How Jehovah Witnesses Cover-Up Child Abuse


Headquarters, New York

The Jehovah’s Witness organisation keeps a sex offenders register that nobody outside the church is allowed to see, a former “elder” tells Panorama.

Bill Bowen, who has spent his lifetime as a Jehovah’s Witness and nearly twenty years as an elder, says the organisation covers up abuse by keeping this database secret.

His sources indicate there are 23,720 abusers on the list [from USA, Canada, and Europe] – who are protected by the system.

“They [the Jehovah’s Witnesses] do not want people to know that they have this problem”, he tells Panorama.

“And by covering it up they just hurt one person. By letting it out, then they hurt the image of the church.”

The Needle


Paul Atkin

A Jehovah’s witness has been jailed for a sex attack on a 15-year-old, despite church leaders’ refusal to cooperate with a police investigation.

Paul Atkin has been sent to prison for five years after admitting sexual activity with the underage girl.

A court heard the South Shields branch of the church carried out its own investigation after the allegation came to light and Atkin was booted out.

But when police came knocking, church officials refused to help what was then a rape allegation, on the grounds of confidentiality.

Prosecutor Deborah Smith told Newcastle Crown Court: “It would appear there was some form of investigation by the church.

“We know the defendant was disfellowshipped as a consequence of that investigation but there has been no disclosure of any minutes of meetings with the defendant and the elders have refused to provide statements to the police, despite the fact the defendant is no longer a member of their congregation, on the grounds of confidentiality.”

The Mirror


It is really hard for kids to speak up when they’re abused. But the Jehovah’s Witnesses make it a lot harder.

They have a “2 Witness” rule, which says that anyone who accuses an adult of abuse must have a second witness. If there is no second witness, the accuser is punished for a false accusation – usually by ordering that no Witness may talk with or associate with the “false” accuser. This is called dis-fellowshipping. For a kid raised only with other Witnesses, it was horrifying. Even your parents would have to ignore you. It was more terrifying than Jonathan.

It was the elders of my congregation who had assigned Jonathan to team up with me. When we separated from the others, he forced me into his pick-up truck and drove us to his house. Then he would say “Let’s play”. It happened too many times. Like everyone else in the congregation, my parents liked “Brother” Jonathan and trusted him in our family.

The Guardian



Filed under Abuse, News

6 responses to “How Jehovah Witnesses Cover-Up Child Abuse

  1. Pingback: How Jehovah Witnesses Cover-Up Child Abuse | Alternative News Network

  2. IWTT

    Very timely to mention the cover-up (via ‘rules) that JW’s perpetuate in view of today’s news:

    Jehovah’s Witnesses silencing techniques: as terrifying as child abuse

    It is clear to many of us that to have TWO witnesses for a successful allegation is almost impossible.

  3. kumas

    Whomever covers it up should also receive a prison term and only 5 years for totally messing up a persons life is shameful!

    • Claire

      Just to quote from the newspaper article in the chronicle:

      “A spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in the North East said: “Paul Atkin has not been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for seven years.

      “We understand that the elders had no significant information related to the prosecution of this case that the police were not already aware of. Jehovah’s Witnesses have an absolute and unequivocal abhorrence of child abuse. We never would shield a perpetrator from the consequences of his crime.

      “Victims or their families are entirely free to report crimes to the police. We respect and support the valuable role of the police in protecting the community from such individuals.”

      So the guy hasnt been a witness for 7 years and it sounds like they didnt have any more info to give? Also if you read the article it happened many years ago when she was 15 1/2 how old was he at the time? Was he a teenager too? I think its important to look at whole picture….
      I admire this blog and read it regularly in the hope things will be brought to light and even though this guy has for sure committed a crime in sleeping with a 15 year old even her lawyer said that the crown accepted that he could have thought she was ok with it at the time, these are not my words but her lawyers….this is totally different to paedophilia. If he forced himself on her then that is rape and he should pay for that. But try not to let prejudiced views influence you guys….

  4. timsanders2013

    I invited a couple of JWs in for a chat recently.
    I sat them down and asked what they wanted to tell me.
    They said that they did not know – that they had never got
    this far before.