not two witnesses you don't accept it, do you?"
Mr O'Brien: "Because scripturally we're not able to."

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According to that EXACT same reasoning .... IF I MURDERED SOMEONE ( ... my Doctor recommended that I should kill the people that irritate me ... not exactly in those same words ... he said I needed to reduce my stress level ...) , and there was ONLY one Witness ... I would get a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card from the Congregational  Elders ... AND they would not report me to the Police, OR sanction me Congregationaly .... as there was ONLY one Witness.

.They would be obligated to report me IF ... they learned I was GOING to kill someone ...  but without two witnesses the ONE Witness that SAW me kill someone ... it would be my word against his, and according to current INSANE doctrine ... the Elders would be required to "Leave it in Jehovah's hands".

This is what happens when you extrapolate the rules that were for a SPECIFIC time period, and worked in a SPECIFIC culture to include all people, everywhere. 

FAILURE !

..... excuse me ... I have to practice my Mad Scientist maniacal laughter while rubbing on copious amounts of hand lotion ....

They REAL reason that we have the shunning policy where rational humans are NOT ALLOWED to talk to each ... is it has to be kept hidden ... where the "bodies" are.

  .... and of course ... there is that awkward moment when you are burying a body in the back yard ... and find other bodies.

 

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48 minutes ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Doesn't a professional opinion count as a second witness??

I think it does to a point. But regardless whether it does or not, if a professional opinion finds the alleged perpetrator guilty, then he/she will be dealt with accordingly and the brothers can then also act accordingly. The problem arises when a suspect is not reported to the authorities and the brothers try and establish facts by themselves....the brothers really should not try and investigate, and should report it to relevant authorities as soon as possible. 

So what I want to say is that I think the two witness rule will become irrelevant and will only be used in congregational judicial settings when secular authorities find the perpetrator not guilty.

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34 minutes ago, AllenSmith said:

That’s an interesting observation. Let's perform a séance to call on the ancient powers to speak with Caylee Marie Anthony, Nicole Brown Simpson, Jimmy Hoffa, the Black Dahlia, the Lindberg Baby, oh yeah! Jack the ripper to get input from both sides.

 

And all the unsolved crimes that pass through the legal secular system that is, supposed to have the “best” forensics available. Talk about watching too much “fake” news, this thread is a good example. But, how boring would this world be without exaggeration and sensationalism? When the “VICTIM gets further victimized by the “very” people that are paid to “Protect” and “Serve” the victim by covering up the allegation to protect high officials, or the government itself.

 

REPOST: UNITED KINGDOM
Reuters

Britain's inquiry into historical child sex abuse, dogged by problems since it was launched three years ago and leading to the resignation of three chairmen, finally began holding its first public hearings on Monday.

The inquiry, one of its largest and most expensive ever undertaken, was set up in July 2014 by now-Prime Minister Theresa May in her former role as interior minister after a series of shocking abuse scandals dating back decades, some involving celebrities and politicians.

It is expected to take some five years to complete.

In a number of cases, victims said institutions had actively covered up cases at the behest of powerful establishment figures including senior lawmakers, spies and police officers.

"This is an important day for the work of the inquiry," chairman Alexis Jay said. "Today marks ... the opening of the first public hearing in which the inquiry will hear live and read evidence from complainants."

Posted by Kathy Shaw

No one is saying if you take an allegation of child sexual abuse to the authorities all will be solved. Of course there is no guarantee of that. Just like there are unconvicted murderers running lose, there will be unconvicted child molesters running lose. The point is, just like suspect murderers should be reported, so should suspect child sexual abusers be reported. Both are crimes.

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37 minutes ago, Ann O'Maly said:

It's more like 'forensic evidence' that counts as a 'second witness.'

However, where is that documented in the elder guidelines?

All witness testimony requires some level of interpretation does it not? No less so 'forensic evidence' surely. That's where the professional input comes in.

Prompt reporting to the authorities would (hopefully) enable due attention to be given to safety of actual and potential victim(s) and initiate the appropriate type of investigation to deal with the criminal element of the matter. Let's face it, if you found someone hit by a car in the road, you would call for professional help immediately to deal with both injury and safety, as well as investigating the cause, would you not?

In the case of abuse, the spritual side could then proceed, greatly facilitated if there was a witness issue. However, if an arrest had taken place there may well be challenges to the progressing of a judicial matter from the congregational standpoint.

Not sure I recall this aspect ever being discussed, let alone documented, although there was vague reference to circumstantial evidence in the form of "trauma" serving as a "witness" in both Case Study 29 and 54.

As for the inevitable "slagging" of secular authorities that occurs in discussion threads on this matter, this serves about as much purpose as that done in connection with JW attempts to handle this heinous crime and, quite frankly, for me, obscures the real issue, which is the protection of children and the successful prosecution of those who abuse them.

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12 minutes ago, AllenSmith said:

So if you're going to be judgmental, then be equal across the board. When it comes to child safety, there’s no clear solution by “anyone”, other than a new system of things, but as a human race, we “all” fail.

Yes, true of course. But I think the point is that as JWs, the elders, (and any member of the congregation really), if they have reasonable evidence or a suspicion of child sexual abuse, they should report it to the authorities, like they would with the reasonable evidence or suspicion of any other crime.....

1 hour ago, AllenSmith said:

This “leaked” report has to be viewed with skepticism since the Excel document was not protected, and anyone could have made changes.

Possible. But still doesn't change what I said above.

By the way, you all might know this already, regarding today's hearing (case 54) copies of either the pdf or word docs are available for download on the ARC website.

This is an extract from the opening address regarding what happened with the 1006 alleged perpetrators who were never reported to the police:

Page 12-13

1.                In Case Study 29, Watchtower Australia produced 5,000 documents comprising, among other things, case files relating to 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse dating back to 1950. Officers at the Royal Commission reviewed these case files and as a result the Royal Commission referred information in relation to 514 alleged perpetrators to police in accordance with its power under 6P(1) of the Royal Commissions Act 1902.

            Of the remaining 492 alleged perpetrators identified in the case files, officers at the Royal Commission determined that there was either   insufficient evidence in the case files to warrant referring matters to police or that the matters had already come to the attention of police.

 

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Also:

                  The Royal Commission will hear evidence that of the 17 allegations of child sexual abuse that the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia have received since Case Study 29, they have reported 15 allegations to the authorities.  In both cases that were not reported, the adult survivors of historical abuse elected not to report and the Jehovah’s Witness organisation abided their decisions.

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11 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

In my neck of the woods, the process was clear cut. The majority of Elders would place the safety of the victim first. Even with just an accusation, in my culture, those Elders would chastise the accused without evidence. That was then, and the humanist society changed. Regardless of the secular authorities handling the criminal investigation which needs a heavier burden of proof, the body of Elders would decide on the lesser preponderance of, evidence.

I've been involved in looking into matters of immorality (fornication, "loose conduct" etc) but have only seen a child abuse case from a distance. I would agree however that not all elders are the same. So I can't speak for the reaction to a case of child abuse, but I would certainly guess that you are right in that elders would surely place the safety of the victim first even if they could not prove that the accused was guilty.

But in areas of immorality, elders don't always agree on recognizing the victim. I've seen cases where two sinners were treated equally wrong, but have also seen cases where the majority of elders missed a victim-in-the-making or treated the victim with more punishment than the aggressor.

  • There's the all-too-typical case of a brother who takes advantage of a sister who lives alone, and offers to do things for her around her house, making sure that he gradually stays around later and later, stays for a meal and a TV show and finally "pushes the envelope" to see where a backrub or a massage might lead.
  • There's the sister who has too much to drink and a brother claims to have been seduced.
  • There's the sister-down-the-street who just happened to notice a brother's car parked overnight in "Sister Pioneer's" driveway.

In that last case, we know that both parties to the overnight guest have been disfellowshipped for denying the sin, and thus being both unrepentant. That is surely a case where the elders decide without a heavy burden of proof (and only one witness!)

The case of the tipsy sister, I have seen blamed on the sister as seductress, so that hers was the greater punishment.

The brothers who worm their way into a single or widowed sister's home are usually both considered equally guilty even if it takes months for the prowling brother to discover the moment of weakness.

The exposure and discussion of these matters is making us all more aware and more attuned to the right action to take.

11 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

What should be done if the “victim” and the “guardian” plea to the Elders NOT to contact the local authorities, as was the case in Australia?

My wife, serving as principal of a high school with nearly 3,000 students has had to deal with this a couple of times. As a mandatory reporter she has been screamed at and begged not to turn in an incestuous abuser in one case, and a physically violent abuser in another. But it's the law. The best you can do sometimes is to get a social worker, or CPS rep to take over, but sometimes a mandatory reporter ends up breaking a family apart. It's the nature of the law, but more importantly, it's the nature of the crime.

Of course the most insidious thing about institutional response to following the rules about contacting local authorities, is that, especially in religious institutions, there is the expectation that no one will believe you. It is often a person taking advantage of their authority and position in the first place. This makes the victim expect that even civil authorities will do nothing. When a priest, elder, deacon, or branch overseer is the perpetrator, then it's even worse: the victim and victim's guardians expect not to be believed. Guardians, other elders, and most of the entire congregation aren't expected to really believe the victim either. 

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5 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Prompt reporting to the authorities would (hopefully) enable due attention to be given to safety of actual and potential victim(s) and initiate the appropriate type of investigation to deal with the criminal element of the matter.

The average time between the abuse and the time of reporting that abuse is still about 30 years. So the kinds of forensics are quite different from a car accident, or what can be found in a "rape kit" for example.

 

5 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Not sure I recall this aspect ever being discussed, let alone documented, although there was vague reference to circumstantial evidence in the form of "trauma" serving as a "witness" in both Case Study 29 and 54.

I wanted to interpret that into the "circumstantial" evidence mentioned, too. Disappointing not to see this show up in documentation. Also disappointed to see so many "holes" in our own documentation that were so easily pointed out by the ARC. Also saw about three openings made in the Spinks/O'Brien testimony that could hurt us further. One was, of course, the huge discrepancy between in trying to define the age of "approaching adulthood" admitted to be 16-17 generally, then anecdotally to 15, and then later aligned with the age of baptism! It was fortunate that Stewart didn't realize that this places the age back to as young as 8 years old.

5 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

However, if an arrest had taken place there may well be challenges to the progressing of a judicial matter from the congregational standpoint.

It adds an element that almost makes the congregational judicial matter moot. If the person is arrested and the matter becomes public, then there is already going to be a loss of congregational privileges. If there is a court case, how would it look if a judicial committee found the person "unchargeable" (not necessarily innocent) while the civil courts found him guilty. If the courts did not establish guilt, it is quite unlikely that the congregation could, yet we would be so wary of a repetition that the loss of position and privileges (along with probable monitoring to some extent)  would produce the appearance of guilt even if the accused were potentially innocent.

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