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Jehovah's Witness elders covered up sex abuse of children from York County, report says

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Along with Bible teachings and online lessons on how to lead a good life and find peace and happiness, the Jehovah Witnesses website at JW.org also offers serious insight and words of caution to parents about sexual child abuse.

And, that makes the recent Philadelphia Inquirer story alleging that Jehovah's Witness elders have repeatedly covered up sexual abuse of members' children, shunned members and victims who raised complaints of child abuse and have impeded police investigations into abuse allegations even more shocking.

Among the victims of the Witnesses' shunning and stonewalling tactics interviewed by Inquirer reporter David Gambacorta were:

  • The parents of a 4-year-old New Cumberland girl who was molested at the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall in Red Lion
  • A Spring Grove woman who was molested when she was a teen by a Witness who was a family friend
  • A York woman who was molested in her teens by a couple she knew through the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Three defendants identified in the Inquirer investigative piece were prosecuted and sentenced in York County. A fourth is awaiting prosecution.

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      These aren't easy times for the Kushner family. Jared Kushner is having trouble getting security clearance so he can advise his father-in-law in the White House. The family risks losing control of its prize tower at 666 Fifth Ave. unless it can find cash to pay off loans. Their company has even been sued for charging tenants excessive rent for apartments in Brooklyn Heights.
      So it was perhaps understandable that the Kushners were pleased to get one small bit of good news: A property of theirs was named “best operating building of the year” by the New York chapter of industry group Building Owners and Managers Association International.
      The award was given to the former Watchtower complex acquired from the Jehovah’s Witnesses for $375 million in 2014 by a consortium including RFR Realty, LIVWRK and the Kushners. The place was renamed Dumbo Heights and commercial tenants include WeWork and Etsy.
      Nichole Kushner, who triggered a federal investigation when she highlighted her brother’s White House job as part of a pitch to Chinese investors last year for a project in New Jersey, said the family was “very proud” to win the award.
      “We were among the first to recognize the potential of recasting this area as a unique community combining tech/retail and high-end living spaces,” she said in a statement.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      World champion and 2012 Olympian swimmer Ariana Kukors came forward Wednesday night with sexual-assault allegations against USA Swimming national team coach Sean Hutchison, the Orange CountyRegister reports.
      Kukors, 28, started training with Hutchison when she was just 13 years old, at which time he allegedly started “grooming” her for a sexual relationship. She said in a press release that Hutchison first sexually assaulted her when she was 16 and continued to have a sexual relationship with her until she was 24. This report comes just one week after disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, accused of sexual abuse by more than 250 girls, was sentenced to up to 275 years in prison.
      Read more: https://www.thecut.com/2018/02/world-champion-says-former-swim-coach-sexually-abused-her.html?utm_campaign=thecut&utm_source=fb&utm_medium=s1
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      At home in Minnesota
      To refugee Sivasundaram, his home in Burnsville feels like paradise.
      "I am so happy here," said Sivasundaram, wearing the reflective vest from his job as a forklift operator. On a recent evening, he rested for a few minutes before going to his night job stocking shelves at a Target store.
      His wife, Manchuladevy Ravindran, soon walked in, home from her job as a housekeeper in a nearby motel, and started cooking dinner for her three boys.
      Some people would call it a stressful life — but not this family. They compare it with the life they had before.
      Until 2006, they lived in Sri Lanka, an island south of India. They were part of an ethnic group called Tamils, which the government often treats like terrorists.
      Soldiers rampaged through their village in a raid, slaughtered Sivasundaram's mother, and burned her house down. When he complained to the government, his life was threatened.
      The family fled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they remained for eight years. "I did house cleaning, plumbing, cutting grass, driving a taxi," recalled Sivasundaram.
      The family remembers, above all, the crime.
      "You couldn't use a phone in the street. Someone would take it," said Sivasundaram. "Someone would cut off the ears of old ladies for the earrings."
      The boys faced a unique danger. "They would have kidnapped me for the military, or sold me to another country," said Kapilas, his 17-year-old son.
      The family made a Minnesota contact through their Jehovah's Witnesses church. As soon as they arrived, neighbors knocked on their front door to welcome them.
      The boys had been raised as English-speakers and have assimilated rapidly.
      They laugh about the quirks of their new homeland. "I like Chick-Fil-A. The food in Malaysia is healthier, but this is tastier," said Simraj, 16.
      Apilas, 13, is fascinated by boneless fish, which he never encountered in Malaysia. "I always ask: Is that fish, or is that steak?" he said.
      Kapilas marveled at his new, low-stress life. "We have security and peace. Here, all I have to worry about is studying," he said.
      They gathered for a meal at a time necessitated by their hectic schedules — 11 p.m.
      In three years, they have saved enough to buy a car, then a house. "There is a great future here for all of us," said the father. Their success is shared by others. Simraj named 10 relatives and friends who have since followed them to America.
      At the end of the interview, the father was asked whether he had anything else to say.
      He is not fluent in English, so when asked a question, he looks pleadingly at his sons for help.
      Kapilas translated.
      "No," he said. "Just thank you."
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses from across the country are flocking to St Ann’s to build a place of worship on the site of a former pub.
      The site of the former Sycamore Inn pub in Hungerhill Road is currently being turned in to a meeting hall for the Christian sect, with work due to finish by the end of February.
      However almost every stage of the building, from design to putting in the windows, is being done by unpaid volunteers – 450 of them in total.
      Adam Byrnes, 35, of St Ann’s, a cleaning business owner who has been helping out three days a week, said: “It is absolutely amazing to see people volunteering to build our church.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Four dozen priests who worked at Queens churches over the last half-century were accused of child sex abuse, according to a report released by a legal group representing victims. The Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, however, charged that the report isn’t completely accurate.
      Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse issued “Hidden Disgrace,” a 22-page summary which lists the names of 65 clergy members in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens who have been accused of sexually abusing children; in some cases, the abuse occurred more than 50 years ago. An examination of the report found that 48 of the priests had been assigned to Queens churches, schools and institutions.
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