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  1. Jehovah's Witnesses have been severely criticised by the Charity Commission for allowing a convicted sex offender to interrogate his victims. The commission's report said the women had endured "inappropriate and demeaning questioning". And Jonathan Rose had challenged them during a meeting with Church elders, after he was released from prison. A Jehovah's Witness statement said "appropriate restrictions" were imposed on anyone guilty of abuse. Rose was convicted in 2013 of the historical sexual abuse of two girls, aged five and 10, and sentenced to nine months in prison. Both he and the girls, at the time of the assaults, were members of the New Moston Kingdom Hall, in Manchester. At the time of his conviction, Rose was a senior member, or "elder", of the Jehovah's Witnesses. He appealed against a move to expel him, a process known as "disfellowshipping". In order to decide his fate, a group of elders had called the two women to a meeting at the Kingdom Hall, along with a third woman who had alleged in the 1990s that Rose had assaulted her, the report said. 'Very intimidating' Over three hours in April 2014, the women were individually questioned by Rose and a room full of male elders. In an audio recording made by one of the women and passed to the BBC, Rose is heard saying to one woman: "Give me one reason why I would touch you?" He is heard challenging the woman, accusing her of making up the allegations and asking her to relive the assault. "What I am saying to you is this didn't happen," he says. "What was I supposed to have done to you that night?" One of the elders asks: "Did you ever egg him on?" "It was worse than the court case," another of the women told the BBC. "I felt everyone was on his side. I felt I was in the wrong. I felt very intimidated that it was all men, very, very intimidating. I was shocked he was able to talk to me. "He kept making out that I was lying. He kept saying why did I make it up, why would I say something like that, and at no point did I feel he was going to admit it. "I got to the point where I thought, 'He genuinely believes he's not done anything wrong.'" She added that another of the women had burst out of her meeting in tears, claiming Rose had asked if "she'd enjoyed it". In 2014, the Charity Commission, which regulates both the New Moston Kingdom Hall and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain - the main UK Jehovah's Witness organisation, opened an investigation into how the trustees of the church had handled the case. The movement launched several legal actions to stop the inquiry, claiming the commission was acting beyond its remit. Eventually, the challenges were thrown out by the courts, and the report says: "The trustees of the charity... acting on legal advice, declined to engage with the commission following the opening of its inquiry." 'Mismanagement' The report also found the charity's trustees had failed to tell the commission about the allegation against Rose from the 1990s, as they should have done. In a subsequent letter to the regulator, the trustees described the incident as merely "a matter between two teenagers", evidence, says the report, that they did not properly take account of the earlier incident when considering the new allegations. The report said they also failed to fully enforce the restrictions they had put on Rose's activities, allowing him to continue participating in the Church, and they "did not deal adequately" with the appeal meeting, allowing the questioning to take place, and therefore failing in their duties to protect people from harm. Taken together, the failures "constitute misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity" by the trustees, the report said. "This has to be dealt with in a way that is sensitive to the victims who have gone through this terrible ordeal," said Michelle Russell, director of investigations at the Charity Commission. "In this case, they let the victims down." 'No unsupervised contact' A statement from Watch Tower said: "Jehovah's Witnesses abhor child abuse in all of its forms and do not shield wrongdoers from the authorities or from the consequences of their actions. All allegations of abuse are thoroughly investigated and appropriate restrictions are imposed on any person who is guilty of child sexual abuse. "For years, Jehovah's Witnesses have had a robust child safeguarding policy. The trustees followed the policy by imposing restrictions on the perpetrator and by ensuring that he had no unsupervised contact with children during congregation meetings. "The trustees will continue to concentrate on doing all that they can to safeguard children and to care for the spiritual needs of the congregation." Jonathan Rose told the BBC he had no comment to make. The commission is now undertaking a wider inquiry into how Jehovah's Witnesses across the UK handle allegations of child sexual abuse. One particular concern is the Church's policy of dismissing an allegation if it fails its two-witness policy, which states two people need to have seen the abuse for the Church to proceed with a full investigation. There are also calls for the independent child abuse inquiry to examine the Church's policy. http://wasabi-now.com/article/789d16757a2195514928f45f3a5b0ad0
  2. La policía ha evacuado el estadio Manchester Arena e investiga los hechos como un ataque terrorista La policía de Manchester ha confirmado que se han producido 19 víctimas mortales y más de 50 heridos durante una actuación de la artista estadounidense Ariana Grande en Manchester. Las fuerzas de seguridad han evacuado el estadio Manchester Arena al recibir información de dos fuertes detonaciones al final del concierto, al que asistían cerca de 20.000 personas. La policía está abordando la investigación desde la perspectiva de un acto terrorista y ha desplegado una unidad de artificieros en la zona. Leer más: http://www.lavanguardia.com/sucesos/20170523/422819423980/explosiones-concierto-ariana-grande-manchester-arena.html
  3. Tribunal rejects claim investigation into charity’s handling of sexual abuse allegations amounts to religious discrimination A Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Manchester has lost a legal attempt to block an investigation into its handling of sexual abuse allegations, after failing to convince a judge that the inquiry amounted to religious discrimination. Organisations linked to the religion have fought legally to prevent the Charity Commission from launching two inquiries into allegations that survivors of sexual abuse were being forced to face their attackers in so-called judicial committees. The organisation’s efforts have been described by the commission as unprecedented. The Charity Commission launched a statutory inquiry into the Manchester New Moston congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2014, after reports surfaced that a convicted paedophile, Jonathan Rose, was brought face-to-face with survivors of his abuse in a judicial committee. After Rose served nine months in prison for child sex offences, the New Moston congregation held a meeting attended by senior members, Rose and three of his victims – now adults – to see if he would be “disfellowshipped”, or expelled from of the congregation, the judgment notes. This would have involved “the elders of the charity (its trustees) and Mr Rose interviewing his victims, in an apparently intrusive way”. This raised serious concerns at the Charity Commission, which oversees whether charity trustees are meeting their safeguarding responsibilities. The commission also launched a statutory inquiry into safeguarding the UK’s main Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible Tract Society of Great Britain (WTBTS), which oversees the UK’s 1,500 congregations and is believed to play a key role in deciding how claims of abuse are handled. WTBTS launched litigation including an attempt to challenge in the supreme court the commission’s decision to start an investigation. The charity also fought in the lower courts against production orders that would oblige it to give the commission access to records showing how it handled the allegations, although in January it dropped its opposition to these requests. The Manchester New Moston congregation launched appeals at the first-tier tribunal challenging the Charity Commission’s decision to open a formal inquiry, arguing among other things that the investigation interfered with the congregation’s human rights, and that the decision to launch the inquiry amounted to religious discrimination. The charity alleged the commission had investigated safeguarding concerns at other charities without launching a full statutory inquiry. When the first appeal was dismissed, the congregation appealed to the upper tribunal. This was rejected on Tuesday at the upper tribunal of the tax and chancery division at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Mrs Justice Asplin ruled the lower tribunal had been “entitled to decide that there was no direct discrimination on the grounds of religion, the inquiry having been opened on the basis of unusual and distinctive factual reasons ... and that there were no other comparable cases from which to infer discrimination on the grounds of religious beliefs.” The Charity Commission’s head of litigation, Chris Willis Pickup, said: “We regret that public and charity funds have been used on this protracted litigation, but we will continue to defend robustly our legitimate role in investigating serious concerns about charities. “We hope and expect that this judgment concludes the litigation on this matter and allows us, and the charity, to focus our efforts on concluding the Commission’s inquiry.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/04/jehovahs-witnesses-congregations-efforts-to-block-inquiry-squashed?CMP=twt_gu
  4. Stephanie Booth was once in the running to buy Wrexham AFC Stephanie Booth, one of North Wales' most colourful characters, has died at the age of 70. Also known as Stephanie Ann Lloyd, the businesswoman and hotelier was regularly in the spotlight during her amazing life and career, even featuring in her own BBC Wales show, Hotel Stephanie. Originally born Keith Hull to parents who were Jehovah's Witnesses, she had to overcome transgender prejudice following her sex change from family man to female entrepreneur. As a man, she worked as a director of a FTSE 100 company and became a father of three after marrying at the age of 21. But, 16 years later in 1983, Ms Booth underwent gender reassignment surgery. The flamboyant character told how she lost her job and family following the surgery, but was determined to forge ahead with her new identity and life. Speaking about the gender reassignment, Ms Booth said: “Gender reassignment is a long, painful journey. It solves one painful problem in your life but creates others.” In the mid 80s, she launched a transgender mail order catalogue and a contact magazine. A transgender hotel was set up in Manchester with a second shop in London. Ms Booth married David Booth, and they moved from Manchester about 23 years ago to start one of the most respected business partnerships in North Wales. They had a chain of seven hotels including Bodidris Hall in Llandegla, The Wynnstay Arms in Wrexham, and The Wild Pheasant , The Chainbridge and The Bryn Howel in Llangollen. In 2008 and 2009, the BBC Wales fly-on-the wall documentary Hotel Stephanie hit the screens, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the larger-than-life character. In 2011, Ms Booth was in the running to buy crisis-hit Wrexham AFC , but the club eventually came under the stewardship of the Wrexham Supporters Trust. Later that year, Ms Booth's business went through troubled times when a chain of hotels run by her went into administration. Ms Booth died at the age of 70 after a tractor crash at a farm on the outskirts of Corwen on Sunday night. http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/stephanie-booth-larger-life-character-11907389
  5. Dog owners have been given leaflets telling them to keep their pets off the streets for religious reasons. The handouts were published by a movement called ‘for public purity’, it claims the area has a large Muslim population who would be upset with seeing dogs on the streets.

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