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
A new worship centre for Jehovah's Witnesses is coming to Gloucestershire.
Plans were approved earlier this week (June 19) by Gloucester City Council to build the place of worship in Kingsway.
The development will be the second Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Gloucester, the first being based in Abbeydale.
The plans for the Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Kingsway (Image: Gloucester City Council)
The proposal includes a single storey building to be used by Jehovah's Witnesses as a place of worship and religious education, as well as five car parking spaces.
The developer, Elevation One building design, said the building will resemble a site used by the religious group in Dover.
A planning statement submitted by the firm said two new halls like the proposed have been built in the last year and another 14 nationwide have been planned.
The site fronts Thatcham Avenue and abuts the southern boundary of Kingsway Primary School.
The plans for the Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in KingswayÂ (Image: Gloucester City Council)
It is not clear when building works will begin.
It will be the ninth Kingdom Hall in Gloucestershire with others in Cirencester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Dursley, Blakeney and Lydney, in addition to the existing on in Gloucester.
By Guest Nicole
If you’ve been in Newcastle city centre recently, you will have noticed them.
Happily handing out copies of The Watchtower from carts, Jehovah’s Witnesses are taking to Newcastle’s streets in their droves.
And the reason for the recent increase is simply due to a change in tactics.
For years, members have gone door-to-door to spread the word about the faith.
But now members are heading into the city to try and reach out to more people.
“We feel the use of carts allows us to reach people we perhaps wouldn’t meet at home due to their work schedules or other factors,” said spokesperson Andrew Schofield. “The carts also provide the public with the choice of approaching us or not, which some people appreciate.
Read more: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/more-more-jehovahs-witnesses-middle-14627882
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
By Guest Nicole
Michael John Hewitt was described as a significant risk to young children and a dangerous offender.
A man who took advantage of his position of trust in a Surrey branch of Jehovah's Witnesses and sexually abused three young girls has been sentenced to 15 yearsÂ’ imprisonment on Monday, 12 March at Croydon Crown Court.
Michael John Hewitt, 71 and now of Fremington in Devon, was found guilty of eight counts of indecency with children who were all aged under 16 years at the time.
He will be on the sex offenders register for life and have a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and Restraining Order served.
The court heard that in the 1980s Hewitt, who previously lived in Wallington, was a member of the Jehovah's Witness Congregation and abused his victims over several decades.
Two of HewittÂ’s victims were as young as five when the abuse started. He sexually abused all three of them in his and their home addresses, undetected by family members.
He later sold his home in Surrey and moved to Devon.
On January 11, 2016, two of the victims reported what had happened to a family member, who then contacted police. Hewitt was later arrested in January 2016 and bailed pending further enquiries.
Following extensive research by detectives from the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command, the third victim was identified and came forward when told Hewitt was under investigation for two similar offences.
In May 2017, Hewitt was charged with eleven counts of indecency with three girls under 16 years old. He was later acquitted of three offences.
Whilst sentencing Judge Flahive described Hewitt as a significant risk to young children and a dangerous offender.
Detective Constable Janet Williams, the investigating officer from the Met's Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command said:Â "The victims were abused by Hewitt at a very early age. Only when they were older were they able to understand what Hewitt subjected them to. Hewitt abused his position of trust to exploit the young girls for his own satisfaction.
"I would like to pay tribute to the victims who had the courage to report these distressing crimes to police. I hope today's conviction gives the victims a measure of comfort and closure."
Read more at http://talkradio.co.uk/news/michael-john-hewitt-paedophile-jehovahs-witness-jailed-15-years-18031324822#oKZhFYx0KmfTr538.99
By Guest Nicole
Independent investigators in the United Kingdom are weighing whether to launch a new investigation into the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the U.K. after receiving a “considerable number” of abuse allegations.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, or IICSA, a government-sanctioned investigative panel in England and Wales, told The Guardian that it had gotten a “considerable number” of reports from both the public and elected officials about the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the U.K. A spokesperson told the newspaper the panel would “consider calls for a Jehovah’s Witnesses–specific investigation carefully.”
It was unclear how many reports the watchdog group had received. When contacted by Newsweek, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ public information office did not immediately comment.
Kathleen Hallisey, a lawyer who brought charges against the Jehovah’s Witnesses for sexual abuse in 2015, said she suspected there are thousands of such cases in the U.K., The Guardian reported.
“The Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to recognize the issue of child abuse in their organization or to create robust safeguarding procedures to protect children,” she said. “An investigation by IICSA into the Jehovah’s Witnesses is an opportunity for the inquiry to effect real change in an organization that refuses to shine a light on child abuse and protect children.”
News of the possible investigation comes weeks after the nonprofit religious transparency organization Faithleaks leaked 33 letters and internal documents revealing a pattern of sexual abuse by one Jehovah’s Witness member, and the lengths the church went to cover up the scandal.
Those documents detail communications among church leaders and several legal entities—collectively known as Watchtower—between 1999 and 2012. In one letterto Watchtower dated November 14, 1999, the Palmer Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses from Brimfield, Massachusetts, said it had reviewed claims by two women who alleged their father sexually abused them as children. The group found those claims to be true.
“Our impression upon speaking with both girls was similar. That they are both quite rational. It certainly appears that these were real events,” the letter said.
In that case, church leaders pressured one of the accusers not to report the abuse to police. Years later, the church held an in-house trial and briefly excommunicated the father.
That victim was not the only person pressured to remain silent.
In the U.K., several alleged victims had come forward with similar claims in November 2017, according to The Telegraph.
“Frankly, I would equate this to a scandal and a cover-up akin to the Catholic Church,” Hallisey told The Telegraph at the time.
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
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
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."
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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 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
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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?
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