I have watched many responses from those within the organization that endeavor to defend the current watchtower policy toward pedophiles. The most common response seems to be that any accused child molester is reported to the watchtower legal department and then reported to local authorities with cooperation from the local elders.
Sad to say this is total misinformation from persons who are either ill informed, misguided or outright lying.
The BOE letters of 7-20-98, 3-14-97, 8-1-95, 2-3-93, 3-23-92, all state that when the accusation of child abuse is made, the legal department of the watchtower should be contacted for direction as to what to do. Since 1992 that has been the requirement, so there has been no current change when it comes to child molesters, that is old news. What is the purpose in contacting the legal dept? Is it to find a way to help the victim? Sadly, the answer is to find what the law requires only and nothing more. The wt will comply with local laws to a point that keeps them from being prosecuted for the criminal act of not reporting child molestation. You may think this is well and good, but allow me to offer a few variables.
The wt legal dept is just that, a group of lawyers who protect the watchtower and legally have little interest in the victims. If you were to review the BOE letters from 92-98, in not one place does it state that elders should encourage victims or parents of victims to go to local police. Instead they are cautioned about discussing the matter with anyone. Elders will invariably discuss the bringing of reproach on the congregation or Jehovah, thus discouraging any report being made to authorities. In the event a report is made the wt legal will advise zero cooperation from church officials using “ecclesiastical privilege” as a basis to offer nothing in the way of support. If any in the congregation are approached they will be advised from the reproach angle and will often back away from any help. Hence the victim is victimized again and left on there on with little support or help from the congregation.
Once again it does no end there. The 7-1-89 BOE letter advises confidentiality at all costs. Again this is a legal maneuver to protect the wt. No one is to be informed of the pedophile whether confessed or not. If the man has remarried, his new wife is not to be informed much less anyone else in the congregation who may have children. Confidentiality is clearly stated and there are no accommodations made to warn those who could be in danger. Nothing, nothing, nothing, in the way of communication for potential victims is stated in any BOE letter for protection, only the confessed pedophile is spoken to and cautioned as to his conduct around children with elders keeping an eye on him. How good an “eye” will elders be able to keep when the only times they see the pedophile is at the meetings? Few elders know what is going on in the congregation much less what a pedophile is doing on his on time.
The only “change” to truly address the issue of pedophiles within the congregation came about in 1997, this was stated to the public in watchtower articles and was addressed in the 3-14-97 BOE letter which asked for a report to be given on any “known” pedophile. Again the question that begs to be answered is: What is a “known” pedophile? You might apply the simple logic, what is a known rapist, murder, or thief? Generally speaking it is a person who has been convicted of a crime or has confessed to doing so. 99% of child molesters never confess. If you review my letter you will find the 11-1-95 wt plainly states the basis for establishing charges against a pedophile is to have two witnesses, otherwise he/she is viewed as an “innocent man”. So just think about it, while the 1997 policy states a “known” child molester will never have any position within the wt organization, this is well and good, but sadly, once again, does little to address the 99% who do not confess and are given BOE protection as an “innocent man”. An “innocent man” can be a pioneer, ministerial servant, elder, co, do, bethel member, missionary, or member of the governing body. You probably have an “innocent man” in your congregation and you will never know it, even if you are an elder. If you did not serve on the investigation or committee you are not entitled to confidential information if wt protocol is followed.
A second problem relates again to the issue of a “known” child molester. The letter of 7-1-89 states direction that concerns the confidential files that each congregation has, this keeps a record of all wrongdoing committed by members on permanent file. According to the 7-1-89 letter these files are to be permanently sealed and cannot be touched by anyone on the elder body unless a person who has a record on file that commits a new act of wrongdoing. At that time the old file would be given to the newly appointed judicial committee to review before meeting with the wrongdoer. Elders as a general rule have short memories and any information on pedophiles that may have happened years ago is contained within the permanent file of the congregation. These records are sealed and thus prevented from being reviewed and reported to the Watchtower. So as a result a pedophile can remain “unknown” even if there is a record within the congregation file concerning him/her. Watchtower policy should be revised to open all congregation files for review and report any information on record concerning those who have molested children. This has not happened as of yet.
Knowledge is power, now that you know what are you going to do about it?
I gave up everything I worked for in the wt organization to come out publicly on this issue. Use this knowledge to let others know, let the Watchtower know and force the Watchtower to change this misguided unethical danger that is being perpetrated on innocent children. Not one more child should be molested if something can be done to stop it. I am so sorry for those of you who choose to not believe this and pray that your children are never molested and have to experience what real watchtower policy is.