Chrónica Vida – 11th March 2017
“I was expelled from the Jehovah’s Witnesses for reporting sex with children”
Riccardo Maggi urges a complaint to the Italian prosecutor after detecting alleged sexual abuse of minors
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“I was expelled from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Italy for reporting sex with children.” This is the lacerating summary that Riccardo Maggi (1983) makes of his experience in the millenarian cult. In conversation with Global Chronicle , Maggi stresses that he has reported cases of sexual abuse before the Italian Prosecutor’s Office, a process that has been admitted for processing.
The young man makes it clear that his connection with the denomination is not new. “I came by my mother, who was also a Witness, so they baptized me,” she explains.
A native of Bari, in southern Italy, the complainant underlines the tough internal tests. “It requires a lot of study, to know the scriptures a lot”.
However, the first big challenge came when Riccardo was offered a job in Bethel, the headquarters of the Witnesses in Rome. “I went there to do the waiter,” he recalls.
The experience was not pleasant. “I discovered things I did not even imagine: sex among peers in the congregation , sexual favors in exchange for perks, drugs and alcohol consumption,” he says.
According to his written testimony, which today is in the possession of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic after his complaint to the regional police station of Puglia , there he lost faith.
“I continued inside to become an old man – pastor – I wanted to know what else was happening, what more disappointments awaited me in that lost paradise,” he says.
After passing through the Bethel, he studied to exercise the priesthood in the Witnesses. This required years of study. He got it in 2014.
“It was very hard, but it was worth it, I got access to the computer program of the order and to documents of sexual abuse, I got access to the archive in Rome,” he warns.
All this has been added to his formal complaint before the transalpine public ministry.
His double life , as defined in conversation with this medium, ended in 2013.
That year he witnessed an alleged attempted fellatio of an adult to a minor at a party in a luxurious house on the outskirts of Bari, the congregation to which he belonged.
“I denounced him internally, they sent a representative from Rome to cover the scandal, and a year later they expelled me,” he says.
According to his version, it was not the first case . He has denounced another that happened in the past, and that an old man confessed to him in 2014. “The prosecutor will focus on the first one, because he says that the second one could have prescribed.”
While waiting for the proceedings to progress, Maggi warns of the high price that has had to pay. “They tried to silence me, and the Dome of the Witnesses in Rome said I was crazy, and they urged the congregation to cut ties with me,” he stresses.
There is more. “My family does not speak to me, my mother, who is a Witness, is like I do not have a child,” she laments.
The repentant , however, will go on. In 2016, it provided more evidence to the Office of the Prosecutor. “There are photos and videos,” he concludes by way of notice to the worship office.
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