Sexual Abuse Allegations Within Jehovah's Witness Denomination

WKRN News/September 5, 2002
By Wisdom Martin

There are new allegations that a religious denomination is turning a blind eye to sexual abuse. This time, it is the Jehovah's Witnesses who stand accused.

"For me, it took away any concept of trust in religious figures, authority figures, and parental figures."

The woman who spoke to News 2 does not wish to be identified. She is a former Jehovah's Witness who claims she was abused when she was just 8-years-old by a congregation member. But when she spoke out, she said nothing was done. The women said she was also abused by a member of her congregation.

"They act like they are the law, they can take care of it. Something like this, it's abuse, and they shouldn't be the ones taking care of it."

Now, women like Barbara Anderson are ready to fight for change in their religion, so they've formed a victim's rights group called Silent Lambs. They believe the Jehovah's Witness sexual abuse polices are inadequate and harm children.

"We believe they are responsible for policies that make it possible for perverted people to come into this organization to get at Jehovah's witness children," Barbara said.

"We should of all persons, being Christians going by the bible, we should do the right thing for these abuse victims," said Joe Anderson.

Joe Anderson was a Jehovah's Witness elder for over 50 years.

"In the organization, you have to have two witnesses, and of course it's almost impossible to have two witnesses to a child molestation. So if a parent comes with their daughter to the elder, they ask and he says, no, I didn't do it, then that's the end of the matter."

"I would like to see them recognize it, take it to the civil authorities and professionals that are capable and qualified to help the victims."

News 2 contacted the Jehovah's Witness national office in New York, but they did not return our calls. The Silent Lambs organization will hold a march to bring awareness to their cause September 27th in Brooklyn, New York.

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