Jehovah's Witnesses answer
to accusations in the program 'Mission-Investigate'__
In a segment of the television program "Mission-Investigate" of the April 8, 2003 , Jehovah's Witnesses were accused of "protecting pedophiles".
The program described among others a specific case where an individual, a 26 year old man, unfortunately was sexually abused in his childhood. It was introduced as a case of pedophilia, which is defined as an adult person involved with molestation of a child. This story was, like other statements in the program, both misleading and deceptive for the following reasons:
* FACT Both persons involved were children (approximately 8 and 4 years of age) when the sexual acts between them started, around 1980, they where both still underage (approximately 14 and 10 years of age) when the sexual acts stopped in 1987.
* FACT The sexual acts between the boys started five years before any of their parents became Jehovah's Witnesses. The sexual acts stopped before any of the boys became members of the congregation in the autumn of 1988 and spring of 1991.
* FACT In 1996, after the boys and their parents had been Jehovah's Witnesses for some years, the elders in the congregation were info rmed about the sexual acts that had been committed in the past. The families decided not to report the case to the social or legal authorities. The elders respected the wishes of the involved families.
* FACT The older boy has never served as an elder or traveling overseer in any of the congregations of the religious community of Jehovah's Witnesses.
Television viewers that value justice and fairness have appreciated being provided this important information. We are dismayed that those who produce "Mission-Investigate" omit these and other pertinent facts. Our members and sympathizers are deeply insulted, over the fact that misinformation is being used to try and associate Jehovah's Witnesses with sexual molestation of children. We will therefore take whatever legal actions necessary to stop these false allegations.
Our guidelines concerning sexual abuse against children are well-founded and have support in the Bible. A person in a position of responsibility in the congregation that is found guilty of sexual abuse against children will be removed from his position.
(1 Tim 3:1, 2) All Jehovah's Witnesses are expected to live according to the high standards found in the Bible, which means to be clean in a physical, mental, moral and spiritual respect. (2 Cor. 7:1; Eph 4:17-19; 1 Thess 2:4)
Swedish law does not demand priest or ministers in a religious community to report sexual molestation of a child. Our organization however has always accepted that the victim, the victim's family or close adult relatives or whoever who knows a case of child abuse have the absolute right to report it.
Jehovah's Witnesses April 30, 2003
Chairman Branch Committee Bengt Hanson
Box 5 732 21 Arboga
Jehovahï¿½s Witnesses abhor sexual abuse of children. We love our children. It is of great importance for us that the children are safe and protected. We handle this with the greatest seriousness.