Attorney Irwin Zalkin of the of Zalkin Law Firm answers the question. I am a Jehovah’s Witness. Our child was sexually abused by an Elder. I was told that I should not tell anyone but the Body of Elders of our Kingdom Hall. They said they could not do anything because the perpetrator did not confess and there are not two eye witnesses to our child’s abuse. What can I do?
If your child was abused by a Jehovah witness, a ministerial servant, a pioneer, or even a publisher, you should immediately report that to law enforcement.
The Jehovah witnesses have their only policies and procedures for how they conduct an investigation and they follow a very rigid rule that is almost impossible to meet. It is going to be the extremely rare case where there will be two eyewitnesses to the abuse of a child or where a perpetrator will confess and according to doctrine of Jehovah witnesses, those are the only times when they can take some sort of action. The action they would take is that they would form a judicial committee and they either reprove an individual or they dis-fellowship the individual.
But that’s not the end of the problem.
The real problem is getting your child into counseling, into proper counseling, into proper intervention now because there will be a lifelong history of problems, if they don’t get help immediately. Go to law enforcement, they’re the ones qualified to do an investigation.
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