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  1. A Las Vegas man was arrested last week after authorities accused him of raping a teenage member of his church, police and court records show. Carlos Alfonso Perez, 55, was charged in January with three counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14 and two counts of sexual assault with a minor under 16, records show. He was arrested March 13 at his northeast Las Vegas home. Perez is accused of assaulting a teenage girl multiple times between July 2012 and July 2014. He denied any wrongdoing in a December interview with police, according to records, but declined to take a polygraph examination. The girl was 13 at the time the abuse began, according to a police report. She and Perez attended the same kingdom hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses for more than 10 years, according to the report, and the girl saw him multiple times a week at church functions. She eventually reported the abuse to church officials, who had her confront Perez face to face, according to the police report. “The church members decided that there was nothing they could do, since the stories were different,” the report states. The document makes no mention of church officials attempting to contact police. A spokesman for JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in New York did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday and Friday. According to the document, the girl reported Perez to police in August. https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/sex-crimes/las-vegas-man-charged-with-raping-teen-member-of-his-church/
  2. More than 100 people have contacted the Guardian with allegations of child sexual abuse and other mistreatment in Jehovah’s Witness communities across the UK. Former and current members, including 41 alleged victims of child sexual abuse, described a culture of cover-ups and lies, with senior members of the organisation, known as elders, discouraging victims from coming forward for fear of bringing “reproach on Jehovah” and being exiled from the congregation and their families. A Guardian investigation also heard from 48 people who experienced other forms of abuse, including physical violence when they were children, and 35 who witnessed or heard about others who were victims of child grooming and abuse. The stories told to the Guardian ranged from events decades ago to more recent, and many of those who came forward have now contacted the police. They told the Guardian about: An organisation that polices itself and teaches members to avoid interaction with outside authorities. A rule set by the main governing body of the religion that means for child sexual abuse to be taken seriously there must be two witnesses to it. Alleged child sex abuse victims claiming they were forced to recount allegations in front of their abuser. Young girls who engage in sexual activity before marriage being forced to describe it in detail in front of male elders. A solicitor representing some of the alleged victims said she believed there were thousands of complainants in the UK and that the people who have contacted the Guardian were “just the tip of the iceberg”. One alleged victim, Rachel Evans, who has waived her right to anonymity, claimed there was a paedophile ring active in the 1970s, although details of the case cannot be divulged due to a current investigation. “Within the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses there is an actual silencing and also a network where if someone went to the elders and said ‘there is a problem with thisÂ’ and they believe you, the whole thing will be dealt with in-house. But often these people are not dealt with, they are either moved to another congregation or told to keep their head down for a few years,” she said. Another victim, who did not want to be named, said she was abused by a ministerial servant (someone with congregational responsibilities) in the organisation in the 1970s. “I was sexually abused many times a week from the age of three until I was 12. Congregation elders knew that when I told them, at 12, what had been happening. No steps were taken to tell the police. I had to tell three male senior figures what had happened. Imagine that? A young girl telling a bunch of men what this man did to me. I wasnÂ’t even allowed to have my mother there with me.” After she went to the police about what had happened, the person who abused her pleaded guilty and was eventually convicted. “The JehovahÂ’s Witnesses should lose their charity status as they are not protecting children,” she added. She said she had mental health issues as a result of what happened and how it was dealt with. Jason Munro says he was abused for 10 years. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian Jason Munro, another alleged victim of sexual abuse who waived his right to anonymity, could not give details of his case due to a current investigation but said: “I am completely horrified by the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses ... I didnÂ’t get support and I experienced 10 years of abuse. Elders knew in my teens about the abuse but it was never a case of ‘letÂ’s get this person the professional help he needsÂ’.” Advertisement When a JehovahÂ’s Witness experiences sexual abuse they are supposed to report it to elders, who are always men, who will take further action if there is a second witness to the offence. The perpetrator will then be called before a judicial committee if they admit abuse or if there is a second witness. “This causes further trauma to the victim and coupled with the two-witness rule, is undoubtedly the reason that so many victims have never reported it,” said Kathleen Hallisey, senior solicitor in the abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp, who is currently acting on behalf of 15 alleged victims. She also noted that the problem with the two-witness rule in the context of sexual abuse was that there were rarely witnesses to it, “meaning that [these] reports ... are usually dismissed”. It has been reported that the headquarters of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in the UK, the Watch Tower, holds a database of abuse allegations made within the organisation but has yet to hand it over to authorities. The Charity Commission launched an investigation in 2013 looking into the Manchester New Moston congregation of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, concluding that it did not deal adequately with allegations of child abuse made against one of the trustees. The commission is still running an inquiry into the main government body of the group, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain. This is examining the child safeguarding policy and procedures further. Following the investigation into the Manchester New Moston congregation last year, the Watch Tower changed its policy so that victims are no longer required to confront their abuser face to face. A former elder, who was asked to investigate a child abuse case in 2007, claimed he was urged not to contact the police, although it was decided that the perpetrator should not be assigned to work with children. However, the then elder – who left in 2012 over how the case was handled – said that this rule was not followed by everyone and when he raised this as a concern he was told to back off. “I hugely regret the fact that I wasnÂ’t able to do anything at the time and I didnÂ’t have the strength. And that lives with me,” he said. Other former JehovahÂ’s Witnesses told how they were forced to share personal sexual experiences at a young age, after breaking rules set by the religion. One woman, who wished to be anonymous, was called to a meeting with elders after she had sex at 15, which goes against the rule of no sex before marriage. “This meeting was three older men and me, a scared 15-year-old, who had just had sex for the first time. They had to know all the details before they chose my punishment,” she said. “I had to answer questions like, did it hurt? Where were you? Did you enjoy it? I donÂ’t think any child that age should ever be in that situation.” A former elder described how a congregation responded when a 13-year-old girl had sex. A judicial committee was called, and she was disfellowshipped and eventually asked to leave her parentsÂ’ house. The Guardian also heard from those who described strict upbringings and a culture of hierarchy which meant physical and other psychological abuse were rife and often ignored. Stephanie, a former JehovahÂ’s Witness, said that when she reported her own experience of domestic violence she was told by elders to do nothing. The accused “remained in the congregation with privileges and authority. Later, when I came out to the congregation elders as gay, they sent two men to my house ... and asked me in detail about sex and masturbation,” she alleged. Operation Hydrant, a British police investigation into allegations of non-recent child sexual abuse, said that it was dealing with 45 potential victims of child abuse within a JehovahÂ’s Witness setting. It said allegations could be made by a third party which either identifies – or does not identify – a potential victim. Based on the GuardianÂ’s findings, the commission said its inquiry into the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain, the JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ governing body in the UK, was continuing and it encouraged anyone affected by safeguarding in congregations of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in England and Wales to come forward. Hallisey said: “Given the number of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in the UK, and what we know about the pervasiveness of abuse in the organisation, there are likely to be hundreds and probably thousands more victims. This is truly just the tip of the iceberg.” She said the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse should investigate. “It is absolutely critical that IICSA investigates the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses ... This is actually a public safety issue. The person knocking on your door or handing you literature in the street could be an accused or even admitted paedophile,” she said. An IICSA spokesperson said that while it was currently delivering its existing programme, the panel would “consider calls for a JehovahÂ’s Witnesses-specific investigation carefully” as work progressed. In a statement, the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses said that safeguarding children was of the utmost importance. They said that a victim and their family had the right to report allegations of child abuse to the police, and that the principle of sufficient evidence was a scriptural rule not related to reporting an allegation of crime to the authorities. “Elders treat victims of child abuse with compassion, understanding, and kindness. Elders will conduct a scriptural investigation of every allegation of child sexual abuse,” they said. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/25/jehovahs-witnesses-accused-of-silencing-victims-of-child-abuse-uk
  3. 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. http://www.newsweek.com/jehovahs-witnesses-child-sexual-abuse-investigators-allegations-united-kingdom-837351
  4. 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
  5. 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. Read more: http://qns.com/story/2017/12/19/report-says-48-priests-accused-child-sex-abuse-worked-queens-diocese-disagrees/
  6. "Some 80 reports of sexual abuse involving the Jehovah’s Witnesses community have been made over the past month, Trouw said on Thursday. Justice minister Sander Dekker has already said that the (JW)church should look to the example of the Catholic church to dealing with complaints about sexual abuse." "We are going to study the measures of the Catholic Church." - Michel van Hilten, spokesman Jehovah's Witnesses source; DutchNews.nl: Dozens come forward to report abuse by Jehovah’s Witnesses http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/12/dozens-come-forward-to-report-abuse-by-jehovahs-witnesses/ https://www.trouw.nl/religie-en-filosofie/minister-dekker-jehova-s-getuigen-moeten-misbruikbeleid-onder-de-loep-nemen-~a796d271/
  7. A former member of the Jehovah Witness congregation will appear in court next week after he was charged with sexually assaulting four boys. The charges stem from ongoing investigations linked to the Royal Commission into institutional child sexual offences. Police allege between 1993 to 2013, the 44-year-old man sexually assaulted four boys aged between 14 and 16 at the time of the offences. READ MORE: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/former-wa-jehovah-witness-charged-with-alleged-historic-child-abuse-offences-20170512-gw37yd.html
  8. 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
  9. A WOMAN who was molested by her father over 5 years and afterwards by a Jehovah’s Witnesses she asked for assistance has oral out about her ordeal. Terrified Angie Rodgers, from Ayrshire, was abused weekly by her perverted Jehovah’s Witness father Ian Cousins from a age of 11. Angie Rodgers was 11 years aged when her father started abusing her The dauntless teen eventually plucked adult a bravery to disclose in a Jehovah’s Witness elders, who took small action and she was after abused by one of them too, Harry Holt. Angie, now 36, said: “I incited to a church for assistance and we was abused a second time. “I was a child and they should have helped, though they incited on me. They make me feel sick. “I don’t consider I’ll ever get over what happened. I’ve usually schooled to live with it. “I have nightmares and flashbacks all a time and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.” Angie’s father was detained for 5 years in 2002 for his crimes, while Holt was usually jailed final year for Angie’s attack along with 7 others he molested. Now aged 36, Angie, a mother-of-four, has bravely waived her anonymity in a wish her story will assistance other people. She said: “Dad did it whenever he got a chance, even when we was ill. Angie Rodgers poses here with others in a Jehovah’s Witness community “Once, we was throwing adult with gastric influenza when father brought me home a feathery bunny, with a organic white floral dress and bloomers. “My wordless went to a Kingdom (church) and my father scooped me adult in his arms from a couch, took me to his room and molested me. “I prayed my wordless would come and save me though she never did. After that he used to try to hold me whenever we were alone. It got worse and worse. “We went to a Jehovah gathering when we was about 14 and he attempted to rape me in a tent. He was usually interrupted when an elder shouted him from outside.” At a age of 15 Angie confided in a friend, whose father led a opposite church, in a wish that they would be means to stop a abuse. While her father Cousins was called in for a “judicial meeting” no movement was taken, as Jehovah’s Witness elders can't act opposite suspects unless “there is a admission or dual convincing witnesses”. Angie was afterwards subjected to an talk by 3 masculine elders including Holt, where she was done to plead insinuate sum of a abuse. She explained: “They even asked what I’d been wearing, as if it was my fault. It was excruciating. we was so genuine we was still personification with toys and Lego during 18.” As Cousins showed plea for his sins he was authorised behind into a church after being reprimanded – and a abuse stopped. A brief while after in 1997, Holt done a pierce on Angie when pushing her home following a event door-knocking for members. She said: “On a approach home in a automobile he grabbed my leg and felt his approach adult towards my underwear.” Shocked, a immature lady told her relatives about a occurrence and a explanation led to Holt journey to Edinburgh. It was suggested in justice final year that he went on to abuse some-more children. Angie motionless to make a censure to a military about her father when she found out he had also abused another dual girls. She also incited her behind on a Jehovah’s Witnesses during 19 in a wish of starting fresh. The sacrament is pronounced to inspire members to reject people who leave, and Angie claimed that she didn’t see her mom for 6 years after she left. In 2014 a censure was done opposite Holt, and Angie concluded to come brazen and pronounce about her horrific experience. In Feb 2016, 71-year-old Holt was condemned to three-and-a-half years in jail for a abuse of 8 girls between 1971 and 2004. Angie said: “If what happened to me helps usually one immature lady – or child – go to a military it will have been value it. What happened to me is horrible though I’m perplexing to pierce on, differently my abusers have won. “The sacrament is zero though a cult. Children are kept wordless by fears of Holy condemnation and Armageddon if they move a church into ill repute. “It’s that fear and a fear of being shunned by friends and family if we leave that stops victims from stating to police. It’s primitive and it has to stop.” When contacted, a Jehovah’s Witnesses wouldn’t criticism on Angie’s box though they did criticism on their position in general. The matter said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses detest child abuse and perspective it as a iniquitous crime and sin. Safety of a children is of a pinnacle importance. “Elders do not defense abusers from a authorities. Anyone who commits a impiety of child abuse faces exclusion from a congregation. Any idea Jehovah’s Witnesses cover adult abuse is false. “We are doing all we can to forestall child abuse and to yield devout comfort to any who have suffered from this terrible impiety and crime.” http://ukstar.org/lifestyle/girl-who-was-abused-by-her-dad-from-the-age-of-11-sought-help-from-jehovahs-witnesses-only-to-be-molested-by-one-of-their-elders/
  10. From the Newspaper the “San Diego Reader” - October 12, 2017 Jehovah's Witnesses look in other direction Lawyers for religious group argue against daily fines in sex-abuse case By Dorian Hargrove, Oct. 12, 2017  Attorneys for the Jehovah's Witness church appeared before a state appellate court yesterday (October 11) in hopes of overturning the $4000 daily sanctions that a trial court ordered them to pay for refusing to turn over documents in one of two sex-abuse cases.  Osbaldo Padron, a former parishioner of the Linda Vista Jehovah's Witness congregation, filed his lawsuit against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ governing body, in 2013. Padron was one of seven people who sued the kingdom over sexual abuse they suffered by a former church elder, Gonzalo Campos. As detailed in an August 30 Reader article, Campos admitted to molesting seven children from 1982 to 1999. Despite his admission, church elders agreed to let Campos rejoin the congregation after a four-year expulsion.  In a 1999 letter, Linda Vista church elder Eduardo Chavez argued for reinstating Campos. He wrote, “In our meeting with him he said he was very repentant for what he did. 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."  In 2010, five victims sued the Watchtower for allowing Campos to serve as an elder despite having knowledge that he molested several children in the congregation. Watchtower settled that case in 2012. The terms of the settlement as well as the evidence against the Watchtower were sealed.  Two more victims, Padron and José Lopez, followed suit.  In 2013, San Diego Superior Court judge Joan Lewis ordered Watchtower to pay $13.5 million for repeatedly refusing to turn over documents that showed the church was aware of sexual abuse and did nothing to stop it.  Attorneys for the Watchtower filed an appeal. They argued that Judge Lewis had acted too soon in issuing the $13.5 million in sanctions and instead the trial court should have imposed less severe sanctions. The appellate court agreed.  In their ruling, the justices wrote, "We conclude the court erred in ordering terminating sanctions because there was no evidence that lesser sanctions would have failed to obtain Watchtower's compliance with the document production order and because there were other possible sanctions that could have effectively remedied the discovery violation. On remand, the court has broad discretion to start with a different sanction that does not wholly eliminate Watchtower's right to a trial."  Then, last year in the Padron case, a different superior court judge, Richard Strauss, followed the appellate court's advice and instead of issuing terminating sanctions imposed $4000 daily sanctions on the Watchtower for refusing to turn over the documents that Padron's attorneys had requested. Again, Watchtower's attorneys filed an appeal.  On October 11, those attorneys appeared before the Fourth District Appellate Court to argue that the trial court was wrong to issue daily sanctions — exactly what they had argued for in the appellate court Lopez case just months prior.  Justice Richard Huffman did not hide his displeasure that Watchtower's attorneys were arguing against what they had previously supported to the same court. "You can't have it both ways," Huffman said during argument. "[The Lopez] ruling has come around to bite you and now you're saying, 'not fair, not fair.' You were headed in one direction before and now youÂ’re headed another way. It's a breathtaking position to listen to." The appellate court has 90 days to issue its formal ruling." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Our donations are being used to OBSTRUCT JUSTICE ! Â
  11. CHILD sexual assault is a secret crime carried out by men and women who do everything they can to avoid detection. Which is why one passage in the Bible is a Get Out of Jail Free card for offenders, particularly when adhered to so strictly by those within religious organisations. Timothy 5:19: demands followers “do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses”. It’s a message echoed in Matthew 18:16: that reads, among other things, “ ... at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established”. The two passages became the focus this week of a royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witness church in Australia, of which there are 65,000 followers. Having adopted a number of recommendations in the name of greater transparency, there was only one thing the church refused to change: a 2000-year-old protocol requiring two witnesses before a child sexual assault allegation be investigated. Before the commission, Jehovah’s Witness spokesman Terrence O’Brien said the church “considered the implications of the finding” that the two-witness rule should be scrapped. “And your response is that the two-witness rule is required by the scriptures and can’t be changed or avoided?” he was asked. “That’s correct. That’s our stand.” But it’s a stand Dr Cathy Kezelman, who deals daily with victims of child sexual abuse, labelled “ludicrous”. The president of the Blue Knot Foundation told news.com.au the rule is problematic because abuse of children is so rarely carried out in front of a witness. Angus Stewart SC questioned Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney this month. Picture: Jeremy Piper/AAPSource:AAP “The idea that you need a witness is a ludicrous one,” she said. “Obviously sexual abuse is a secret crime. It tends to be a private crime, which by virtually every definition has no witnesses. “That’s one of the reasons sexual abuse against children has been able to flourish.” She said children “rarely” make up stories about being abused and most don’t have the language to describe what happened to them. She said the trauma she sees is long-lasting. “What we know about sexual abuse is that it is often extreme, it often goes on over a long period of time and during a child’s developmental years. It’s an abuse of power and a betrayal of trust. Within religious institutions we see the betrayal is compounded when the child tries to disclose what they’ve been through.” Dr Kezelman said it was disappointing Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to change the rule but other churches were making positive steps. On Sunday, the Uniting Church in Australia apologised to children sexually abused in its congregations. The president of the church’s general assembly, Stuart McMillan, said he was “deeply sorry”. “We are, and I am, deeply sorry that we didn’t protect and care in accordance with our Christian values for those children. “I want to acknowledge the impact that it’s had in the lives of those young people and to say I’m truly sorry.” The investigation into decades of sexual abuse within the Australian arm of the church is making news around the world. The Washington Post reported that victims were often forced to confront their abusers in person and that all complaints — which averaged 12 each year for 65 years — were meticulously recorded and sealed. When there were less than two witnesses, the complaints went nowhere. All because the church invested so heavily and read so literally into Matthew 18:16 and Timothy 5:19. rohan.smith1@news.com.au | @ro_smith http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/jehovahs-witnesses-refuse-to-change-twowitness-rule-because-thats-our-stand/news-story/ee1f5bdd2561d99f6d1f608f039ee200
  12. Quebec provincial police are investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by two members of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Mont-Laurier in the Laurentians, Radio-CanadaÂ’s investigative program Enquête has learned. Both men have been sanctioned through the churchÂ’s internal disciplinary process for dealing with allegations of child abuse, but congregation elders did not share their findings with civil authorities. One of the men being investigated, Michel Courtemanche, who has been expelled from the congregation, was acquitted of charges of sexual assault and indecent assault in 1996. However, the Sûreté du Québec has renewed its investigation of Courtemanche and has begun investigating another man, former congregation elder Georges Leclerc, based on new evidence from at least seven alleged victims. Leclerc has been stripped of his status as an elder, but he has not been arrested or charged, and he refused to speak with Enquête. Courtemanche has not been arrested or charged as a result of the new investigation and denies the allegations against him. In an interview with Enquête, he pointed to his 1996 acquittal. “My answer is there was a judgment on this based on very precise facts, and I was acquitted,” he said. At least 7 potential victims, police say Enquête spoke with Pénélope Herbert, the woman whose allegations of repeated sexual assaults starting when she was just 10 led to CourtemancheÂ’s 1996 trial.  Carolle Poudrier, now in her mid-40s, also told Enquête of alleged sexual contact by Courtemanche, over a period of months when she was 11. In the case of Herbert, she said the assaults continued until she was 17 — even after her family moved from Mont-Laurier. “He would come to our house to say hello and would sleep over,” Herbert, now 42, told Enquête. “Those nights, he would come to my room. WeÂ’re talking total rape, those nights.” Carolle Poudrier told Enquête of alleged sexual contact by Michel Courtemanche, over a period of months when she was 11. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada) Enquête has learned the SQ has interviewed more than 40 people, of whom seven have been identified as potential victims of either Courtemanche or Leclerc. Four of the seven, including Herbert and Poudrier, have now filed formal complaints with police. SQ spokesperson Martine Asselin told Enquête theyÂ’re now seeking other possible victims and witnesses. “WeÂ’re looking to identify other potential victims who perhaps feel theyÂ’re alone and arenÂ’t ready to talk,” Asselin said. “They should know that investigators are ready to meet with them and witnesses.” Both men were friends According to Enquête, Leclerc and Courtemanche were friends around the time HerbertÂ’s parents lodged an internal complaint with the congregation about the alleged assaults on their daughter. Leclerc was, as a congregation elder, a senior member of the congregation who is responsible for providing religious guidance and ruling on disciplinary matters. Enquête said Leclerc allegedly did not speak to Herbert to learn the details of her complaint, as required by JehovahÂ’s Witness protocols in such matters. Courtemanche was later reprimanded and allowed to remain in the congregation. Georges Leclerc and Michel Courtemanche were friends around the time Pénélope HerbertÂ’s parents lodged an internal complaint with the congregation, according to Enquête. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada) Disillusioned with how the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses had handled her complaint, Herbert took her allegations to police in 1995. Courtemanche remained a JehovahÂ’s Witness after his acquittal but was expelled in 2014, Enquête found, after two other women filed internal complaints alleging he had assaulted them as minors. Leclerc remains with the Mont-Laurier congregation, but Enquête says he was stripped of his elder duties after at least three women filed complaints internally with the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, alleging he had assaulted them when they were minors. Police, youth protection not notified of allegations According to Enquête, the first time police investigated HerbertÂ’s allegations against Courtemanche in the mid-1990s, they were not aware Carolle PoudrierÂ’s parents had also alleged Courtemanche had assaulted their daughter. PoudrierÂ’s parents were members of a congregation in Terrebonne, just north of Montreal, and had filed their complaint there — not with CourtemancheÂ’s congregation in Mont-Laurier. Poudrier alleged that Courtemanche, who was working for her dad, would make her sit on his lap so he could caress and tickle her, which made her uneasy. A few months later, he kissed her twice. “He asked me if IÂ’d ever kissed anyone, and he put his tongue in my mouth. I found that disgusting,” Poudrier told Enquête. After she told her parents and they complained, Poudrier was made to recount what happened to a congregational elder in the presence of her father. Carolle Poudrier told what happened to a congregational elder in the presence of her father. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada) “I was really stressed talking about sexual matters with a man I didnÂ’t know, in front of my father. It was embarrassing,” Poudrier said. She said the elder thanked her for telling him what had happened and said that “he was there to take care of it.” In a lawyerÂ’s letter to Radio-Canada, the elder in question, John MacEwan, said he knew PoudrierÂ’s family but denied meeting with them concerning allegations against Courtemanche. When asked by Enquête if the Terrebonne congregation had shared the complaint against Courtemanche with his Mont-Laurier congregation, MacEwan refused to answer. Neither police nor youth protection authorities were ever notified of the alleged assaults on Poudrier. The JehovahÂ’s Witnesses leadership, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, has given preference to internal judicial procedures and protocols for dealing with matters such as child abuse. Carolle PoudrierÂ’s father, left, had worked with Michel Courtemanche, right. (Jasmin Simard/Radio-Canada) “In some jurisdictions, individuals who learn of an allegation of child abuse may be obligated by law to report the allegation to the secular authorities,” an internal memo to elders from 2016 reads. “In all cases, the victim and her parents have the absolute right to report an allegation to the authorities.” When it comes to sharing information with outside authorities, however, the leadership has insisted on maintaining confidentiality, citing privacy and the ecclesiastical privilege conferred by confessions. Enquête found there are as many as 30 steps a JehovahÂ’s Witness must take before that person is allowed to testify in court or furnish civil authorities with church documents, when it comes to matters of child abuse. “When you study the process, you realize itÂ’s really a process for avoiding, a system for protecting the reputation of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses,”  said Marilou Lagacé, a former Witness interviewed by Enquête. New instructions regarding allegations of child sexual abuse A recent royal commission in Australia found the JehovahÂ’s Witness church there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members over a 60-year period. Not one allegation had been reported to authorities outside the church. With pressure mounting in the wake of that royal commission and other allegations of sexual abuse of children in its ranks, on Sept. 1, the Watchtower Society issued new instructions regarding allegations of child sexual abuse. Those instructions recognize child sexual abuse as a crime and assert that members should be “clearly informed that they have the right” to report an allegation of abuse to police. “The congregationÂ’s handling of an accusation of child sexual abuse is not intended to replace the secular authorityÂ’s handling of the matter,” the Sept. 1 letter reads. “Therefore, the victim, her parents, or anyone else who reports such an allegation to the elders should be clearly informed that they have the right to report the matter to the secular authorities. Elders do not criticize anyone who chooses to make such a report.” http://www.news.club/quebec-police-probe-possible-cases-of-child-sexual-abuse-in-jehovahs-witnesses-congregation/
  13. http://www.neonnettle.com/features/891-pedophile-priest-with-hiv-who-raped-30-children-forgiven-by-church Pedophile Priest With HIV who Raped 30 Children Forgiven by Church Catholic Church absolved priest after who faces no criminal charges for raping young girls under 10 A Catholic Priest has been acquitted by the church after he admitted to raping almost 30 young girls aged between 5 and 10-years-old. The priest, Jose Garcia Ataulfo, was cleared of any wrong-doing and won't face any criminal charges, despite the fact that he knew he was infected with HIV when he sexually abused all the children he admitted to raping. The mother of one of the priest's victims wrote a letter to The Pope asking to meet with him in Rome to discuss the case, but was shunned by the Vatican who declared that "the matter is closed". Ataulfo admitted to sexually assaulting well over two dozen children, many of whom were indigenous young girls from Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico known for its large indigenous population. Due to the significant influence that the Catholic Church wields in Mexico, the priest won't face any criminal charges, particularly for his crimes in areas populated by indigenous ethnic groups. The report which first appeared on the Spanish-language news site Urgente24.com, says the priest, was absolved of any wrongdoing by the Archdiocese of Mexico. According to Urgente24.com, only two out of the thirty rape victims have come forward to denounce the acquittal.
  14. 26 April 2017 27 April 2017 28 April 2017 1 May 2017 6 May 2017
  15. The Jehovah's Witness Church in Australia failed to protect children in its care from sexual predators, a report has found. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse delivered its report into the organisation on Monday. It stated that: "Children are not adequately protected from the risk of child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witness organisation and [the commission] does not believe the organisation responds adequately to allegations of child sexual abuse." Survivors of sexual abuse within the church and senior church members appeared before a public hearing last year. The inquiry heard the church received allegations of child sexual abuse involving more than 1000 of its members over a 60-year period but did not report a single claim to police. In its report on the inquiry, the royal commission found that the organisation's general practice of "not reporting serious instances of child sexual abuse to police or authorities, demonstrated a serious failure on its part to provide for the safety and protection of children." The royal commission determined that the church's response to allegations of child sexual abuse were outdated, including a rule that there must be two witnesses to an incident, which "showed a serious lack of understanding of the nature of child sexual abuse". "It noted the rule, which the Jehovah's Witness organisation relies on, and applies inflexibly even in the context of child sexual abuse, was devised more than 2000 years ago," the report found. Royal commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan. Photo: Jeremy Piper The Jehovah's Witnesses approach to handling claims internally was not appropriate for children or survivors of sexual abuse, the report found. "Survivors are offered little or no choice in how their complaint is addressed, sanctions are weak with little regard to the risk of the perpetrator re-offending." The head of the Jehovah's Witness community's service desk, Rodney Spinks, is considering the report and is expected respond on Monday afternoon. http://aunews24.com/25951/Jehovahs-Witnesses-demonstrated-a-serious-failure-to-protect-children-Royal-Commission
  16. © Justin McManus Lara Kaput has started a campaign to apply scrutiny to the Jehovah's Witnesses. Three decades ago Jodi*'s family were searching for a better life for themselves and their four children, well away from the gritty inner-city high rise apartment they called home. The family packed up their belongings and moved to rural Victoria where they planned to start anew. © Supplied Tara's family moved to rural Victoria in search of a better life but she says they were indoctrinated into the Jehovah's Witnesses. Then one morning a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on the door to spread the word of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. That was when Jodi's nightmare began. "These nice people were promising a community with no drugs, no alcohol and no crime – it sounded very appealing," said Jodi, who asked that her name be withheld. "They love bomb you. They sell you this vision of a perfect community. It is anything but. It's indoctrination. It's a cult, it really is. But they convince you it's a religion." The Jehovah's Witness church and its overarching body, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, came to the attention of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse with a 2015 case study hearing more than 1000 allegations of paedophilia had been made against the organisation over 60 years yet not one complaint was reported to police. This echoes Jodi's experience. Now 35, she says she was abused by a church elder and his daughter when she was eight years old. When she was 13 she mustered up the courage to report the abuse to church authorities but was not believed and branded a liar. She left the church shortly after. "They preach love but they don't show love," she said. Another former member, Lara Kaput, describes the Jehovah's Witnesses as "cruel". © Supplied Tara today. She still suffers from nightmares as a result of her experience with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Ms Kaput, 44, was raised in a Jehovah's Witness family in Victoria where close contact with people outside the church was discouraged, women were taught to obey men and the teachings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society were unquestioned. She left the Jehovah's Witnesses when she was 19 and was shunned by the community. Over the past 25 years she's had only sporadic contact with family members who are still involved in the church. "You are ostracised from your entire family and friend network," she said. "Prior to (leaving) they incorporated me as a regular family member. After that I was dead to them." Ms Kaput has launched a campaign on change.org to have charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission, investigate the organisation. "This is not an organisation which should have charitable status," she said. Nor is it a safe organisation for children, the royal commission determined when it handed down its findings into the institution last year. Shine Lawyers principal Lisa Flynn specialises in institutional sexual abuse and describes the culture of Jehovah's Witness church as deeply problematic. "The Jehovah's Witnesses have many practices and policies which create a perfect storm for child abuse," she said. Ms Flynn describes the organisation as "controlling, insular and isolating". "Anyone who complains faces the risk of being shunned and isolated from their families and friends and the way of life they have known," she said. "That makes people very reluctant to report abuse." And those who do report face hurdles such as the "two witness rule" which requires two eye witnesses to an allegation, having to confront the alleged abuser and giving evidence to a panel of male elders. "It's often the case that no action is taken," she said. "That leads to a climate where a perpetrator is free to go off and continue perpetrating." Following the royal commission's hearing, Jehovah's Witnesses leaders promised to reform the organisation's child protection policies and procedures. But on Friday the commission heard the Jehovah's Witnesses have failed to address many recommendations which would make the organisation safer for children. The commission was told the organisation, which has 67,000 Australian followers, has "reviewed, clarified, refined and consolidated" its policies on child sexual abuse to ensure "as far as possible" the safety of children. Counsel assisting the commission Angus Stewart SC said, despite this: "The Jehovah's Witnesses have failed to address many of the recommendations (from the commission)." The commission has referred information about 514 alleged perpetrators within the Jehovah's Witnesses to the police since the initial hearing. Terrence O'Brien, a director of Watchtower Australia, told the hearing allegations of child sexual abuse are reported to the police. The commission heard the Jehovah's Witnesses have referred a further 15 allegations to police since 2015. Senior minister with Watchtower Australia Rodney Spinks said: "We've taken the recommendations of the royal commission seriously." Jodi, who now lives in Queensland, still bears the scars from her experience with the Jehovah's Witnesses. "I still sleep with the light on and my dog on the bed," she said. "My little fox terrier is ancient and missing half her teeth but I feel safer with her on the bed beside me. I still have nightmares." The hearing into the Jehovah's Witnesses, before Justice Peter McClellan, has adjourned. Blue Knot Helpline 1300 657 380 Lifeline 13 11 14 https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/inside-the-jehovahs-witnesses-a-perfect-storm-for-abuse/ar-AAo5v7b
  17. By Trey Bundy / February 17, 2017 The Jehovah’s Witnesses settled a lawsuit this week brought by a Pennsylvania woman who says the religion’s leaders covered up sexual abuse she suffered as a teenager. The settlement came five days into a trial in which Stephanie Fessler, a former Jehovah’s Witness, claimed the religion’s parent corporation violated Pennsylvania’s child abuse reporting laws by instructing local leaders – known as elders – not to report her allegations to police. According to Fessler, a middle-aged Jehovah’s Witness woman, Terry Monheim, began sexually abusing her when she was 14. At 15, Fessler disclosed the abuse to her parents. Her father was an elder in their congregation. Fessler’s parents informed other congregation elders, who interrogated Fessler and Monheim but failed to report the abuse to police. As a result, Monheim continued to abuse Fessler for another year, according to court documents. In 2011, Fessler, then 22, reported Monheim to police. Monheim eventually pleaded guilty to indecent assault and corruption of a minor and was sentenced to between three and 23 months in prison and five years’ probation. Pennsylvania law mandates that anyone, including clergy, who comes into contact with children during the course of their work must report child abuse to authorities. Fessler’s attorney, Jeff Fritz, said that “out of an abundance of caution” regarding the settlement, he could not discuss details of the Pennsylvania case. “A matter with the Jehovah’s Witnesses has been resolved,” he said. Jehovah’s Witnesses generally are discouraged from interacting with government. But for more than 25 years, the religion’s headquarters – known as the Watchtower – has issued written policies directing congregation leaders not to report child sexual abuse to law enforcement, unless it’s required by state law, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting previously found. The Watchtower maintains a database of alleged child abusers in congregations across the U.S. going back two decades and has violated court orders in at least three California lawsuits to hand it over to the courts. It could provide a road map to thousands of accused child molesters living freely in communities across the country. https://www.revealnews.org/blog/jehovahs-witnesses-settle-lawsuit-alleging-coverup-of-child-sex-abuse/
  18. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Source: @CARoyalComm/Twitter More than one in five members of the Christian Brothers order were alleged child sexual abuse perpetrators and 7% of Australian Catholic priests have allegedly perpetrated abuse since 1950, the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has been told. The commission reopened in Sydney today for its 50th case study, looking into the policies and procedures of Catholic church authorities. Six archbishops from across Australia have been called to give evidence in the coming weeks. It’s the 16th time the four-year-long inquiry has looked into the Catholic church and the first time figures have been released on abuse levels. Senior counsel assisting, Gail Furness SC, outlined shocking levels of child sexual abuse in her opening address, saying 4,444 people were allegedly abused between 1980 and 2015 in around 1000 different institutions. “Of priests from the 75 Catholic Church authorities with priest members surveyed, who ministered in Australia between 1950 and 2010, 7.9% of diocesan priests were alleged perpetrators and 5.7% of religious priests were alleged perpetrators,” Furness said. “Overall, 7% of priests were alleged perpetrators.” The average age of the victims was just 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys. On average, it took around 33 years from the incident before claims of abuse emerged. The widespread levels of abuse outlined by Furness over the last four decades include the Marist Brothers, which like the Christian Brothers, runs schools, and 20% of the order were perpetrators. The figure climbed to a staggering 40.4% in the St John of God Brothers order. Among the abusers, nearly 1,900 have been identified, but another 500 are still unknown. Among the perpetrators, 32% were religious brothers, 30% were priests, and 29% were lay people, with religious sisters at 5%. Data suggested 21.5% of priests from the Benedictine Community of New Norcia were alleged perpetrators. There were regional hotspots of abuse, most notably in Sale and Sandhurst in Victoria, with around 15% of priests allegedly responsible, followed by Port Pirie in South Australia, and Lismore and Wollongong in NSW. Nearly four in every 10 private sessions (37%) held with abuse survivors involved the Catholic church. Furness said accounts of abuse survivors “were depressingly similar”. “Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious (members) were moved,” she said. “The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past. Documents were not kept or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed as did cover ups. “Priests and religious (members) were not properly dealt with and outcomes were often not representative of their crimes. Many children suffered and continue as adults to suffer from their experiences in some Catholic institutions.” The abuse claims were made to 93 Catholic Church authorities and the Holy See blocked attempts by the royal commission to find out what action was taken by the church against priests suspected of abuse. Furness said Rome refused to release any documents on the issue, telling the commission in 2014 that it was “neither possible nor appropriate to provide the information requested”. The commission also sought documents on a named Australian priest but “was told that ‘to avoid compromising the integrity of the canonical proceeding’ it was not possible to provide all of the documents requested”. Today Furness revealed a number of senior Catholic officials who initially accepted invitations to appear before the commission have pulled out in recent weeks. Among them was the US head of child protection in the church, Deacon Bernard Nojadera, who subsequently refused to even provide a signed statement. The royal commission will spend the next three weeks on this final look at the Catholic church and its responses to abuse allegations before turning its attention to a range of other religious groups later this year, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Uniting and Anglican churches and Yeshivah Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/more-than-4400-children-were-allegedly-abused-by-catholic-orders-in-the-last-35-years-2017-2
  19. Europa Press reports that AbusosTJ (JW Abuses), an activist group in Spain, plans to file a legal complaint against the Watchtower offices in Spain for refusing to release internal documents, files and other evidence involving dozens of child abuse cases within the Jehovah’s Witness religion. ------------------------------------- Jehovah’s Witness Members Will Report the (Watchtower) Organization for Failing to Provide Them with documents Regarding Child Abuse By EUROPA PRESS / lainformacion.com MADRID | 1/16/2017 – 3:00 p.m. [Revised Translation of Original Report] The AbusosTJ [JW Abuses] group, which represents ex-members of Jehovah’s Witnesses who report cases of sexual abuse in congregations, will file a complaint against the entity for not providing them with documents on cases of abuse that they requested and which [include] envelopes and secret files. According to them, in Spain they have been contacted by “dozens” of victims. The members of this collective [group], Miguel García López and Israel Florez, went to the national headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ajalvir (Madrid) on Monday, January 16, [2016] after having requested through a Burofax with certified content [sent] to the president of the National Board of Directors of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Spain [requesting] the delivery of “all the secret documents that the religion keeps on their cases of abuse of minors.” The group has indicated that they have received a negative response to their request and that they have not been approached by any executive or ecclesiastical officer of the religion, so they have informed the receptionist that they will file a complaint. Members of TJ Abuses call for “redress and justice,” the change of all “secret” protocols imposed by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a clear indication to local elders that Police or Civil Guard [will be notified of] any evidence of child abuse. Last December, the group wrote an open letter to the National Board of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch Tower Bible [and Tract Society] in Brooklyn, New York, the legal entity that supports the work, where they complained that congregations hide sexual abuse and [they] demand justice. “To the demands in the United States will continue our commitment and defense of the rights of the children, in all the instances, and by [any] means of communication throughout Europe. Nothing will stop us in our personal commitment to achieving without hate or grudge, reparation and justice for ALL victims of child abuse within the cult of the Watch Tower,” the letter said. Specifically, they complained that when a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses is accused of sexual abuse, congregations have “secret” courts with internal rules that judge [the] cases and “silence the victims.” As they say, “thousands of children” have been victims.
  20. A man who fondled a young boy he came into contact with through his church has been jailed and threatened with deportation. Yesterday at Inverness Sheriff Court, 45-year-old Zbigniew Komorowski was sent to prison for 14 months by Sheriff David Sutherland, who also recommended he was returned to Poland. Komorowski, of Polvanie View, Inverness, was told: “The only appropriate sentence is one of prison. You will also be placed on the sex offender’s register for five years and I will recommend that you be deported.” Komorowski had pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the boy on one occasion between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 by touching him on the genital area on top of his clothing. He also admitted breaching a bail condition banning him from approaching unaccompanied children when he offered them drinks and biscuits outside his home while he was awaiting sentence. Fiscal depute Ross Carvel had told the court that Komorowski became friendly with the parents of the child as they were members of the same church and were Jehovah’s Witnesses. “They became concerned about the behaviour of Komorowski when their son’s behaviour changed. He had nightmares and on one occasion he took his mother’s hand and put it on his crotch area. “There was a confrontation with Komorowski who spoke with a number of elders at the church. He admitted the offence. Then the father told the police after Komorowski was expelled. “At the police interview, he said he knew what he had done was wrong but he did not know why he did it.” Mr Carvel added. https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/inverness/1127519/man-faces-deportation-after-fondling-young-boy-he-met-through-church/
  21. A Jehovah’s Witness preacher and elder has been jailed for having sexual activity with a girl of 14. Family man Daniel Arthington, 46, of Llanddaniel, Anglesey, pleaded guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court and was sent to prison for two years and eight months. “I’m satisfied there was an element of grooming involved in your successful attempt in snaring your young prey,” Judge Huw Rees told him. “Your fall from grace is substantial but you have nobody to blame but yourself.’ Anna Pope, prosecuting, said the defendant had responsibilities which included being an elder, preacher and other duties. She described how a local builder had noticed a van parked on occasions on a remote lane near Bangor Rugby Club. He spotted it in the afternoon of October 17, with a male driver and a female sitting close to him. Becoming suspicious he told a friend who was a police officer who arrived and could hear voices from the back of the van, “with noises consistent with sexual activity.” Miss Pope added: “He waited for about 20 minutes during which he saw the van rocking from side to side, and the prosecution say this was the defendant involved in sexual activity with a child.” Arthington got back into the front of the van, appearing short of breath, and the policeman asked the passenger to get out. The court heard Arthington said to the girl: “Tell him you’re 19, I’ve already told him.” When asked for her date of birth the girl admitted she was 14 and on his way to the police station Arthington declared: “I’m dead.” Miss Pope said there was a mattress and sheet in the back of the van. In an impact statement the girl said she now felt sad and depressed, had lost weight and couldn’t sleep. Her family was now considering whether to move. Simon Rogers, defending, said his client’s family was standing by Arthington. “He’s deeply ashamed of what he has done and has let down himself and his family. “He’s been married 27 years with two children.” References described him as “hard working, kind and compassionate.” Judge Rees told Arthington he been greedy and lustful. He told him: “You made a sly attempt to prevent the police from seeing her and tried to hoodwink them that she was 19.” A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was imposed whose terms ban any contact with the girl and he must register indefinitely as a sexual offender. After the case Detective Sergeant Daf Curry of Caernarfon CID said, “The kind of acts this man perpetrated have caused his victim and her family huge damage. “By exploiting a position of trust, particularly towards a vulnerable child, he has betrayed them all and I hope they feel some sense of justice has been reached and they can attempt to rebuild their lives. “We welcome the sentence and I’d like to assure the communities of North Wales that we will treat every allegation of sexual abuse seriously and thoroughly pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice.” A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said that Arthington was sacked as an elder soon after his arrest. He said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family of the girl. We abhor any child abuse. “He was removed from a position of trust as soon as it became known.” The spokesman said that elders were a spiritual position and were chosen from within the congregation after many years service and study of the Bible. He added: “The elders are there to protect the welfare of the congregation. And I would like to repeat we detest this disgusting crime.” http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/sly-anglesey-jehovahs-witness-preacher-12361109

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