Rapist evaded justice for years

Northampton Chronicle, UK/December 8, 2010

A raptist evaded justice for 25 years because Jehovah's Witnesses did nothing when told about his child sex abuse, a court heard.

Anthony Burns, aged 54, was confronted with his crimes against a young child in the 1980s but no action was taken by the religious organisation.

Burns repeatedly abused a girl as young as nine years old, from 1977 until 1984 when she revealed what had been happening.

Burns, of Back Road, Wisbech, in Cambridgeshire, denied four charges of indecent assault, attempted rape and rape but was convicted after a trial. The abuse took place in the 1970s and early 1980s in Eastbourne and Northamptonshire. He was jailed for 11 years and placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for life.

Judge Charles Wide QC said: "It is very unfortunate the Jehovah's Witnesses community dealt with a complaint in 1984 in a wholly inappropriate way, seemingly more concerned with their own reputation than doing justice, but I acknowledge they were very different times.

"I sincerely hope their processes have been changed radically since then. It is because of their involvement that these matters were not reported. You were challenged at the time by two witnesses and could have made a clean breast of it but you did not and during the trial, you had the gall to accuse them of lying about it."

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