By Srecko Sostar
Inquiry announces new investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings
2 May 2019 The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has announced a new investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings.
The investigation will be thematic and will review the current child protection policies, practices and procedures in religious institutions in England and Wales.
Organisations falling under the remit of this investigation will include non conformist Christian denominations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism. This investigation is separate from our investigations into the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.
Religious settings such as mosques, synagogues, churches and temples are in scope. Places of faith tuition such as Muslim madrassahs and Christian Sunday schools and places where children and young people gather in connection with their religious beliefs, including youth groups and camps will also be investigated by the Inquiry.
More than one in 10 survivors of child sexual abuse (11 per cent) who shared their accounts with the Inquiry’s Truth Project reported sexual abuse in a religious institution. Of this group, almost a quarter (24 percent) told the Inquiry they were abused in institutions in scope of this new investigation, including Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists, Judaism and Islam. Not all participants provided details about the religious denomination of the institution or perpetrator.
Organisations and individuals are being invited to apply for core participant status. Core participants must have a significant interest in this investigation and have special rights defined by legislation.
A preliminary hearing will take place at 2pm on 23 July 2019 and public hearings will take place in 2020.
By Guest Nicole
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left hospital after the arrival of their third child, a boy.
The couple's second son, who was born at 11:01 BST, weighing 8lb 7oz, is fifth in line to the throne.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte had visited their brother at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London.
Leaving the hospital Prince William said the couple were very happy, before holding up three fingers and joking he had "thrice the worry now".
"We didn't keep you waiting too long this time," he added.
When someone asked him whether the couple had decided on a name, he said: "You'll find out soon enough."
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43864933
“JehovahÂ’s Witness kids grow up knowing that if they ever mess up, their parents will leave them Â— and thatÂ’s scary,Â” Sawyer, now 38, said in a recent interview from her home in Pascagoula, Miss.Â Â“The shunning is supposed to make us miss them so much that weÂ’ll come back. Â… It didnÂ’t work.Â”
Sawyer and many others like her are now denouncing the church's shunning practicesÂ in the wake of a recent murder-suicideÂ in Keego Harbor that killed a family of four ex-JehovahÂ’s Witnesses who were ostracizedÂ afterÂ leaving the faith. The deaths sparked outrage among scores of ex-JWs nationwide who took to Facebook, online forums, blogs and YouTube, arguing the tragedy highlights a pervasive yet rarely-publicized problem within the church: Shunning is pushingÂ the most vulnerable people over the edge, they say, and tearing families apart.
In the Michigan case, aÂ distraught mother shot and killed her husband, her two grown childrenÂ and herself in theirÂ Keego Harbor home, shockingÂ the small and quiet Oakland County community.
The shooter was Lauren Stuart, a part-time model and personal trainer who struggled with depression and spent much of her time working on her house, her friends say.Â She and her husband, Daniel Stuart, 47, left the JW faith more than a decade ago over doctrinal and social issues. Among them was their desire to send their kids to college, which many ex-JWs say is frowned upon by the church and viewed as spiritually dangerous.
Â“University and college campuses are notorious for bad behavior Â— drug and alcohol abuse, immorality, cheating, hazing, and the list goes on,Â”Â a 2005 article inÂ the Watchtower, the church's official publication, stated.
But the Stuarts sent both their kids to college: Steven, 27, excelled in computers, just like his father, who was a data solutions architect for the University of Michigan Medical School.Â Bethany, 24, thrived in art and graphic design. Â After the parents left the faith, the Stuarts were ostracized by the Kingdom Hall Â—Â the churchesÂ where Jehovah's Witnesses worship Â—Â community in Union Lake and their families, friends said.
Lauren Stuart, whose mother died of cancer when she was 12,Â struggled with mental illness that went untreated;Â isolation and fears that the end was near, said friends and officials familiar with the case. One friend who requested anonymity said she believes the killing was the result of depression, not religion.
"This is a tragedy that has to do with a disease. Depression is so prevalent, and when it goes untreated this is what happens," the friend said. "She needed medical help."
Longtime family friend Joyce Taylor believes depression, shunning and religion-based doomsday fearsÂ all played a role. She said that about six weeks before the killings, Lauren started getting religiously preoccupied andÂ telling her "'It's the end times, I know it is.'"
Weeks later, Taylor saw her friend again. Lauren had a vacant look in her eyes. She was emotionally distressed.
A week later, with her home decorated for Valentine's Day, Lauren Stuart killed her family. She left behind a suicide note.
"She said in the suicide note that she felt that byÂ killing them it was the only way to save them," recalled Taylor, who said police let herÂ read the letter. "She said she's sorry that she has to do this, but it was the only way to save them all."Â
Taylor, a former Jehovah's WitnessÂ herself who left the faith in 1986, explained: "Jehovah's WitnessesÂ believe that if you die on this side of Armageddon, you'll be resurrected in paradise."
In Lauren Stuart's case, Taylor believes her friend never deprogrammedÂ after leaving the church Â— a stateÂ she describes asÂ Â "physically out, butÂ mentally in." She believes that Lauren'sÂ indoctrinated doomsday fearsÂ never left her, and that the shunning helped pushÂ her over the edge.
Had she not beenÂ excommunicatedÂ by her tight-knit community that wasÂ once her entire support system Â— left with no one to share her fears with Â—Â Lauren Stuart may not have done what she did, Taylor believes.
"People do things when they are desperate," Taylor said. "And that was an extreme, desperate act."
ShunningÂ "can lead to great trauma among people because the Jehovah's Witnesses are a very tight-knit community,"Â saidÂ Mathew Schmalz, a religious studies associate professor at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
"If you're separated out, you're really left to your own devices in ways that are very challenging and very painful," Schmalz said. "Once you leave a group that's been your whole life Â— letting that go is a kind of death."
Police have not yet disclosed details about the death of the Stuart family besides calling it a murder-suicide.
The tragedy has emboldened many once-quiet ex-JWs to speak up. Many sayÂ they suffered quietly on their own for years until they discovered an online community full of isolated, ostracized people like themselves Â— people who had lost someone to suicide or attempted suicide themselves because their families, friends and church community had written them off for making mistakes, for being human.Â
The church calls it being "disfellowshipped." Members can return if they repent, change the behavior and prove themselves worthy of being reinstated. But unless or until that happens, members are encouraged to avoid the sinners, especially those who leave the faith.
Mothers go years, even decades, without talking to their children. Siblings write off siblings. Friends shun friends.
An estimated 70,000 JehovahÂ’s Witnesses are disfellowshipped every year Â— roughly 1% of the churchÂ’s total population, according to data published by the Watchtower. Their names are published at local Kingdom Halls. Of those, two-thirds never return.
Within a faith representing 8.4Â million people worldwide, however, many members believe the religion is pure, good and loving. Those who are speaking against it,Â current members argue, are disgruntled and angry people who have an ax to grind because they were disfellowshipped. Or, they are lost souls who have misinterpreted the meaning and love behind the faith. Members say they believe the shunning accusations are exaggerated andÂ that the suicides are often more about mental illness than ostracism.
The departed disagree. Â
In the world ofÂ ex-JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, they maintain, the shunned are considered dead to their families, just like the suicide victims.Â
These are their stories:
Â‘A dangerous cultÂ’
It was a difficult conversation to wrap her 8-year-old brain around.
Â“Â‘You know your sister was being bad, right?Â’Â“ Sawyer recalled her mother telling her after her sister's suicide.
Â“ Â‘And what she did was stupid, right?Â’ Â… To take your own life is very wrong,' "Â the mother continued.
Â“I didnÂ’t understand what was going on Â… and I said, Â‘Oh. OK,,Â’ Â“ recalled Sawyer. Â“In my 8-year-old brain I was thinking, Â‘When I mess up, my momÂ’s going to hate me.Â’ "
And so began her painful journey with the JehovahÂ’s Witness faith, the religion she was born into and grew upÂ in in Pascagoula, Miss., where her fears of abandonment took hold at the age of 8.Â
Sawyer believes the shunning drove her sister to suicide. After the church disfellowshipped her for getting engaged to a non-JW, theÂ fiancÃ©Â left her sister, who was thrown into depression. Her sister tried turning to her mother for consolation, but her mom would read scripture and tell her, "until you start acting right, youÂ’re going to have these bad things happen to you.Â“
Bad things happened to Sawyer, too. At 30, she sought a divorce from her husband because he wasÂ abusive and cheating on her, she said.Â But the church elders and family pressured her to save her marriage.
Â“I showed them the holes in my walls,Â” Sawyer said, referring to the damage her ex-husband did to the home during fights. Â“They told me to pray more Â… and sent me back home to him.Â”
Sawyer took up smoking to handle the stress, which got her disfellowshipped becauseÂ smoking is not allowed. She also went through with the divorce.Â She ended up losing her home to foreclosure and turned to her mother for help as she had two children to raise.
Â Her mother took her in temporarily, but when the church elders found out, they threatened to disfellowship SawyerÂ’s mother Â— who let the grandkids stay, but not the daughter.Â
Sawyer ended up homeless for six months, living out of her car in a community college parking lot. She landed on her feet with the help of a student loan. She got an apartment, a job as a hospice nurse and her children Â— now 10 and 18 Â— back. She found herself, but lost her family along the way.
Her mother doesnÂ’t speak to her; she said she canÂ’t recall the last time they spoke.
Her sister in Alabama hasnÂ’t spoken to her since Sawyer got divorced in 2010.
Â“She was on my porch, with my parents Â… My sister looked at me and said, Â‘YouÂ’re abandoning me just like Donna didÂ’ And left. And that'sÂ the last thing she ever said to me."
Sawyer has kept silent about her pain for decades.
Â“This is a dangerous cult,Â” she said of her former religion. Â“ItÂ’s important for people to realize Â— Â this is serious.Â”Â
Read the rest of the story here:
By Guest Nicole
Plans to build a new place of worship on a storage container site in Ingoldisthorpe have been given the go ahead. West Norfolk Council’s planning committee approved proposals for the new building and car parking spaces at Coaly Lane at a meeting on Monday. The plans, submitted by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, said the new Jehovah’s Witnesses premises would provide a replacement facility for the existing meeting place at Hunstanton Road in Heacham. According to reports submitted to the committee, the building would be located on the western end of the site which has no standing containers at present. Andy Griffin, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said: “They have been searching for a suitable premises to replace their current one for over 12 years. “It is badly in need of renovation with no parking provision, so elderly people find it very difficult to walk there.” The committee was told that the parking arrangements at the current premises are unsuitable, meaning that vehicles are often parked at the side of the road. Mr Griffin said on average there would be 15 cars attending main meetings twice a week, but the plans included 30 spaces to ensure there is an “oversupply”. He said the absence of commercial vehicles would “further improve” the safety of Coaly Lane for pedestrians. Committee member Avril Wright said she disagreed with the suggestion that there is heavy traffic on Coaly Lane. “There is hardly any traffic on that road now – it’s mostly used for dog walking and leisure use,” she said. Relocating the meeting place would also benefit traffic in Heacham, one member claimed. Terry Parish said: “By moving this hall, you would remove the traffic problems on Hunstanton Road.” Members expressed concerns regarding tree species at the site, as well as light pollution. The committee voted to approve the plans, with conditions that the premises only be used between 8am and 10pm, that the trees on the site be protected and that the authority would receive full details of a lighting scheme.
Read more at: https://www.lynnnews.co.uk/news/plans-for-new-place-of-worship-in-ingoldisthorpe-given-green-light-1-8371888
By Guest Nicole
A lawsuit is now settled between a former victim of sexual abuse and Jehovah's Witnesses. According to the court's website, the case is under a "conditional settlement." The terms and conditions of the settlement are not public.
José Lopez filed the lawsuit back in 2012, nearly 20 years after church elder Gonzalo Campos molested him and several other young children who were members of the Linda Vista congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
As reported by the Reader, Campos, who fled to Mexico to escape criminal charges, admitted to committing the acts to Lopez’s and another victim's attorney, Devin Storey, while giving testimony in one of the cases.
“I touched him in his private parts,” Campos testified.
Attorney Storey: “Did you touch his penis?”
Storey: “Did you penetrate him?”
Campos: “Yes. Yes.”
Storey: “How many times?”
Campos: “More than once. I don’t know.”
In 2009, five other alleged victims sued the Watchtower and Bible and Tract Society of New York, the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses, over the molestation by Campos and the Watchtower's refusal to act.
That case settled for an undisclosed amount in 2012, the same year that Lopez filed his lawsuit and a year before another victim, Osbaldo Padron, filed his.
Then, in 2015, a state court judge ruled that the Watchtower had failed to cooperate with discovery in the Lopez case. The judge awarded a $13.5 million judgment in favor of Lopez.
The Watchtower later appealed the decision and managed to get the decision rescinded and promised to produce the requested documents.
Meanwhile, a fight over documents was also occurring in Padron's case, the one filed shortly after Lopez’s lawsuit.
At issue was Watchtower’s refusal to turn over a letter from headquarters that asked for the names of alleged sexual abusers in the church.
But at the same time other documents had been released by the Linda Vista congregation, which showed the congregation and headquarters were aware that Campos had sexually assaulted young boys and a girl but still considered him eligible to return to the congregation.
“In our meeting with him he said he was very repentant for what he did,” wrote an elder at Linda Vista's congregation to Watchtower headquarters in New York in 1999.
“He stated that he wanted to return to Jehovah. He is willing to face the victims and ask their forgiveness. He now wants to obey Jehovah. Before, when he would speak to people on the platform he would not meditate on what he was doing. Although he needed to confess, he felt shameful and had fear of mankind. He would deceive himself thinking that he could continue serving as an elder. Now he realized that he could not change without help. Ever since his expulsion he has not abused anyone. He has read articles of the publications regarding his sin. He says he does not see or read pornographic information. He stated that ever since expulsion he has worked on having a relationship with Jehovah and the expulsion has served to strengthen him spiritually. He does not miss meetings, and he even takes notes of the program. He also said that he is willing to continue accepting Jehovah’s discipline.”
While the two sides continued to fight over discovery in the Lopez case, another judge issued sanctions against the Watchtower for refusing to turn over documents in the Padron case.
The Watchtower also appealed that decision as well.
As covered by the Reader, in November a state appellate court rejected the appeal, sending the case back to state court and keeping the $4000-per-day sanctions in place.
Meanwhile, as the Padron case was heading back to state court, attorneys for Lopez and Watchtower agreed to settle the Lopez case.
Lopez’s attorney, Irwin Zalkin, did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication of this article.
There is no word yet whether Padron's case has also been settled. A hearing is scheduled for next month.
By Guest Nicole
Reclaimed Voices, a foundation set up in the Netherlands to denounce sexual abuse by Jehovah's Witnesses, received 46 reports of abuse in just a week's time. The number of reports is shocking, Frank Huiting, one of the founders and himself a victim of sexual abuse in a closed Jehovah's Witnesses community as a child, said to broadcaster NOS.
The foundation was launched just over a week ago, based on Huiting's own experiences. He was abused from the time he was seven year's old. When Huiting told his parents, they decided not to report it to the police. An elder in the community advised against it. "Then there will be headlines in the newspaper and we don't want that."
According to the Reclaimed Voices initiators, victims within the closed Jehovah's Witnesses community are not heard and perpetrators are left to continue unchecked. Over the past week, foundation employees heard stories from a number of people who were abused by Jehovah's Witnesses. "The fact that so many reports have come in actually says enough. There are at least hundreds of cases in the Netherlands that should actually come out", Huiting said, according to NOS. He added that so many victims are too afraid to come forward.
The main purpose of Reclaimed Voices is to be a listening ear. The employees urge victims to speak out, and hope that they also report the abuse. "People walked around with this secret for years. And the fact that they are coming out, can be a relief for them. That was also my experience. We also want to advise them to seek professional help. Also outside the religious community, for example with a social worker, psychologist or general practitioner", Huiting said.
The foundation aims to collect as man reports of sexual abuse as possible and present them to the board of Jehovah's Witnesses Netherlands and the Dutch government. "We want to get the government to investigate these abuses. And not to start a fight, but really to focus on the victim."
Earlier this year Dutch newspaper Trouw spoke to a number of people who were sexually abused as children in the Jehovah's Witnesses community. One victim described the religious society as a "paradise for pedophiles".
By Guest Nicole
A 44-year-old former teacher and Jehovah’s Witness church elder copped to sexually assaulting one of his 13-year-old boy students.
Police are searching for a man who groped a girl as she was walking home from a Huntington Beach middle school.
Jason Morris Gorski of Fort Mill, South Carolina, pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court last Tuesday to two counts of lewd acts with a minor younger. He met the victim while teaching at the now-shuttered Southwestern Longview Private School in Long Beach, and at the same time he was an elder with the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall congregation in Cypress, where the boy was also a member. Gorski had sex with the teen in Buena Park between June 2007 and June 2008. The minor reported the abuse to the congregation in 2009, and a year later Gorski moved to South Carolina and began attending a nearby Jehovah's Witnesses congregation. The boy told the Buena Park Police Department what had happened, and on June 21, 2016, Gorski was arrested. He could get up to 10 years in state prison at his Jan. 26 sentencing.
By Guest Nicole
Children who were sexually abused by Jehovah's Witnesses were allegedly told by the church not to report the crimes.
Victims from across the UK told the BBC they were routinely abused and that the religious organisation's own rules protected perpetrators.
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
Former Long Beach Private School Teacher, Jehovah’s Witness Elder Pleads Guilty to Sexually Abusing Teen BoyBy 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.
By Guest Nicole
Mrs Mortimer was undergoing a hip operation when she refused the blood transfusion
A Jehovah's Witness lost her life after she refused a blood transfusion during a major hip operation due to her religious beliefs.
Barbara Mortimer, 69, went against doctors' advice and sadly died on May 24, 2017, shortly after a hip replacement.
A final hearing was held at The Old Courthouse in Hatfield yesterday (Wednesday, October 18) before Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan.
The court heard that in January of this year, Mrs Mortimer visited her GP Mark Penwell with "severe left hip pain."
Doctor Penwell said: "She was struggling to walk with it, even using a stick.
"The only useful intervention was a hip replacement."
He admitted however, that he had concerns about Mrs Mortimer, of Portland Road, Bishop's Stortford, who would decline any blood products due to her being a Jehovah's Witness.
Mrs Mortimer also suffered what was thought to be a heart attack in 2006 and acute coronary syndrome after having chest pain in 2010.
For her hip, Mrs Mortimer was referred to consultant orthopaedic surgeon Rajeev Sharma.
He said: "She came to see me in the clinic on Thursday, March 23.
"She came in with a diagnosis of hip arthritis on one of the sides.
"She had an X-ray that showed the joints were worn out."
Risks associated with the procedure including displacing the hip, heart attack and most commonly infection, were discussed with Mrs Mortimer.
Mrs Mortimer chose to ungergo surgery, but was taking aspirin at the time which thins the blood. There was also a risk that she would need a blood transfusion during the operation.
Steps included administering tranexamic acid, swabs soaked in adrenalin and a spinal aesthetic as opposed to general, as these all help to prevent and restrict blood loss.
Mr Sharma said: "We needed to be sure our surgery is in such a manner to prevent bleeding.
"It was safe to proceed providing we take all the necessary precautions."
The procedure went ahead with Mrs Mortimer's haemoglobin levels being within an acceptable range.
But during the operation after the joint was dislocated, the living part of the bone began to bleed.
The bleed then became "exponentially massive," according to Mr Sharma following the removal of hard cartilage.
The adrenalin swabs, an alternative method to stopping the bleed due to Mrs Mortimer's belief's, were inserted to constrict the blood vessels as well as a plastic membrane.
Mr Sharma said: "We continued with the procedure, it was the best way to stop the bleeding.
"I could not think why such a lot of bleeding would take place.
"Was it the aspirin? Would it have had a significant effect on her or was there an anomaly in the pelvic bone?"
Following the surgery, Mr Sharma spoke with Mrs Mortimer's family.
"The recommended blood products were declined," he said.
"We were struggling to keep her alive if we can't give her any blood. Persistent refusal was risking her life."
Mrs Mortimer faced the decision of accepting blood products or hope that the fluids given to her post-operation would stimulate cell production after such a huge blood loss.
She died during the early hours of the morning at Rivers Hospital in Sawbridgeworth.
Mr Sharma was challenged in court by Counsel Kate Smith, who asked whether further enquiries should have been made prior to the hip replacement due to her age, religious beliefs, medical history and the fact she was taking aspirin.
Ms Smith presented a booklet in court regarding Jehovah's Witnesses and surgery.
It said "should avoid any medication that could increase blood loss," referring to aspirin which thins the blood and makes the likelihood of needing a blood transfusion more likely.
Mrs Mortimer signed a refusal form indicating her religious convictions that "no blood transfusions are to be administered in any circumstances".
Mr Sharma said in "hindsight" there are things that would have been done differently but at that stage all the safety precautions had been made.
The operation was also not considered to be life-threatening.
He was also challenged whether Mrs Mortimer needed to be on aspirin. The decision to take this course was made working on the basis that she had suffered a heart attack – later found to be untrue.
Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan, said: "I cannot see a short form conclusion.
"The adequate way to my mind is a narrative verdict to encompass blood loss [from the] surgical procedure and declining of blood products.
"She was admitted to Rivers Hospital, she had advanced decision not to accept blood products, and asked to consider accepting blood products, but declined to do so."
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.
By Guest Nicole
“They also state that protective restrictions must be put in place to protect the charity’s members from people found guilty of child sexual abuse by the criminal courts.”
He said that the charity has now changed its policies and procedures to ensure that “victims of child sexual abuse are not required to make their allegations in the presence of the alleged abuser”.
The commission’s inquiry into another Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain, is ongoing.
A spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse in all of its forms and do not shield wrongdoers from the authorities or from the consequences of their actions.
“All allegations of abuse are thoroughly investigated and appropriate restrictions are imposed on any person who is guilty of child sexual abuse.
“The trustees will continue to concentrate on doing all that they can to safeguard children and to care for the spiritual needs of the congregation.”
By Guest Nicole
Jehovah's Witnesses have been severely criticised by the Charity Commission for allowing a convicted sex offender to interrogate his victims.
The commission's report said the women had endured "inappropriate and demeaning questioning".
And Jonathan Rose had challenged them during a meeting with Church elders, after he was released from prison.
A Jehovah's Witness statement said "appropriate restrictions" were imposed on anyone guilty of abuse.
Rose was convicted in 2013 of the historical sexual abuse of two girls, aged five and 10, and sentenced to nine months in prison.
Both he and the girls, at the time of the assaults, were members of the New Moston Kingdom Hall, in Manchester.
At the time of his conviction, Rose was a senior member, or "elder", of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
He appealed against a move to expel him, a process known as "disfellowshipping".
In order to decide his fate, a group of elders had called the two women to a meeting at the Kingdom Hall, along with a third woman who had alleged in the 1990s that Rose had assaulted her, the report said.
Over three hours in April 2014, the women were individually questioned by Rose and a room full of male elders.
In an audio recording made by one of the women and passed to the BBC, Rose is heard saying to one woman: "Give me one reason why I would touch you?"
He is heard challenging the woman, accusing her of making up the allegations and asking her to relive the assault.
"What I am saying to you is this didn't happen," he says.
"What was I supposed to have done to you that night?"
One of the elders asks: "Did you ever egg him on?"
"It was worse than the court case," another of the women told the BBC.
"I felt everyone was on his side. I felt I was in the wrong. I felt very intimidated that it was all men, very, very intimidating. I was shocked he was able to talk to me.
"He kept making out that I was lying. He kept saying why did I make it up, why would I say something like that, and at no point did I feel he was going to admit it.
"I got to the point where I thought, 'He genuinely believes he's not done anything wrong.'"
She added that another of the women had burst out of her meeting in tears, claiming Rose had asked if "she'd enjoyed it".
In 2014, the Charity Commission, which regulates both the New Moston Kingdom Hall and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain - the main UK Jehovah's Witness organisation, opened an investigation into how the trustees of the church had handled the case.
The movement launched several legal actions to stop the inquiry, claiming the commission was acting beyond its remit.
Eventually, the challenges were thrown out by the courts, and the report says: "The trustees of the charity... acting on legal advice, declined to engage with the commission following the opening of its inquiry."
The report also found the charity's trustees had failed to tell the commission about the allegation against Rose from the 1990s, as they should have done.
In a subsequent letter to the regulator, the trustees described the incident as merely "a matter between two teenagers", evidence, says the report, that they did not properly take account of the earlier incident when considering the new allegations.
The report said they also failed to fully enforce the restrictions they had put on Rose's activities, allowing him to continue participating in the Church, and they "did not deal adequately" with the appeal meeting, allowing the questioning to take place, and therefore failing in their duties to protect people from harm.
Taken together, the failures "constitute misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity" by the trustees, the report said.
"This has to be dealt with in a way that is sensitive to the victims who have gone through this terrible ordeal," said Michelle Russell, director of investigations at the Charity Commission. "In this case, they let the victims down."
'No unsupervised contact'
A statement from Watch Tower said: "Jehovah's Witnesses abhor child abuse in all of its forms and do not shield wrongdoers from the authorities or from the consequences of their actions. All allegations of abuse are thoroughly investigated and appropriate restrictions are imposed on any person who is guilty of child sexual abuse.
"For years, Jehovah's Witnesses have had a robust child safeguarding policy. The trustees followed the policy by imposing restrictions on the perpetrator and by ensuring that he had no unsupervised contact with children during congregation meetings.
"The trustees will continue to concentrate on doing all that they can to safeguard children and to care for the spiritual needs of the congregation."
Jonathan Rose told the BBC he had no comment to make.
The commission is now undertaking a wider inquiry into how Jehovah's Witnesses across the UK handle allegations of child sexual abuse.
One particular concern is the Church's policy of dismissing an allegation if it fails its two-witness policy, which states two people need to have seen the abuse for the Church to proceed with a full investigation.
There are also calls for the independent child abuse inquiry to examine the Church's policy.
By Guest Nicole
An expected audience of around 3,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of the public are beginning to arrive at the Westpoint Arena for their three day annual Exeter Convention.
This year’s Convention theme is “Don’t Give Up!”
“Challenges in life can rob us of peace and even cause some to think about giving up,” states David A. Semonian, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses at their world headquarters in Warwick, New York. “Our convention this year will benefit both Witnesses and non-Witnesses because it promises to empower individuals not only to keep enduring but also to cope with challenges productively.”
Last weekend 3,800 Witnesses and others from Cornwall and South Devon attended their Convention at Westpoint, this weekend it is the turn of delegates from across Somerset, North, and Mid Devon to enjoy the same uplifting program. It is one of 21 such Conventions across the UK, in total the program will be presented in 24 different languages. Last year over 13 million persons attended the Witnesses Conventions worldwide, more are expected to attend this year.
The program is divided into 52 parts and will be presented in a variety of formats, including brief discourses, interviews, and short videos. Additionally, one segment of a three-part feature film designed to help families will be shown each afternoon. Of special interest will be a discourse especially for the public at 11.20 on Sunday morning entitled “Never Give Up Hope!”, as well as the public Baptism of new believers on Saturday at 11,45 a.m. The program lasts from Friday through to Sunday and begins at 9.20 each morning.
Admission was free and no collections are taken
Watch a video about our conventions and see a complete program schedule at jw.org
By The Librarian
NORTH KENSINGTON, London – Not less than four members of Jehovah’s Witnesses survived the inferno that ravaged the 24 storey Grenfel Tower, London killing at least 79 people.
None of the witnesses died in the inferno, which has led to revolution and evacuation of about 25 other blocks that have failed fire resistant test in London.
The 4 witnesses however lost their apartments and properties in the fire.
“Witnesses that live near the now fire-gutted apartment building provided food, clothing, and monetary aid to their fellow members and their families that were affected. The Witnesses are also offering spiritual comfort to the grieving members of the North Kensington community”, the JWs said on their website.Jehovah’s Witnesses are known worldwide for their speed in mitigating the affliction of their neighbours worldwide.See full statement below.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are assisting victims of a catastrophic fire that engulfed the Grenfell Tower, a 24-story apartment building in the North Kensington area of London, in the early morning hours of June 14, 2017. Authorities are reporting that at least 79 people were killed.
Four Witnesses were evacuated from the apartment building, two of which were residents of Grenfell Tower. Fortunately, none of them were injured, although the Witnesses’ apartments were among those completely destroyed in the blaze.
Witnesses that live near the now fire-gutted apartment building provided food, clothing, and monetary aid to their fellow members and their families that were affected. The Witnesses are also offering spiritual comfort to the grieving members of the North Kensington community.
By Jack Ryan
In Newcastle town centre. UK.
The Chronicle Live. 15 June 2017.
A council worker will stand trial after he was accused of being drunk at the wheel of his road sweeper in Newcastle city centre.
John Paul Carruthers, who has since resigned from his post at Newcastle City Council, was allegedly over the legal drink-drive limit when he ploughed into a Jehovah’s Witness stand on Northumberland Street near to Haymarket Metro Station.
Prosecuting, James Long told Newcastle Magistrates’ Court: “The allegation is that he was driving a Newcastle City Council road sweeper when he collided first with a Jehovah’s Witness stand next to Haymarket Metro Station. He carried on then a short while later was detained on Ridley Place and was said to be aggressive.
READ MORE: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/newcastle-council-roadsweeper-drink-drive-13183193
Painful to see strife over temporarily housing Grenfell Tower survivors in a nation full of actual...By TheWorldNewsOrg
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Grenfell Tower: British Police say 58 people were in the building are missing and are presumed dead,...By TheWorldNewsOrg
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By Guest Nicole
MOSCOW — Workers building stadiums for next year’s World Cup in Russia have faced repeated abuses and routinely gone unpaid for several months, according to a report by Human Rights Watch released on Wednesday.
At a stadium in Yekaterinburg, some workers were required to work in temperatures of minus-25 degrees Celsius (minus-13 Fahrenheit) “without sufficient breaks for them to warm themselves,” the report states.
“FIFA is essentially expecting us to take their word for it that their work has improved workers’ lives,” Jane Buchanan, the report’s author, told The Associated Press. “This is supposed to be the reformed FIFA, moving away from secrecy and a lot of deals behind closed doors.”
At least 17 workers have died on World Cup construction sites, according to Building and Wood Workers’ International, a trade union.
Known deaths include workers killed in falls and the case of a worker from North Korea who died of a reported heart attack at the stadium in St. Petersburg, which will host the final of the Confederations Cup on July 2, as well as World Cup matches in 2018.
Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/sports/soccer/at-least-17-deaths-as-workers-on-russia-2018-world-cup-construction-sites-face-abuse-report
By Jack Ryan
09:38 Official police statement
Detectives have launched a murder investigation following the suspicious death of a man in Honiton today [6 June].
Police and ambulance crews were called at around 3.40pm after concerns were raised for the welfare of the man at a premises in Dowell Street.
On arrival they found the man, who is yet to be identified, deceased at the scene. He had sustained a number of stab wounds.
A 55-year-old man was located nearby and has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He has been taken into custody in Exeter awaiting questioning.
Detectives from the Major Crime Investigation Team have launched an investigation to establish the circumstances of the man’s death.
Officers are appealing for anyone who may have information which may assist with the enquiry to contact them.
A cordon remains in place around the scene while a forensic examination is carried out by scenes of crime officers.
Anyone who may have information about the incident is asked to contact police via firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 101, quoting log 529 of 06/06/17.
Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers via 0800 555111 or the charity’s website at www.crimestoppers-org.uk
Read more at http://www.devonlive.com/police-cordon-around-honiton-s-kingdom-hall-of-jehovah-s-witnesses-after-fatal-stabbing/story-30375040-detail/story.html
The question now is.... are either of the two Jehovah's Witnesses?
Terrorist incident at Manchester Arena
Police shutdown central Manchester, early Tuesday morning, after a suspected explosion at the Manchester Arena killed 19 and injured 50.
Suicide Bomber suspected
The incident is thought to have occurred at 22.35 local time (21.35 GMT), at the end of an Ariana Grande concert as 20,000 + attendees were leaving the premises. Emergency vehicles streamed to the arena and helicopters circled above as police urged people to stay clear of the area.
As we all get more details about this event please post news below as a reply
By Guest Nicole
SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - Warrants claim a North Georgia nurse accused of inappropriately touching women under anesthesia injected at least one of them with a potent drug to keep her under sedation for a longer than necessary period of time.
Sandy Springs Police arrested Michael Morgan, 33, after they said he admitted to touching the women while they were unconscious at the gastroenterology practice where he worked earlier this year.
Police said Morgan confided in his pastors at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they turned him into detectives.
According to warrants obtained by Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik, "Mr. Morgan admitted to taking a used plunger of Propofol from a medical trash pile that had not been used all the way. He then took a saline flush and added it to the used Propofol plunge so he could keep her under sedation."
Un concierto de Ariana Grande en Manchester deja 19 víctimas mortales tras producirse dos explosionesBy Guest Nicole
La policía ha evacuado el estadio Manchester Arena e investiga los hechos como un ataque terrorista
La policía de Manchester ha confirmado que se han producido 19 víctimas mortales y más de 50 heridos durante una actuación de la artista estadounidense Ariana Grande en Manchester. Las fuerzas de seguridad han evacuado el estadio Manchester Arena al recibir información de dos fuertes detonaciones al final del concierto, al que asistían cerca de 20.000 personas. La policía está abordando la investigación desde la perspectiva de un acto terrorista y ha desplegado una unidad de artificieros en la zona.
Leer más: http://www.lavanguardia.com/sucesos/20170523/422819423980/explosiones-concierto-ariana-grande-manchester-arena.html
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