WatchtowerThe Jehovah’s Witnesses are something of an apocalyptic religion, whose members eagerly look forward to Jesus’ return. That their past predictions of this event never came true as they promised, doesn’t seem to matter much to them; they still look forward to “Judgement Day.”

Well, at long last, a judgement day of sorts for this religion has arrived — but it’s far from what they wanted. The AP reports via the New York Times on a court judgement that came down recently against them (WebCite cached article):

A Northern California jury has awarded $28 million in damages to a woman who said the Jehovah’s Witnesses allowed an adult member of a Fremont, Calif., church to molest her when she was a child.

Alameda County jurors awarded $7 million in compensatory damages on Wednesday and an additional $21 million in punitive damages on Thursday to the plaintiff, Candace Conti, said Rick Simons, her lawyer. …

Ms. Conti also said in her lawsuit that the Christian denomination’s national leaders formed a policy in 1989 that instructed the church’s elders to keep child sex abuse accusations secret. Congregation elders followed that policy when Mr. Kendrick [her abuser] was convicted in 1994 of misdemeanor child molestation in Alameda County, according to Mr. Simons.

The cloak of secrecy behind which the JW’s operated is reminiscent of how the Roman Catholic Church handled similar allegations.

And that leads me — once again — to restate the obvious: Child abuse within a religion does not only happen in the Catholic Church. It happens in all religions. I’ve blogged on that many, many times. So you Catholics out there who whine and bellyache that I only mention child abuse when it’s reported within Catholicism, are lying. Just stop already with the martyr complex, grow up, and deal with it.

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  • Danny Haszard

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses have a policy within their religion that protects pedophiles.

    The official policy is that the elders of the “Church” are supposed to handle the matter internally, without contacting the police. They do this so that shame will not be brought on the religion.

    It’s important that they keep a squeaky clean image to the public. Remember they believe they are the only “True” religion and all other Christian Churches are under the control of Satan. JW’s are not supposed to sue other JW’s or involve the police or courts.

    They believe these are Satan’s organizations and any crime by a JW should be dealt with internally.The elders will contact the police ONLY if they’re forced to by state law. —
    Danny Haszard *tell the truth don't be afraid*

    • Danny,

      Thanks for your comment and information. A lot of states have mandatory-reporting requirements, based on a person's profession. And clergy are frequently one of those professions (as in my own state of CT). I wonder if the JW's as an organization, or some of its personnel, fall under those requirements? If they do, I have to wonder how willing they are to breach that mandate, and how often they might have done so in the past.

      This is, of course, just speculation.