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Trial scheduled for Jehovah's Witnesses elders accused of failing to report sexual abuse

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Two Jehovah's Witnesses elders accused of failing to notify police that a congregant was sexually abusing a child are scheduled for a joint trial in July.

Jehovah's Witnesses elder Michael Penkava, 72, of Crystal Lake, and Colin Scott, 87, of Cary, were charged in November with violating reporting provisions. Both men are accused of failing to notify police about a church member who later was convicted of sexually abusing a child.

The abuse continued for more than a decade after the church elders became aware of the accusations, prosecutors have said.

A judge on Wednesday denied a request to exclude testimony regarding potentially "confidential" meetings between church leaders and the now-convicted man.

The charges against Scott and Penkava are rooted in another man's sexual assault conviction. Accusations against that man, 43-year-old church member Arturo Hernandez-Pedraza, surfaced during a confessional or spiritual guidance setting, according to Prossnitz and attorney Terry Ekl, who represents Scott.

In 2019, a jury convicted Hernandez-Pedraza of all counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, predatory criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, sexual relations within families and domestic battery charges filed against him.

He is serving a 45-year prison sentence at Pontiac Correctional Center.

Penkava invoked his right as a religious leader to not testify at Hernandez-Pedraza's trial, but he still was required to answer questions about actions the congregation took after learning of the sexual abuse more than 10 years before it was reported.

Because the accusations surfaced during a confessional, Penkava and Scott's attorneys now argue the disclosure should be considered privileged communication between faith leaders and congregants.

Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Ashur Youash, however, said that privilege doesn't extend to situations involving abused or neglected children and isn't grounds for failure to report.


They are still hiding behind the clergy privilege thing, so no lessons have been learnt. The GB and others in control, and the Elders are still more interested in the 'face of the Org' and in saving money, than they are in the congregation. 

Does God and Jesus really approve of this ? No of course not.

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https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20210527/trial-scheduled-for-jehovahs-witnesses-elders-accused-of-failing-to-report-sexual-abuse Two Jehovah's Witnesses elders accused of failing to notify polic

I have somewhat been following this one. From what I recall, Penkava was a school teacher and wrote a column in his local news paper. Being a school teacher also put him a position of being a mandator

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On 5/31/2021 at 11:29 AM, Patiently waiting for Truth said:

Penkava invoked his right as a religious leader to not testify at Hernandez-Pedraza's trial ,

I have somewhat been following this one. From what I recall, Penkava was a school teacher and wrote a column in his local news paper. Being a school teacher also put him a position of being a mandatory reporter if he comes across any awareness of what may appear to be a form of child abuse. Once this suspicion or awareness is reported to those within the law enforcement, they have been trained handle it from there.

Penkava and Scott were made aware of what Arturo Hernandez-Pedreza, a JW member had done to his daughter. So if they did an in-house investigation by asking him if he did what the wife and child of this man claim that he had done. ( Which puts them both in great Danger! ) If the elders then receive an admission from him, then in that receiving of that one's admission, that is not considered, nor does it fall under the clergy tenant privilege confession. But the elders are not aware that this the case. But when the elders have received a confession when asked, the Org claims in the Court of law, that this is the setting with which the Org is able to claim "clergy tenant privilege." But its not. "Clergy tenant privilege" is when a person seeks out a spiritual leader (singular) to speak with them regarding a confession that that person, (who is considered the tenant) of a particular religious belief system, or not, would like "a one on one session" with a member of the clergy from their own particular belief system, or sometimes not, if the confessor is not all that particular. These are often deathbed confessions made by those whom are on their death beds.

When people are at the point of dying with in hospitals, they are often asked by their Dr.'s or the nursing staff if there is any form of clergy that they would like called upon for spiritual help and or support.

There are a list of numbers for different denominational clergy that have volunteered to be on call for the patients of hospitals so that they can meet the patients and their families clergy needs, including Jehovah's Witness clergy.

Believe it or not, the clergy that are full time on staff for hospitals here in the U.S. are often quite knowledgeable and equipped in several traditions and practices of several different belief systems. So they can not only be their for those patients within the hospitals who find great comfort in being able to experience the tradition and practices of their belief system, but they can also give the comfort one need from ( the Catholic inspired ) clergy pennant privilege deathbed confessions. 

I have come to hate the fact that the secular government has their hands tied because they're not supposed to enter into the government of religious organizations and change up the dangerous religious disciplinary practices when it comes to CSA. Something needs to shift soon. 

When It comes to the point where believers of several different religious hi control authoritative organizations have been led to believe that following the instructions of their spiritual leader's is on par with following god himself, I'm afraid we are just going to see more and more CSA case's where a mother and child who reported the crime that the male head of the household of their family has committed, will be encourage that forgiving him is the godly thing to do. Perpetrators will be continually be sent home to remain living with their victims at the spiritual directions of these elders, whom are the spiritual leader's of the congregation. They will yet again be wrongly informed by those elders who are taking the lead ( as they have unknowingly been directed with really dangerous guidance by the headquarters lawyers Department on so many occasions beforehand ) by the Lawyers at the headquarters of the Watchtower were Victims will continually be made silent with the accusations that they have infact brought these crimes upon themselves as they often find themselves being deemed by those taking the spiritual leed that what happened to them is viewed by these elders as these victims were not victims because the elders declared them as being willing participants to sinful acts in spit of the obvious pain that these victims are experiencing. Parents of these victims are threatened with disfellowshipping if they tell anyone as to what was said during these meetings. The perpetrators are given some spiritual guidance and a few suggestions that amount to, "don't do it again." Then when they are all sent back to the home. The perpetrator is still the head of the house and the mother and daughter still have to do as he instructs them to do. The way things are handled within this so-called Theocratic organization is a crying shame. There is nothing godly within the arrangement of how CSA is handled. Between "we don't take our Brother's to court," ·|· "this will drag Jehovah's name through the mud," ·|· "people can change," ·|· victim-blaming" along with a continual stall so that 95% of these CSA cases never ends up in court.

Something has to shift. I only hope that the shift of Justice will happen sooner than later. 

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    • An interesting concept, bible discipline. I am struck by the prevalence of ignorance about spiritual discipline on "Reddit." While physical and mental disciplines receive attention, the profound impact of spiritual discipline on a person's physical and mental well-being is often overlooked. Is it possible to argue against the words of the Apostle Paul? When he penned those words in Hebrews 12, he was recognizing that there are moments when an individual must be "rebuked" in order to be corrected. Even Jesus himself established a precedent when he rebuked Peter and referred to him as Satan for failing to comprehend what Jesus had already revealed to the apostles. Did that imply that Jesus had an evil heart? Not at all, it was quite the opposite; Jesus had a loving heart. His need to correct Peter actually showcased his genuine love for him. If he hadn't cared, he would have let Peter persist in his mistaken ways, leading to a fate similar to Judas'. There is a clear emphasis on avoiding the apostate translation and its meaning, yet many seem to overlook the biblical foundation for the reasons NOT to follow the path of the fallen brethren or those with an apostate mentality. Those individuals have embraced the path of darkness, where the illuminating power of light cannot penetrate, to avoid receiving the righteous discipline based on God's Bible teachings. They are undoubtedly aware that this undeniable truth of life must be disregarded in order to uphold their baseless justifications for the unjust act of shunning. Can anyone truly "force" someone or stop them from rejecting a friend or family member? Such a notion would be absurd, considering the fact that we all have the power of free will. If a Witness decides to distance themselves from a family member or friend simply because they have come out as gay, who is anyone within the organization to question or challenge that personal sentiment? It is unfortunate that there are individuals, both within and outside the organization, who not only lack a proper understanding of the Bible but also dare to suggest that God's discipline is barbaric. We must remember that personal choices should be respected, and it is not for others to judge or condemn someone based on their sexual orientation but should be avoided under biblical grounds. No one should have the power to compel an individual to change their sexual orientation, nor should anyone be forced to accept someone for who they are. When it comes to a family's desire to shield their children from external influences, who has the right to challenge the parents' decision? And if a family's rejection of others is based on cultural factors rather than religious beliefs, who can impose religious judgment on them? Who should true followers of Christ follow? The words of God or those who believe they can change God's laws to fit their lives? How can we apply the inspired words of Paul from God to embrace the reality of God's discipline? On the contrary, how can nonconformists expect to persuade those with a "worldview" that their religious beliefs are unacceptable by ostracizing individuals, when God condemns homosexuality? This is precisely why the arguments put forth by ex-witnesses are lacking in their pursuit of justice. When they employ misguided tactics, justice remains elusive as their arguments are either weak or inconsistent with biblical standards. Therefore, it is crucial to also comprehend Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 9:27. The use of the word "shun" is being exaggerated and excessively condemned by those who reject biblical shunning as a form of punishment. Eph 5:3-14 NIV 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.  8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible. The impact of the message becomes significantly stronger when we emphasize the importance of avoiding any association with unrighteousness and those who remain unrepentant. In fact, it becomes even more compelling when we witness how some individuals, who dismiss biblical shunning as a method of discipline, excessively criticize and condemn the use of the word "shun". Therefore, Jehovah's Witnesses do not shun people; instead, they choose to focus on the negative actions being committed, which is in accordance with biblical teachings. This should be construed as ex-Witness rhetoric. Now, let's consider why ex-Witnesses specifically target one particular religion. What justifications do they provide when other Christian denominations also adhere to the same principle grounded in the Bible? Chapter 1 - Preface Both must therefore test themselves: the one, if he is qualified to speak and leave behind him written records; the other, if he is in a right state to hear and read: as also some in the dispensation of the Eucharist, according to  custom enjoin that each one of the people individually should take his part. One's own conscience is best for choosing accurately or shunning. And its firm foundation is a right life, with suitable instruction. But the imitation of those who have already been proved, and who have led correct lives, is most excellent for the understanding and practice of the commandments. "So that whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup."  It therefore follows, that every one of those who undertake to promote the good of their neighbours, ought to consider whether he has betaken himself to teaching rashly and out of rivalry to any; if his communication of the word is out of vainglory; if the the only reward he reaps is the salvation of those who hear, and if he speaks not in order to win favour: if so, he who speaks by writings escapes the reproach of mercenary motives. "For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know," says the apostle, "nor a cloak of covetousness. God is witness. Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children."   (from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2) Divine promises 2. The manner of shunning, in the word escaping. There is a flying away required, and that quickly, as in the plague, or from a fire which hath almost burned us, or a flood that breaketh in upon us. We cannot soon enough escape from sin (Matt 3:7; Heb 6:18). No motion but flight becomes us in this case. Doctrine: That the great end and effect of the promises of the gospel is to make us partakers of the Divine nature. (from The Biblical Illustrator)  
    • Clearly, they are already demanding your exile. Yes! It's unfortunate that Pudgy spoiled a great discussion about science. I hope the discussion can continue without any more nonsensical interruptions. Just a suggestion since they are on your heels. Wow! You speak! It seems you have a lot to say! Now they are going to treat like, who do you think you are, mister big stuff! Are those aliens now going to imply that anyone who speaks out against the five or six key contributors to this site will be treated as though it is George just because those in opposition speak the language they hate to hear, the TRUTH? They are seeking individuals who will embrace their nonconformist values and appreciate what they can offer in shaping public opinion contrary to the established agenda of God and Christ. Their goal is to enhance their writing abilities and avoid squandering time on frivolous pursuits, mainly arguing about the truth they don't care for. They see it all as a mere game, even when leading people astray. They believe they have every right to and will face no biblical repercussions, or so they believe. They just want to have fun just like that Cyndi Lauper song. Be prepared to be belittled and ridiculed, all the while they claim to be angels. Haha! By the way, please refrain from using the same language as George. They appear to believe that when others use the same words, it means they are the same person, and they emphasize this as if no one else is allowed to use similar grammar. It seems they think only they have the right to use the same or similar writing styles. Quite amusing, isn't it? See, what I just placed in bold, now I'm George, lol! Now, let's leave this nice science thread for people that want to know more about science. I believe George left it at "Zero Distance."  
    • Nice little thread you’ve got going here, SciTech. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.
    • It's truly disheartening when someone who is supposed to be a friend of the exclusive group resorts to using profanity in their comments, just like other members claiming to be witnesses. It's quite a ludicrous situation for the public to witness.  Yet, the "defense" of such a person, continues. 
    • No. However, I would appreciate if you do not reveal to all and sundry the secret meeting place of the closed club. (I do feel someone bad stomping on Sci’s little thread. But I see that has already happened.)
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