Chrónica Vida – 13th January 2018
FaithLeaks: Sexual Abuses in Jehovah’s Witnesses See the Light
Letters and internal documents reveal some of the scandals hidden within the cult
Jehovah’s Witnesses is one of the religious cults that has been slowest to make self-criticism about the cases of sexual abuse that have taken place within the organization. Many of its ex-members even denounced the religious entity for having covered these scandals and other crimes after judging them internally.
The Truth and Transparency Foundation platform has initiated a new project, called FaithLeaks , to disseminate many of the confidential documents regarding the abuse of minors kept under lock and key by the Witnesses. These documents show how internal policies to deal with cases of abuse favored sexual predators at the expense of the victims.
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This Tuesday, FaithLeaks has published 33 letters and internal documents that expose a series of accusations of sexual abuse against members of the religious cult as well as the efforts made by these to cover up the crimes and keep it out of the “cut of the mundane law” .
Ryan Mcknight is together with Ethan Dodge the founder of FaithLeaks. McKnight has spent two weeks in Spain and explains to Crónica Global that “this week they have launched the first batch of documents”. He is prudent, but his “goal” is to achieve the same as MormonLeaks – also of his creation – to uncover the hundreds of cases that remain secret.
Documents from 1999 to 2012
The oldest documentation made public refers to 1999 and is related to communications between religious leaders of various congregations with WatchTower, the name by which the headquarters are known in New York and acts as a legal entity of religious worship, about a case in which a father abused his two underage daughters.
The elders of the congregation determined that the denunciations of both women were authentic. One of them claimed to have been tied to the bed by her father when she was five years old while he was examining her vagina to find signs of masturbation .
The other complainant, sister of the first, reported that her father had raped her repeatedly from eight to twelve years old. According to her testimony, the father cried and prayed next to her in bed after raping her.
Pressures not to denounce
The letter from the congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brimfield, Massachusetts, to WatchTower considers that the story of both girls “is rational,” and that everything indicates that it is “real episodes.”
Despite this, the leaders of the Witnesses decided not to take action against the father since one of the complainants did not want to appear before him during the domestic judicial process .
The documents also reveal that the religious leaders pressured one of the complainants and her husband not to bring the case before the conventional justice system.
“He threatened to bury me in pieces”
In another of the incomplete files, one of the victims recounts how her father “threatened to dismember her” and “kill her” together with “his mother and sister”. To emphasize his words he took her to the forest and “showed him where he would bury his pieces ” if he confessed the abuses. “When I was younger I showed it by cutting my arms and legs to my wrists.”
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The testimony is shocking and shows to what extent the aggressors also resorted to religion to scare their victims: “I read Judges 19 to justify it, claiming that I had the approval of Jehovah. This chapter of the New Living Translation, entitled In those days, Israel had no king, narrates how a man offers his daughter to a group of predators to be raped and then cuts her neck in twelve pieces.
The number of secret files that are still under the possession of Jehovah’s Witnesses is unknown . So far, cult leaders have not spoken about these recent leaks either.
The revelations are congruent with the way to approach the alleged cases of abuse from the religious entity. From the courts that require the victims to meet with their aggressor or the need for “two witnesses” to validate an accusation appear in the FaithLeaks documents. One of the files explains the impossibility of continuing the investigation because the accusers did not have two witnesses of the crimes against them.
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