A recent report revealed that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the parent corporation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses compiled and maintained a database of up to tens of thousands of accused pedophiles within Jehovah’s Witnesses. The database, which contains detailed reports of allegations of sexual abuse, has been kept secret for decades
In 1997, a letter was sent by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society which instructed all congregation leaders to report all known sexual perpetrators to headquarters without telling anyone. The reports were reportedly compiled to create a database comprising hundreds of alleged sexual abusers. However, this information was never shared with the authorities.
While the allegations were reported to the leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, nothing happened to the perpetrators who remained in the congregation.
In addition to not reporting pedophiles to the police, victims were also kept silent by the Jehovah’s Witnesses with harsh policies for those that make sexual assault accusations. Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain a two-witness rule, which requires an accuser to have two eyewitnesses before the church would begin an investigation. If another witness could not be produced, they were sometimes accused of providing a false accusation. In some cases, this could lead to the member being excommunicated from the church.
This is not the first time Jehovah’s Witnesses have hidden allegations of sexual abuse. In 2016, a royal commission was established in Australia investigating the church’s mishandling of sexual abuse. It was discovered that the Church failed to report over 1,000 accused sexual abusers over the course of almost 60 years.
Lawsuits brought on behalf of Jehovah’s Witness sexual abuse victims seek to expose this decades-long cover-up of childhood sexual abuse. Victims are seeking justice against the church for failing to protect children from known child sex offenders within the congregation.
Wagner Reese has been advocating for the rights of sexual assault victims in Indiana for over 20 years. We understand the sensitivity and urgency of these cases and work diligently to meet your needs during this difficult time. Our experienced attorneys have brought justice to victims of abuse by clergy members, teachers, sport coaches, nursing staff, government officers, and more. Call us now at (888) 204-8440 to speak with a caring member of our staff during a confidential consultation.