Friday, May 11, 2007

A brand new start

On May 8, 2007 I formally disassociated myself from the religion known as Jehovah's Witnesses. What a sense of freedom that has produced in me. I have further decided that this religion will be in my past. I do not intend to let it define me. That does not mean that I will not keep some contact with it, it is my roots after all and the religion of my immediate family. But I am starting fresh.

There was other big news this week. Watchtower Society settled out of court on sixteen child abuse lawsuits and placed gag orders on the plaintiffs. (Parts of the statement below is copied from another source.) It is referring to lawsuits brought against the Watchtower society for mishandling molestations within the organization. These cases were profiled on Dateline a few years ago. Many children were hurt. These 7 cases were settled out of court for undisclosed amounts. It proves the watchtower holds some guilt for covering up molestations and not reporting them to authorities. They are doing what the Catholic church did, pay off the victims with gag orders and keep it all hushed up as much as possible. What is sad is, most Jehovahs Witnesses will not know about these settlements. When I wrote about this to my former congregation this week, I received one response back. The writer, a friend no less, simply said that these are bad thoughts, and that I should never contact him again!

The average JW does not realize the dangers their children face because no one usually knows who might be a pedophile within the congregation. And of course the public doesn't know when a pedophile might be knocking on their door and if the parents aren't home, the child may innocently open the door to danger. No more danger than any other religion I suppose, except that other religions don't come knocking at your door as much.

The main problem is with Watchtower policy in insisting on two witnesses to any wrongdoing before even considering any action and also in not reporting known abuse to authorities in the past. They have changed to where they will report abuse in states where it's required by law, but only AFTER calling headquarters and speaking to a Watchtower attorney.

All of the Napa, California cases were settled. The document said there were seven cases all coordinated under one lead case. Included in the settled cases was a San Diego lawsuit. That's the one where Rick McLean, the molester, who is on the FBI's most wanted list, molested many JW kids over a twenty year period. Some of the victims sued the Watchtower Society as well as a number of congregations. America's Most Wanted website said that over the years many JW victims came forward to the elders in congregations where McLean moved to and accused McLean, but since there weren't two witnesses to the molestations, the victims were not believed. Of course, nobody went to the authorities. For more information see:


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