Jehovah's Witness Pedophilia Coverup


Via ProgressiveU and Watchtower Documents (linked by Cult News Network):

A new compact disc containing over 5,000 pages of damning court documents about suppression of accusations child abuse within the Watchtower Society has been made available for sale by researcher Barbara Anderson:

Primarily of interest at this point are the nine lawsuits settled in early 2007 between Jehovah’s Witness victims of molestation and Defendants’ Jehovah’s Witnesses, et al. However, also included are the court records from two other lawsuits that were settled by Watchtower, one in 2000 and the other in 2006. Court records from a third lawsuit, filed in 2004 by a victim of molestation, were included only because the information contained in the records are another example of the pervasive cover-up of molestation in the Watchtower organization when the predator holds a supervisory position within the group. (In this particular case, the molester was given a life sentence in prison.) The lawsuit was dismissed in 2004 without prejudice, meaning the plaintiff can file the matter again.

Over all, the facts are common to all of the nine lawsuits involving sixteen victims which were settled in 2007. These cases were filed from 2003 through 2006 by the law firm, Love & Norris, located in Fort Worth, Texas. The primary defendants were the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.; one Oregon congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses; one Texas congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses; six Northern California congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and one Southern California congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. There were eight abusers, all Jehovah’s Witnesses, who were co-defendants. The Jehovah’s Witness Defendants, unlike the Catholic Church, secretly settled these nine lawsuits. The majority of the nine were settled at the end of January and then dismissed in mid-February and a few in early March, 2007.

In October 2006, I was given the impression that cases involving sixteen victims would soon be settled. In early February, I, as well as Bill Bowen (, learned that these cases had been settled. We were provided with no additional information other than learning that Plaintiffs and Defendants were not in favor of any publicity. Bill and I had a verbal agreement not to go public with the information at that time because I wanted time to peruse court records for more information to offer the public about the lawsuits. Inasmuch as Bill did not want to wait any longer to announce the settlement, he held a press conference on May 10, 2007 and the Associated Press carried the story on May 11, 2007. Jehovah’s Witnesses confirmed the settlement. However, Bowen had few facts to report, although, he did provide proof each case was settled by posting on his website,, a copy of a dismissal notice for each of the nine cases. These documents proved all cases were dismissed with prejudice, which means that both sides agreed that no more legal action could be taken. Such an agreement usually indicates a financial settlement paid by Defendants, in this case, Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Like the Catholic Church, the Watchtower Society willfully and knowingly protected child molesters (child abuse was not reported to police), gave them continued access to children, transferred rather than prosecuted them, and insisted on a “two-witnesses” rule before reporting or pursuing cases of molestation (from promo copy for the court transcript disc):

It is the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses who establish the policies and who dictate practices for Jehovah’s Witnesses. That Body operates through various corporate entities, primarily Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., and Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc. The Plaintiffs charged in their lawsuits that the Jehovah’s Witnesses assumed a duty to protect children in their organization but they failed to exercise reasonable care and common sense policies in fulfilling that duty. For example, they failed to enact a policy forbidding unsupervised one-on-one contact between elders or ministerial servants and children. They permitted children to go out in door-to-door ministry alone with male members and encouraged parents in the congregations to allow their children attend un-chaperoned Bible study with adult males (elders/ms) and allowed these men to “counsel” children without any supervision. See how Plaintiffs’ attorneys presented these assertions in a factual way.

The Watchtower undertook the responsibility to instruct Jehovah’s Witness elders as to what to do when they received allegations of child sexual abuse. They promulgated policies directing elders to call Watchtower’s “Legal Department” for direction about whether to report allegations of sexual abuse to law enforcement. However, these policies were designed to avert cooperation with secular investigators. For example, elders were sometimes instructed to make anonymous calls from telephone booths so that law enforcement authorities would be unable to contact them for more information. Never before have we actually seen this discussed in a document before, but you can see the documents for yourself.

The Defendant Watchtower required Jehovah’s Witness elders to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse. Elders were required to apply the “two witness rule” which under Jehovah’s Witnesses’ internal policy and doctrine, relegates allegations of child molestation to a notation written in a confidential file, if the perpetrator does not confess the crime, but pleads innocence. See a secret Watchtower form that is filled in with the name of the molester who, the document said, was disfellowshipped, not because he confessed, but because there were two witnesses proving the factualness of this rule, yet there is no record of the sexual abuse being reported to the authorities.

Elders were required to gather evidence, question witnesses and render judgments about what internal punishment, if any, would be imposed on a child abuser. They were forbidden from revealing the results of their investigations to law enforcement authorities. Read from the deposition of one highly placed Watchtower official admitting there was no policy in place to report child abuse.

See secret forms which contained questions elders were to be asked by staff in the Watchtower’s Legal Department. The questions on this form are indicative of the investigative nature of the process elders were to go through when there was an accusation of child molestation. Shockingly, one inappropriate question asked was if any of the elders believed the child victim of molestation was “somewhat at fault” for their own sexual victimization.

Religious authorities should not be allowed to operate outside the law. Punishment should be swift and severe. When they demonstrate such blatant and brazen disregard for the law, I think it would be appropriate for the government to use RICO to shut them down, and possibly seize their assets. Knowingly harboring child molesters isn’t on the list of RICO offenses. But when it involves a willful and well-documented conspiracy, it should be.

This victimization of children is shocking but not surprising. Though the WTS is much smaller, its conduct possibly exceeds the outrageous behavior of the Catholic Church during their pedophile scandal, based on the sheer hubris and flagrance of the violations, and WTS’ shameless attempts to cover them up with secret out-of-court-settlements.

Earlier this year, I posted another example of JW’s reckless disregard of the welfare of children, in this case church member Eunice Spry, who was able to systematically torture three foster children in her care for nearly 20 years, without anyone in her church congregation taking the slightest notice (previous post).

Comments (25 comments)

John McKiggan / August 15th, 2007, 9:53 am / #1

Interesting article. Thanks.

The former Dean of Dalhousie Law School Dawn Russell published an article arguing that Churches (as an institution) can (and should) be held criminally responsible for covering up criminal acts by their priests.

I posted about it here:

Jehovah’s Witness Pedophilia Coverup? « John McKiggan’s Abuse Claims Blog / August 15th, 2007, 5:57 pm / #2

[…] Jehovah’s Witness Pedophilia Coverup? Published August 16th, 2007 Uncategorized Black Sun Journal has posted a fascinating article about allegations of cover up of sexual abuse with the Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower Society. […]

Martha Owens / August 16th, 2007, 9:12 am / #3

I knew it! I knew they weren’t all they were claiming to be. I was once in conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness who tried to tell me that God was going to come against all of the churches because of the illegal and harmful activity that goes on in them. “You never hear any of that happening with Jehovah’s Witnesses. None of that stuff happens in our congregations. We are not corrupt like churches are. That’s why Jehovah God is with us and will turn on and destroy all churches.” This person told me so much to make me feel like a sinner for belonging to a church. Now I know the truth. The only reason we don’t hear of these things happening amongst Jehovah’s Witnesses is becoming they are very good at covering up their sins. Or at least they were. I’m glad they are being exposed. So many people are being led in the wrong direction following them. I hope they all read and believe the truth so they can get away from there before something bad happens to them too!

e h / August 18th, 2007, 7:32 pm / #4

great article–we are so glad that it is being exposed. amazing that the 16 victims came forward and filed claims. bravo for them – they deserve cheers for pressing forward to file with the courts. most of us that were hurt within the confines of the WTS never had the courage/strength to stand up to them, we have suffered in silence. thanks for posting article and helping to show what the kids of the society have gone through.

‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ - An Orwellian Nightmare « evanescent / September 27th, 2007, 1:56 pm / #5

[…] However, a world of JWs if their beliefs were true would be even worse!  You would live in the worst possible land of totalitarian rule.  Thoughtcrime would be a reality!  Your entire existence would be based around worshipping another being every single day for eternity.  Of course, no real progress in society, technology, or science would ever be made, because sooner or later some unfortunate fact about the real world would rear its head and have to be rejected by the Society, or incorporated into Newspeak and history would be retrospectively altered as though it was there all along.  Paedophiles and more paedophiles would be protected by the Organisation.  Evil sadists would go uncovered for years because of their long standing in the congregation.  […]

Shane Draney / May 26th, 2009, 7:13 am / #6

Theologically, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a family hurtful cult of Christianity. The oppressive organization does not represent logical historical facts, sociologically; it is a destructive cult whose false teachings frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths.
I understand the dictionary definition of an "apostate" and I suppose that definition fits me. However, I have my own definition, which makes me more comfortable as it does not fit me. I (and it is my opinion that is important to me) apply the term apostate to those that have knowingly bent and twisted the word of the God in the Bible to their own advantage. Using my definition makes the WTS an apostate organization (one of many). I don't like apostates and this means that I don't like the WTS.

Shane Draney / July 9th, 2009, 6:54 am / #7

There is a high minded atmosphere mind set, with the congregation leaders by and large; they have been so finely programmed from the “Society (governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses) it is as though they are afraid to think on their own even when doing so would naturally seem logical in certain circumstances. The rank and file, is simply put terrified of being viewed as apostate in some way, by thinking on their own, even if it means the welfare of their own children over the reputation of the Jehovah’s Witness organization. It is my view that most could benefit from seeking psychological counseling.
"I think a full, free talk is frequently of great use; we want nothing secret nor
under handed, and I for one want no association with things that cannot
be talked about and will not bear investigation."
Mormon President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, vol. 20, p. 264.”

Shane Draney / July 9th, 2009, 6:54 am / #8

{Ask yourself, does the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses desire their members to – think apart from what they want them to think, – they call it “running ahead” and independent thinking” again they attempt to brand you with labels to make you feel unworthy then they can control you, {this is starting to taste a little like Cool Aid to me and I see Lemmings running over the cliff.} I am an American, and in America we still have free thought and speech, I am not a number I am a free man.

Phobe / July 16th, 2009, 6:48 pm / #9

Jehovah's Witnesses are considered a dangerous cult in many European countries and definitely under investigation because governments are concerned by the mind manipulation, child molestation cover-ups, breaking up of families due to shunning, as well as other atrocities taking place within the religion.

Victims of WT's hard-line organizational policies are speaking up to government officials about their experiences and they are responding with assistance.

Shane / July 18th, 2009, 12:12 am / #10

Phobe, that is good to hear. They should call them selfs Zombies International.

Mark Davis / September 25th, 2009, 4:48 pm / #11

As with all authoritarian sects that are based on the teachings of some charismatic man (Russell, Rutherford, et al) they eventually turn sour and start to persecute the persecuted. They turn self-righteous and attack others for their supposed moral improprieties. So goes the Watchtower.

Shane Draney / September 26th, 2010, 8:35 pm / #12

SLE Apparently you are still being influenced by the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I wonder if they have paid a think tank of psychologist great deals of money, to come up with some elaborate diabolical scheme in order to have convinced so many people, against their own good common sense; or is it just the out cunning designs of a "Real Devil." I think it is both, working hand in hand! Shane Draney

Shane Draney / September 26th, 2010, 8:44 pm / #13

Oh for the many Jehovah's Witnesses who still may have some comman sense left, please check out this Web site, it may help you wake up, I know its hard after having someone or something, do all your thinking for you. Shane Draney

Shane Draney / December 1st, 2010, 11:14 am / #14

What does it say about an organization that claims to be God's organization when: (1), Jehovah's Witnesses / Friends – Jehovah's Witness Discussion Forum

You are told that what sets your organization apart from all other religions is that there is no human leader, just Jesus, but if you want to follow Jesus and receive salvation you must obey and follow the leadership and direction of 8 self appointed human leaders.

Its Elders or Servants cannot resign a position of responsibility for personal reasons, or without an interrogation by other elders and then permission by headquarters.

Despite the bible saying at 1 Tim. 2:5,6 that Jesus is mediator for all men… It doesn't apply to you.

If you are an elder you can get a blank check to commit serious wrongdoing …if you hide it for 4 or more years. Others who are not elders do not receive this courtesy. If you are not an elder you may be disfellowshipped and lose your family and friends.

Shane Draney

Shane Draney / December 1st, 2010, 11:18 am / #15

“Addition to the above”
Questions to the Governing body/ channel of God are not permitted. If questioned the questioner will be marked or punished by disfellowshipping.

Teachings claimed to be inspired by God change regularly. Each time it changes, Holy Spirit is credited. If you continue to believe something other than what is the new "understanding” you can be disfellowshipped.

There is a secret manual that gives the Elders instructions and policies that the publishers aren't permitted to know about.

Headquarters is aware of accused/convicted child molesters, but refuses to inform the congregations that the accused/convicted are in.


Shane Draney / December 1st, 2010, 11:19 am / #16

"Addition to above"
Child molesters are required to go door to door in their neighborhoods.

Direction claimed received from God, each time without a doubt that the end of all things is going to come in 1914, 1925, 1975, “Before the end of the 20th century.”……..and it not once happens.

If your child goes to college or a trade school, you cannot continue to serve as a ministerial servant or elder.

These are just a few thought provoking questions a reasonable person who is either in or out of this organization should ask them self’s. Someone in it could add many other questions if they could simply get some back bone.

Shane Draney

Shane Draney / February 3rd, 2011, 1:07 pm / #17

Look, Pastor Russell, was not” a Jehovah's Witness, as the Witnesses demand and say in their books. He died in the year 1916; so, go figure. It was in 1933; that the Witnesses took on their present name and changed most of their beliefs common to the then and now Bible Students, to the ones so unique to Witnesses today.
Shane Draney

Shane Draney / February 3rd, 2011, 1:07 pm / #18

They are a cult; even if they really believe that they are not. Their, draconian, and repressive rules fit all, modern definitions of a cult; unless that is, you are only using, the Witness definition of a cult from their publications. The rank and file members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses all know this to be true, if they are honest with them self’s; but, as always just like in all cults; the powers that be or in this case the governing body, their influence over their members rational thinking; is very affective, they have skillfully convinced them to accept that is from god himself causing them for all intents and purposes’ insane along with needless cruel fear, of being snubbed, by their family and friends that who most of the time the Witnesses have gave all friends and acquaintances in order to become a Jehovah's Witness all within this so called, loving brotherhood.
Shane Draney

Shane Draney / February 3rd, 2011, 1:13 pm / #19

They are a cult; even if they really believe that they are not. Their, draconian, and repressive rules fit all, modern definitions of a cult; unless that is, you are only using, the Witness definition of a cult from their publications. The rank and file members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses all know this to be true, if they are honest with them self’s; but as always just like in all cults the powers that be, or in this case the governing body their influence over their members rational thinking; is very affective. They have skillfully convinced them to accept that what they say or print is from god himself and because of this it causes them for all intents and purposes’ insane along with needless cruel fear, of being snubbed, by their family and friends, that who most of the time the Witnesses have pushed away all friends and acquaintances in order to become a Jehovah's Witness, all this within this a called, loving brotherhood.
Shane Draney

Jim / August 28th, 2011, 4:36 am / #20

These are some really dangerous people they destroy families for their own benefit .I feel sorry for any person so weak minded to actually follow this cult

Shane Draney / December 28th, 2011, 10:28 pm / #21

I ran accross this information on their new artical that they use in their main study in their Kingdom Halls:
Jehovah's Witnesses Call Quitters 'Mentally Diseased' – Official magazine's statement prompts police inquiry

Rhonda / April 10th, 2013, 7:41 pm / #22

As a recovering JW I have battled with mental illness and the knowledge that the witnesses have a very simplistic view of mental illness "it is believed to be a result of being out of favour with Jehovah" This belief has damanged my life,,, the lives of most of my family and has resulted in the onset of serious mental illness and family shame etc. This is so sad to think that a bit of love, understanding, commpassion and aknowlegement of the true causes of mental illness would have made life better for me and many others. I curse the day they came to my grandfather's door. I have missed out on so many of lifes pleasures because of the guilt by association doctrine and the constant fear of armagedon that no matter what I do I feel the judgement of the elders etc as if I was being spied on !! Now thats paranoia !! I will not be wasting anymore of my precious life worrying about the JW and gladly disassociate MYSELF from THEM be nice to each other , put yourself in others shoes etc that IT love is all you need , PEACE bro

Shane Draney / January 10th, 2012, 1:04 pm / #23

This is the wonderful love that you find if you have been a Jehovahs Witness, so if you being studies with by them please stop and consider what has happend to a great many of us:
My sister says I can no longer see my mother in her home where she is Residing, my sister says she has not been Applying Her Religious Views of the Bible in connection with me. My Mother is very kind, she is ninety One years old; she has Never at NO time shunned any of her eight children, but apparently now while in my sister’s home she must now shun her family (sons) that no longer see eye to eye with my sisters teachings. Well” my Jesus is better than my sisters Jesus!
Shane Draney

adonis / July 18th, 2013, 2:13 am / #24

I'm not a jehovah's witnesses, but here's two cents: Barbara Anderson just want to sell her nonsense book to the public. why sell information like this. think about it. think about her motive.. that shit want to earn money… bullshit book..

Shane Draney / December 15th, 2013, 5:39 pm / #25

Bullshit generally denotes a falsehood or outright lie of some nature, in the case of Barbra Anderson’s book if she is requesting a price for it so what, if the book is factual and it is a subject that is desired by a segment of the public than that is her right to ask a price for it. ~ Shane

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