By Guest Indiana
Jehovah's Witnesses may appeal a judgment that gave the green light to a class-action lawsuit against them for alleged sexual assault on minors.
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Quebec may appeal a judgment that gave the green light to a class-action lawsuit against them for alleged sexual assault on minors.
The Quebec Court of Appeal on Monday granted them the right to appeal a judgment authorizing the class action, handed down in February by Justice Chantal Corriveau of the Superior Court.
At the heart of the class action is whether the church failed to protect its members when they tried to denounce sexual abuse.
The class action argues the church’s internal reporting policies conceal abuse and have silenced hundreds of sexual assault complaints through the years. It seeks at least $250,000 in damages for each alleged victim.
The lawsuit targets the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada, the parent company of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the country, and another society based in Pennsylvania that’s responsible for the church’s communications and publications.
At the heart of the class action is whether the church failed to protect its members when they tried to denounce sexual abuse.
According to the lawsuit, Lisa Blais, now in her 40s, first spoke out about the alleged abuse when she was 16 years old. She sought help from her parents, another Jehovah’s Witness and an elder — members who act as spiritual leaders in different congregations — but says she was discouraged from reporting the abuse in order to protect the community.
Blais left her family at 17 and was officially disfellowshipped at 24.
In seeking leave to appeal Corriveau’s judgment, Watch Tower Canada described the decision as “unprecedented in Quebec.” The alleged assaults did not take place in an institutional setting, the organization noted, and it was not leaders or employees of the religious organization who allegedly committed the acts.
The Quebec Court of Appeal found that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ arguments deserve to be further assessed. Jehovah’s Witnesses will now have to plead their case before the Court of Appeal, at a date yet to be determined.
1888 "In this chapter we present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914; and that the date will be the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men. And be it observed, that if this is shown to be a fact firmly established by the Scriptures, it will prove; Firstly, that at that date the Kingdom of God, for which our Lord taught us to pray, saying, Thy Kingdom come, will obtain full, universal control, and that it will then be set up, or firmly established, in the earth, on the ruins of present institutions." (The Time Is At Hand, 1888, p. 76, 77)
1889 "Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that the 'battle of the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:14) which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced. The gathering of the armies is plainly visible from the standpoint of God's word." (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, The Time Is At Hand, 1889 Ed., p. 101. The 1915 Edition of this texts changed "A.D. 1914" to read 'A.D. 1915')
By Guest Nicole
I made a donation on line at JW.ORG. Why are they using a Switzerland banking address?
By Guest Indiana
More than 70 victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses have come forward with their stories since the public network aired a documentory about it last week, reports the nonprofit organisation Reclaimed Voices Belgium.
The documentary brought to light that the organisation had been covering up sexual abuse of minors via an internal 'disciplinary' system for years, concluded Pano. That way, none of the claims were reported to the police. One of the witnesses in the documentary was very straightforward in calling it "a paradise for paedophiles".
According to CIAOSN, an independent centre set up by Belgium's Department of Justice to study sectarian organisations, there are similar findings in 12 other countries. The report concludes that the issues in all other countries are the same. Due to the strict hierarchy of the organisation, it's very difficult to come forward, reports CIAOSN.
The elders of the organisation usually don't listen to the victims, or don't help them. They usually tell them to keep their mouths shut, said one of the witnesses. "I was told to keep the abuse to myself. 'We don't want to slander God's name.' I had to trust them to take care of it. They told me to pray some more and everything would be fine."
Jehovah's Witnesses disapprove of sexual abuse, but they don't have any policies to prevent it or report it to the police. Victims that quit the organisation are ignored completely and lose all social contact. Another issue that returns frequently in CIAOSN's report is that victims have to give their statements about the abuse in the presence of their abusers. If the accused denies involvement, they'll only further the investigation after two other witness statements. In all these 13 countries, there is not one woman involved in the internal disciplinary system.
"Noteworthy is the number of people that talk about the severe psychological damage that the exclusion by the community brings with it," the statement of Reclaimed Voices Belgium said. "In conversations we've had with victims so far, it seems that the trauma caused by the exclusion that follows when a victim speaks up about the abuse has an even bigger impact than the abuse itself."
The Brussels Times
By JW Insider
Most of us have probably already worked through the online Bible Study course on jw.org.This was an excellent idea. Although others sites have done it, too, it was especially good to see it on the jw.org site. It has some unique features here and is, of course, geared toward a Witness viewpoint. Yet there are very few lessons that contain a lot of unique doctrinal material, even though Trinity, Soul/Hell are presented. It's very simplified and has some nice features that would work well for non-readers. It's all finished in 8 lessons.
Each lesson may have only a few questions or sections and a quick reader can get through all the content of all the lessons, including short videos, in about 15 minutes. You could even click all the footnotes and links and read the scripture links and still finish the entire course in under a half-hour. There are links at the end of each lesson which point to website articles (usually original or slightly modified Watchtower and Awake! articles that have their own pages on the jw.org site). Comparing this to several of our our books geared toward those who would study the Bible with us in person (for several months) one could more easily customize a Bible study where extra links were only looked up in the event the student had additional questions or concerns about a topic, and a sufficient study could be completed in a matter of days, or even hours.
Notice too that there are no direct links to anything about 1914, 1919, 1922, etc. Nothing about blood transfusions, birthdays, etc. The very first lesson does contain a 53 second video where the very first and only secular dates are mentioned: they are 732 B.C.E., then 539 B.C.E., then 614 B.C.E. Someone might wonder why 539 is used as an accurate secular date and yet there is no explanation as to why the other two secular dates differ from the same secular evidence by 20 years. I don't suppose anyone expects the student to question this. A sense of accuracy is offered by the statement immediately following the video which says: "Each detail is confirmed by historical records, including the Nabonidus Chronicle and the history of Herodotus." Of course, the only reason we keep one of the secular dates (539), but change the prior secular dates by 20 years is so that the 1914 date can be "supported." But, as stated, 1914 is not mentioned directly in the lessons, unless you include two of the six extra links to articles for further information (at the end of the very last lesson, 3.3).
These are the lessons:
Unit 1 | The Bible and Its Author
Lesson 1.1 | About the Bible—Can the Bible Help You?
Lesson 1.2 | Who Is God, the Creator?
Unit 2 | The Bible’s Main Characters
Lesson 2.1 | Who Is Jesus?
Lesson 2.2 | Who Are the Angels?
Lesson 2.3 | Why Did God Create Humans?
Unit 3 | The Bible’s Message of Hope
Lesson 3.1 | Why Do Suffering and Evil Exist?
Lesson 3.2 | How Does God Save Us From Death?
Lesson 3.3 | How Will God End Suffering and Evil?
By Guest Nicole
Read more: https://www.businesspost.ie/news/concerns-grow-jehovahs-witnesses-irish-child-sex-abuse-files-421695
By Guest Nicole
By Guest Nicole
By Guest Nicole
I was told by some other sisters that I have to wear a black T-Shirt instead of the normal bathing suit. Is this true?
By Guest Nicole
Wouldn't that constitute "touching the unclean thing" and not "getting out of her"?
By Guest Nicole
Villahermosa, Tabasco.- Debido a los altos índices de inseguridad que se viven en las calles de Villahermosa, los Testigos de Jehová han tenido que recurrir a la tecnología para poder predicar desde una aplicación móvil, en donde los usuarios pueden descargar la biblia en más de 234 idiomas y dialectos, y con ello, enfrentarse al hecho de que las personas no les quieren abrir las puertas de sus casas por temor a ser saqueados.
Y es que señalaron que ante el incremento en la tasa delictiva, muchos ciudadanos temen dejarlos pasar a sus hogares para recibir la palabra de Dios, es por eso que ahora recurren a solo invitarlos “desde los portones o banquetas- a que descarguen la aplicación y exploren información relacionada a los mandatos de Jehová, indicó Raymundo Argudo Pérez, predicador.
“Es una aplicación gratuita para toda la gente en donde la sociedad de los Testigos de Jehová puede checar en línea información cómo películas bíblicas, caricaturas para los niños, consejos para los niños de cómo deben ser obedientes a los padres, también la Biblia en línea”, apuntó.
A lo que continuó: Algunas personas pues temen abrir sus puertas y nosotros evitamos accesar a los hogares, siempre les decimos que mejor desde afuera.
No obstante, ellos continúan recorriendo la ciudad en sus tiempos libres para trasladar la sabiduría de Jesucristo a través de la predicación en los hogares que se los permitan, situación que los vuelve vulnerables a los atracos de los amantes de lo ajeno, sobre todo en colonias populares denominadas focos rojos.
Incluso –dijo- que los delincuentes han accesado al interior de los centros religiosos en donde se reúnen, para secuestrar a predicadores.
“No se cobra nada y nosotros lo hacemos de manera voluntaria tomando en cuenta un principio bíblico registrado en Mateo capítulo 10 versículo 8, donde ahí se expresa nuestro señor Jesucristo cuando capacitó a sus discípulos para ir a predicar, él no les cobró si no les dijo, recibieron gratis den gratis, la palabra de Dios no se vende”, concluyó.
By Israeli Bar Avaddhon
" When you see a cloud rising in western places, you immediately say: 'It is the time', and it happens. And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, 'There will be a heat wave,' and it happens. Hypocrites, you know to examine the appearance of earth and sky, but why do not you know look at this particular time? "- Luke 12: 54-56 From the first article in this blog wanted to distance itself clearly from all those sites and polemical blogs created solely as a safety valve and cast a shadow on the governing body or the people of God as a whole. Many of these, though not all, are the expression of the frustration of some for losing certain positions, visibility and below. We do not reveal any mystery by asserting that some are puffed up with pride thinking of always being right and being invested supreme authority - 1 Timothy 3: 6 We do not even say nothing strange if we say that some people, seeing recognized their merits, real or perceived, on the job or elsewhere, have seen in the "theocratic assignments" a kind of redemption. One way to demonstrate the "worth something" - Psalm 18:27; Proverbs 6:16, 17 For this and other reasons, when some have seen the collapse of all their "dreams of glory," they thought to start a smear campaign against God's people and also have the pass to do anything - 2 Peter 2:22 Apart from these, you have to recognize or admit the possibility that there are people who have opened sites or blogs contentious because they suffered real injustice or clashing sincerely from a scriptural point of view - John 9:34; Revelation 2: 4, 20 If anyone re-discuss openly the "doctrine" of 1914, for example, would sooner or later expelled from the congregation if they did not fit immediately into the ranks. It would be presumptuous to think that the reflections made in this blog on the 1914, as well as on other subjects, are not already been done by others. Although humanly speaking the author of this blog is close to all those who have been expelled not for a repeated offense but because of his own conscience on biblical themes, none of us has the authority to denigrate, insult or alienate others by the people which, net of all faults and limitations , it is still God's people. That each of us to reflect seriously on the words of the Lord when he said what we find in Matthew 18: 6 So, as much as depends on us and as long as Jehovah will show us clearly something else, no one let the people of God because if within the His People there will be severe discipline (also because of those who were unjustly expelled - compares Giovanni 16: 2), outside of His People there will be something else. Of course, situations may arise in which we listen to our conscience - Romans 14: 5 To avoid this sad event, we are encouraged to be "cautious as serpents" also to our brothers - Matthew 10:16; 24:10 For the moment we can share many things with our brothers including the preaching work, attendance at meetings, etc., without necessarily having to collide on the 1914 or Babylon the Great. So, reiterating the concept, regardless of the GB and errors of God's people as a whole, a blog or website for purely polemical can not be considered a viable option for those who love God and sincerely studying His Word. We should also ask ourselves "What gave me" a site after reading an article that mentioned what is wrong and even make it a novel is the easiest thing in the world * (see footnote). This introduction was necessary to explain the following article because the reasons could be easily misunderstood. As we saw from the very first articles, though this blog is dedicated to the prophecy, it was not possible to treat the prophecy without touching some doctrines associated with them. The Word of God has such a strong internal consistency that is not reasonable to believe that he could explain the prophecies of Revelation (and other prophetic books) without touching the doctrine of the resurrection (which will happen at the end of the millennium and not during), the order chronological or not the book, the "doctrine" of 1914, the seven days of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and so on. For this reason you will find after not purely prophetic that was inevitable anyway to deal hope to understand something more about the prophecies. This highlights one of the reasons why some will never understand the prophecies in spite of the efforts: the inability or unwillingness to renegotiate certain doctrines that are upstream. On the same principle we must necessarily realize that you can not move forward in the understanding of the times in which we live and those who arrive without touching the sensitive topic of "governing body" or "quality of spiritual food." This has already been done, more or less soft, in several previous post (see for example the article entitled "Restoration of true worship. Dress clean for the High Priest"). At least with regard to the current understanding, the prophecies do understand that the "light" to lead the people of God (which is clearly not the Bible or it may not be less - Psalm 119: 105) will turn off for a certain period of time and this will serve to lay bare the depth of our relationship with Jehovah - compares Isaiah 28:16 So it does not be surprised if before then that the light begins to fade. Many of us have noticed that certain topics are not touched for years and that on certain issues it is more elusive than before. In return, all the paper work which involves legalism for appointments, discipline, legal protections and various committees have greatly strengthened - Psalm 127: 1, 2 So the following article is of course a critical and will be targeted to the specific material , but everything will be done remembering who we are (Romans 3:23, 24; 1 Corinthians 4: 7) with the sole purpose of reflecting as part of prophecy is already fulfilled before our eyes - 1 Corinthians 14: 8, 9 The reader is invited not necessarily share the article but at least compare the scriptures mentioned and to consider whether the arguments are brought forward with logic. Â The following article will cover part of the Watchtower in October 2017. The article is titled "Visions of Zechariah: because there concern?" Â A vision does not understand something more of a command or a need? Â Â Since the beginning, we can focus on the questions listed in the first paragraph. Why Jehovah gave to the prophet visions so unusual? In what situation were the Israelites at that time? What do we learn today from those visions? Â The questions are certainly deep and detailed so that we isolate some notable points to see how we have tried to give an answer. After a brief explanation of the background and necessary (paragraph two), " Jehovah assured them that would help them restore the true worship" (paragraph three). Let us pause a moment and reflect on these words. He took for themselves, without knowing anything of Zechariah, the book and the time in which it was written, one would think that the theme that will be developed will focus precisely on how Jehovah will restore true worship. Doing disquisitions on whether past or future fulfillment of these words, should not talk about this? Among other things paragraph confirms that this will be the sixth and seventh vision and this would appear to suggest that these visions reveal details on how Jehovah will do this. Besides a vision should include something more of a command; the same ten commandments and all the Mosaic law did not need a vision that was dictated and that the Israelites understood the requirements of the Most Almighty and moral norms that should have respect. Instead the following paragraphs, although the steering wheel scroll vision written in front and behind is "very special", they say that "God will punish whoever steals and among Christians there is no place for any kind of theft." Zechariah really needed a vision to understand that God does not tolerate the theft? Apart from that, as we have said, it seems strange that a vision is limited to this, but the question we should ask is ... "Zacharias did not know that Jehovah does not tolerate the theft?" - Compare Exodus 20:15; Leviticus 19:11, 13; Proverbs 11: 1; 20:23 It 's unusual for a prophet of Jehovah but also the rest of the people had to remember a need so obvious, present even in the most primitive human legal systems.
It would not be sufficient to read "the book of the law" as in the past it was done and how the law itself provided? Until the end of paragraph seven, there is not the slightest indication that this vision can have a deeper explanation and that can be applied particularly in the future. The subsequent paragraphs remain the same "conservative" line. We should not swear falsely, and the promises made to Jehovah - compares Leviticus 19:12; Numbers 30: 2; Ecclesiastes 5: 5, 6 The next vision is even more interesting. Â Even the arrival city has no prophetic significance? Â From the subtitle "The evil is put in its proper place," we can see how the vision that perhaps leaves Zaccaria "horrified" with all its details, it "makes it clear that Jehovah will never tolerate any form of evil within his people and will ensure that it is eliminated quickly. " Then women with wings stork carrying away the mingled with evil in the land of Shinar, underline this aspect. Why they choose Sinar and not Nineveh, for example? Because "Israelites them have thought that Sinar was the place where relegate Evil. Zechariah and his contemporaries Jews, in fact, they could confirm that Babylon wickedness was widespread." Again the vision of the container, the evil woman, women with wings stork and the country of destination have no special meaning, much less prophetic. It must be said that if we had dealt with this issue even thirty years ago, maybe someone would begin to calculate the distance between Jerusalem and Sinar to find some correspondence with some meeting or resolution modern or past. This article is definitely more conservative than those of a few years ago ** (see note below) but it really is prudent that we see in this article, or something else? We try to be very objective without hiring a team cheer attitude. Do we really think that Zacharias had seven visions in such a special time, to learn that Jehovah does not tolerate theft, falsehood and evil? Do we really think that the restoration-of true worship has nothing to do with our days? If we had started from chapter four instead to section five, we would not perhaps have inevitably head towards Revelation? - compares Zechariah 4: 2, 3 and Revelation 11: 4 Zechariah chapter four he not also speaks of the restoration-of true worship, just as do the five chapters and six? If Zechariah and Revelation are connected, even if only in part, we would not have had to reflect on the identity of this "evil woman" which, incidentally, is transported in the most important city of Babylon that "to his own place"? Â We said that the article is not intended as a criticism for its own sake so that everyone will have to make their own assessments in the light of the scriptures. Certainly, as we have seen in the articles entitled "We are staggering like drunks?" and "Approaching Storm", we can understand "how far we are" the discipline of Jehovah, and also understand the reasons why he decides have to discipline there meditating on these aspects. If they make a reason all those who believe that the withdrawal of the books "Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy" and "The Revelation Its Grand Climax" was the prelude to a new version with "new light." Indeed, there is to be afraid to imagine the explanations that may be. However, those who really pay attention to the prophetic word, they have no reason to be discouraged or be upset. If the light of a certain guide goes out, we have a guide that will never disappoint - Isaiah 40: 8 It 'important and urgent than ever, particularly in view of what will happen, become independent in our research and sharpen our power of reason - Romans 12: 1 We must also realize the responsibility that entails some knowledge. We must help not those who have become critical for bias and with whom you can not think and even those who can not and do not intend to call into question every truth imposed from above - Matthew 15: 6 We must help those who can still asking questions that do not come from the organization or even close their eyes to what is going to happen. We do not know to what extent the people of God will reshaped , but up to the revelation of the two witnesses in sackcloth this will continue to be the people of God and in any case, whatever happens, let us cling tightly to the Word of God that is the only truth - John 17:17 Recalling the words of Jesus quoted at the beginning of this article, and keeping in mind that we are nobody and we have one thousandth of its authority , make sure not to become like those who were part of God's people and that they were recognized as authorities but at the same time, could not understand "their particular time." We do not seek excuses why everyone has a Bible and the basic knowledge to deepen the arguments. Let us not be too full of us, basking in our safety thinking that others will pay. We could wake up in a really unwanted. How would we feel if the Lord said, " You're a hypocrite" ? - compares Amos 3: 2 Â Â Footnotes. * This also applies to all those sites that say they are prophetic but are merely interpreting the past Jehovah's judgments to the people of God. This is also a fairly easy game. Â ** Just take a look at the book, no longer in publication "Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy" where virtually any number of days in the prophetic book were applied to assemblies, resolutions and publications.
By Bible Speaks
Jehovah’s Witnesses have translated Bible-based material from English into over 900 languages. Translation of a written text into another written language is challenging enough. But sign-language translation involves additional work. Many deaf people communicate ideas visually by using their hands and facial expressions, so sign-language translators translate from text to video. In this way, the Witnesses have translated publications into more than 90 sign languages.
By Guest Nicole
The Supreme Court of Canada Thursday heard arguments in a fight over a church’s “shunning” practice, and said it would release a ruling later, but the congregation involved and several other groups argued that the justices had no right to even take part in the fight.
The fight is between Randy Wall, a real estate agent, and the Highwood congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Calgary.
Wall was expelled from the congregation for getting drunk and not be properly repentant, court records said. He pursued a church appeals process, unsuccessfully, then went to court because he said the church’s “shunning,” that is, practice of not associating with him in any way, hurt his business.
He explained his two occasions of drunkenness related to “the previous expulsion by the congregation of his 15-year-old daughter.”
A lower court opinion explained, “Even though the daughter was a dependent child living at home, it was a mandatory church edict that the entire family shun aspects of their relationship with her. The respondent said the edicts of the church pressured the family to evict their daughter from the family home. This led to … much distress in the family.”
The “much distress” eventually resulted in his drunkenness, Wall said.
See the WND Superstore’s collection of Bibles, including the stunning 1599 Geneva Bible.
Wall submitted to the court arguments that about half his client base, members of various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations, then refused to conduct business with him. He alleged the “disfellowship had an economic impact on the respondent.”
During high court arguments Thursday, the congregation asked the justices to say that congregations are immune to such claims in the judicial system.
The lower courts had ruled that the courts could play a role in determining if, and when, such circumstances rise to the level of violating civil rights or injuring a “disfellowshipped” party.
The rulings from the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeals said Wall’s case was subject to secular court jurisdiction.
A multitude of religious and political organizations joined with the congregation in arguing that the Canada’s courts should not be involved.
The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms said in a filing, “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. For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
Previous case law has confirmed the ability of religious or private voluntary groups to govern themselves and dictate who can be a member.
But previously rulings also reveal there is room for the court system to intervene when the question is one of property or civil rights.
The Association for Reformed Political Action, described the case as having “profound implications for the separation of church and state.”
Its position is that the court should keep hands off the argument.
“Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” said a statement from Andre Schutten, a spokesman for the group. “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.”
John Sikkema, staff lawyer for ARPA, said, “The issue in this appeal is jurisdiction. A state actor, including a court, must never go beyond its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court must consider what kind of authority the courts can or cannot legitimately claim. We argue that the civil government and churches each have limited and distinct spheres of authority. This basic distinction between civil and spiritual jurisdiction is a source of freedom and religious pluralism and a guard against civic totalism.”
He continued, “Should the judiciary have the authority to decide who gets to become or remain a church member? Does the judiciary have the authority to decide who does or does not get to participate in the sacraments? 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. Here we need separation of church and state.”
The Alberta Court of Appeal, however, suggested the fight was about more than ecclesiastical rules.
“Because Jehovah’s Witnesses shun disfellowshipped members, his wife, other children and other Jehovah’s Witnesses were compelled to shun him,” that lower court decision said. “The respondent asked the appeal committee to consider the mental and emotional distress he and his family were under as a result of his duaghter’s disfellowship.”
The church committee concluded he was “not sufficiently repentant.”
The ruling said “the only basis for establishing jurisdiction over a decision of the church is when the complaint involves property and civil rights,” and that is what Wall alleged.
“Accordingly, a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged.”
I understand the necessity and need and desire to preach the word and it’s urgency, however, would this be a witness if this person were pulled over by a cop? Or speeding? Or cut someone off? Or playing Â‘worldlyÂ’ music? ItÂ’s a bit commercialized. I certainly would NEVER want to drive a car with that tag for Â‘we all stumble many times.Â’ Driving in a neighborhood could be a Â‘warningÂ’ instead of a witness. Idk. How far is too far?
By Guest Nicole
BETHESDA — The village voted Thursday to end its K-9 program and donate its police dog to the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office on the same night that the board accepted the resignations of two more police officers.
Meanwhile, the police department’s interim chief and its only remaining full-time officer — who was just hired in April — said they are trying to put the department back together with the hope of rebuilding the public’s trust.
Interim Police Chief Fred Thompson made the request to transfer the police dog, Frankie, to the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office. He said he believes the dog was an unnecessary expense that had never been used.
“I think this canine was purchased to be a dog-and-pony show,” said Thompson. “It was a publicity stunt. We don’t need the dog.”
Mayor Martin Lucas said the K-9 units at Barnesville and the sheriff’s office are willing to help when needed.
“If that dog bites somebody, I’m not sure we have enough liability coverage,” Lucas said.
“It’s not being used. It’s sitting in Bridgeport doing absolutely nothing.”
The dog’s handler is Bethesda Police Chief Eric Smith, who was suspended in April and is being investigated by the Ohio Attorney General’s office for allegations that he misused the state’s law enforcement data sharing system. Misuse of the system is a felony, the attorney general’s office has said.
The mayor said Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas has agreed to take Frankie.
“The sheriff has guaranteed that the dog will be used in our village as needed,” he said.
Meanwhile, two more full-time police officers have resigned from the Village of Bethesda Police Department. Both had served as resource officers for the Union Local School District.
Lucas announced Thursday the resignations of Francesca Y. Ceccanese and Kyler Hanlon. They join the roster of resignations of police, council members and the former solicitor who have left in the wake of an investigation of Smith.
Lucas said the village’s contract with the school district ends with the school year. He said the village would determine at a later date if it intends to pursue renewing the contract with the school district.
Mike Menges, safety director at the school district, said Thursday night that the district had hired retired state highway patrolman Jason Greenwood as its safety officer coordinator. However, he also said he could not comment on the status of the district’s contract with the village of Bethesda. He said Bethesda police officers are still in Union Local buildings.
After the most recent resignations, the police force has one full-time patrolman, Pete Busack; Fred Thompson, who is serving as interim chief in an administrative-only role; and four part-time officers.
Lucas also said the village had received more complaints about how people were treated while Smith was leading the department. He said the village had received notification from legal representation of Jehovah’s Witnesses alleging that the police department, under Smith’s administration, had harassed Jehovah’s Witnesses and told them to leave. The religious group’s lawyers did not specify an officer’s name or a date when the harassment may have occurred.
“I’ll seek some legal advice on returning a letter to this attorney, saying that will no longer happen,” Lucas said.
Lucas also said Bethesda is aware that the village of Belmont intends to form its own police department. Bethesda’s contract to provide law enforcement will for Belmont will end June 1. Belmont officials have said this is unrelated to Bethesda’s police department issues. Lucas said the departments will have an agreement of mutual aid.
Also, Busack gave an update on the state of the village’s police department. He said he and Thompson have focused on reorganization.
“We haven’t had a lot of patrol due to the fact that we have a lot of office work,” he said.
Among the issues they’ve had to address is creating a system of keeping track of an officer’s keys during shifts and removing the tinting from the front windows of the patrol cars.
“You want to be able to look outwardly and wave to people when they wave back at you, and when you have black windows, which, No. 1, is illegal in the State of Ohio on the front windows, you can’t see in,” he said.
He also said removing the tint will allow better communication with other motorists.
“The entire office, in our opinion, was out of order, and it still to a degree is out of order, and things like that can’t be fixed overnight,” said Busack who also said they were in the process of organizing the evidence room and weapons cabinet.
“I tried to account for all the weapons, tasers and related equipment,” he said. “In the future, we will do a full inventory of the weapons and of the evidence that’s in there.”
Additionally, an activity log will be available for council members to access and see the daily activities of police officers. Busack said no sensitive information would be included.
“Chief Thompson and I will work to restore the trust, confidence and integrity to the citizens of the village of Bethesda and all the surrounding communities,” Busack said.
“I appreciate your efforts,” Lucas said. “I can’t thank you enough for trying to put this back together.”
Also, Lucas announced the current $210 fines for speeding tickets would be reduced. He also said that it is the province of mayor’s court to set fines. A new amount will be determined.
Also, the council will henceforth meet 7:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month and the fourth Thursday.
By Guest Nicole
The Jehovah’s Witnesses community in the Netherlands will not hold an independent inquiry into the sexual abuse of members, despite being urged to do so by justice minister Sander Dekker. By last month, 267 reports of sexual abuse involving Jehovah’s Witnesses had been made to a hotline set up by the Reclaimed Voices foundation in 2017 after Trouw published a report on the growing scandal. Dekker told RTL Nieuws on Tuesday that the organisation’s decision is ‘disappointing’ and that it is ignoring the victims who want to be heard. He has no powers to force the organisation to hold an inquiry.
Read more: https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2018/05/jehovahs-witnesses-reject-calls-for-independent-inquiry-into-sexual-abuse/
By Jack Ryan
Upon receipt of your written request, after you provide sufficient evidence of your identity and enough information to permit us to identify your personal data, the applicable data controller will fairly consider granting the request by balancing the interests of the individual in gaining access to data or correcting or deleting data against the legitimate interests of the organization, including whether granting the request would endanger the organization’s right to religious freedom and practice. We will also notify any third-party recipients of the necessary changes.
Please note that your data may not be erased if processing is required by law or if the data may be kept on other legal bases. For example, the religious organization has an interest in permanently maintaining data regarding an individual’s status as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Deleting such information would unduly infringe on the organization’s religious beliefs and practices. Requests to delete personal data are subject to any applicable legal reporting or document retention requirements imposed on us. You may also lodge a complaint with your local data protection authority about the processing of the data you have provided through this website.
By Guest Nicole
On Friday, May 25, 20/20 will do "something special" for longtime co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas.
You can call it a going-away party (10/9c, ABC). After 22 years at ABC (14 with the newsmagazine), the Emmy and Peabody Award–winning veteran journalist heads to A&E, where she’ll work under their new primetime banner, A&E Investigates.
Tell us about your first two A&E shows.
They’re the first in a nine-part series called Cults and Extreme Beliefs(premieres Monday, May 28, 10/9c). Each episode centers on a person who recently left the group we focus on.
Our premiere looks at the [so-called “self-help”] NXIVM ring that made headlines when leader Keith Raniere and actress Allison Mack, a high-ranking member, were indicted for sex trafficking. We talk to Sarah Edmondson, who feels enormous regret that she recruited so many people into NXIVM and we follow her as she reaches out to some of them.
And the second episode?
It’s about an apocalyptic cult called Twelve Tribes. Our contact is a woman born into the group, cut off from the outside world. She now helps people to escape.
What have you learned about these insular communities?
That many of those involved are bright, well-meaning and incredibly altruistic. Some of these groups exist alongside modern society, with no one noticing. For instance, we profile the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has a history of protecting alleged child molesters because they don’t believe in going to the police.
By Guest Nicole
(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)
Robert A. Sedler, Wayne State University
(THE CONVERSATION) New Hampshire’s state motto “Live free or die” is, for many residents, a stirring evocation of the independent spirit of colonial America.
But not all New Hampshirites agree with this well-known slogan that is emblazoned on the state’s license plates. In 1975, George Maynard was sent to jail because he didn’t believe in it.
Maynard and his wife were Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination that teaches that true believers will enjoy eternal life. The couple felt that the state’s motto violated this tenet. So Maynard covered up the “or die” part on his vehicles’ license plates.
Police gave him three different tickets for illegally altering the plates. When he refused to pay the fines, which totaled US$75, he was given a 15-day jail sentence.
Maynard then filed a lawsuit that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment gave Maynard the legal right to cover up those two words. In other words, the First Amendment – which guarantees the right to free speech – can also give people the right to remain silent.
I am a legal scholar, so when I learned that the Supreme Court will decide two right-to-silence cases this term the Maynard case came to mind.
The Maynard decision was not the first time the court ruled in favor of a Jehovah’s Witness’ right to be silent. Both decisions hinge on the justices’ determination that the First Amendment includes, in the court’s words, the right “to avoid becoming a ‘mobile billboard’ for the State’s ideological message.”
It may sound contradictory to say the right to be silent flows from the right to speak, but it is not.
Read more: https://wtop.com/government/2018/05/supreme-court-to-rule-on-your-first-amendment-right-to-silence/
By Guest Nicole
ST. PETERSBURG, May 3. /TASS/. The St. Petersburg city court has upheld the decision to confiscate from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania in New York the compound in the community of Solnechnoye on the Gulf of Finland and convert it to state property, the St. Petersburg courts’ press service said on Thursday.
Earlier, a court of lower instance found that officially the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia in 2000 donated the real estate compound on the coast of the Gulf of Finland to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, registered on US territory. However, according to the courts’ press-service, the Administrative Center continued to use the facilities as before, which was a reason enough to declare the transaction fictitious and void. The property was taken over by the state.
The compound consists of sixteen items - plots of land, homes and buildings more than 880 million rubles ($13.9 million) worth.
Earlier, TASS reported that the defendants had disagreed with the lower instance court’s ruling and filed an appeal at the St. Petersburg city court. In particular, they argued that substantive law had been violated and anti-extremist law sanctions were used against them without a reason.
Russia’s Supreme Court had declared Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization and outlawed its activity in Russia.
By Guest Nicole
The number of reports of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses now stands at 267, Reclaimed Voices, a foundation that manages the hotline for this type of abuse, said to newspaper Trouw.
Reclaimed Voices was established last year after Trouw published the stories of a number of Jehovah's Witnesses who were abused during their youth. One victim called the religious group a "paradise for pedophiles", because the Jehovah's Witnesses elders tend to keep sexual abuse quiet. In the first week of its existence, the hotline received nearly 50 sexual abuse reports.
According to the newspaper, the victims of sexual abuse asked the Jehovah's Witnesses elders for a meeting to discuss this abuse six months ago, but still haven't heard anything. This has a big affect on the victims, Frank Huiting of Reclaimed Voices said to Trouw. "They are angry, they haven't known where they stand for some time and feel disappointed about the entire process. They still aren't being heard, is what it comes down to."
Minister Sander Dekker for Legal Protection also instructed the leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses to start a conversation with the victims.
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