'Trusted' Jehovah’s Witness ‘raped and sexually abused girls’
COURT: Barry Furlong arrives at Bournemouth Crown Court
by Jane Reader 5:00am Wednesday 10th December 2014 in News
A TRUSTED senior figure in Bournemouth Jehovah’s Witness community raped and sexually abused children over a period of nearly 17 years, a court heard yesterday.
Barry Furlong, a former fireman, attacked four girls – the youngest aged just five – who didn’t report what had happened to them for many years because they feared they would not be believed, Bournemouth Crown Court was told.
Now 69-year-old, Furlong, of Keeble Crescent, Kinson, is accused of four charges of rape, four of indecent assault and six of indecency with a child, alleged to have been committed between December 1979 and November 1996.
He denies all of the charges.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Mark Worsley said Furlong, a father-of-two, held a top position as Ministerial Servant at the time of the offences.
A jury of six men and six women was told: “The allegations take place in the context of the Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Kinson at the time in Bournemouth.
“When a person gets to that level, the abused children found it impossible at the time to disclose what had happened to them.
“Why would anyone believe what they had to say against the word of a trusted man like Barry Furlong?”
Mr Worsley stressed it was not a trial about Jehovah’s Witnesses but “a trial about a number of children within that context”.
The jury was told that it would hear from one victim who claims that she was 10 years old when she was sexually assaulted.
Mr Worsley said: “He told her not to tell anyone else or she would not get into the New Order, a term for a kind of heaven. She didn’t tell anyone because the defendant had told her not to.”
Speaking of the alleged victim of the offences of rape, Mr Worsley added: “He was a pillar of the community – who would believe her? She also felt ashamed that this was happening to her. She knew what he was doing was not right.”
The trial continues.
You won’t make it into the New Order – what Jehovah Witness told victim after he assaulted her, court hears
ACCUSED: Barry Furlong arrives at Bournemouth Crown Court
by Gayle McDonald Updated on 8:44am Thursday 11th December 2014 in News
A SENIOR Jehovah Witness told a 10-year-old girl she wouldn’t make it into the New Order if she spoke out about his alleged sex crime, a court has heard.
Yesterday the trial of Barry Furlong, who is accused of sexually abusing four young girls over a 17-year period, continued at Bournemouth Crown Court
The 69-year-old former fireman of Keeble Crescent, Kinson, denies all charges.
The jury watched a video statement given by the first of his alleged victims who claimed she was abused by Furlong when she was around nine or 10 years old.
She said he touched her inappropriately and made her kiss the crotch area of his trousers in the early 1980s.
She said: “After he said, ‘you mustn’t tell anyone that just happened because you won’t get into the New Order’, and that was it. He never ever mentioned it ever again. He never touched me again. It was just that one time.”
The alleged victim told family members about the alleged sexual assault when she was a teenager and the matter was investigated by elders from the church, the court was told.
“I can remember having a meeting,” she said. “I had to go to their house with the elders and say what happened. They didn’t believe me either. I was just a naughty girl.”
During cross examination, carried out via video link, James Newton-Price, defending, claimed the witness’ version of events were untrue and the alleged offence did not happen.
“There was an occasion when something did happen but you would have been a little older - 12 or 13,” he told the court.
He said in a “mischievous gesture”, the alleged victim lunged towards Furlong and touched his crotch, which the witness denied.
Furlong denies four charges of rape, four of indecent assault and six of indecency with a child. The offences are alleged to have been committed between December 1979 and November 1996.
The trial continues.
Leading member of Bournemouth’s Jehovah’s Witness "strongly denies" allegations of child rape and sex abuse
ACCUSED: Barry Furlong
by Jane Reader 5:00am Wednesday 17th December 2014 in News
A LEADING member of Bournemouth’s Jehovah’s Witness community has taken to the stand to defend himself against claims of child rape and sex abuse.
Grandfather Barry Furlong strongly denies all the charges against him, describing them as ‘absolutely false’ and ‘total fabrication’.
The 68-year-old former fireman held a top position in the religion’s Kinson congregation at the time of the alleged offences, said to have taken place between December 1979 and November 1996.
A jury at Bournemouth Crown Court has been told Furlong, of Keeble Crescent, Kinson attacked four girls, one of whom was just five-years-old.
They cannot be identified.
He denies four charges of rape, four of indecent assault and six of indecency with a child.
Giving evidence at his trial yesterday, Furlong confirmed that allegations had been made against him in the past, which had been reported to the Jehovah’s Witness elders and not to the police. When questioned about one of his alleged victims, he said she had lunged at him and touched him intimately.
“I told her to stop,” he said.
The jury heard Furlong, a father-of-two, has been married for 42 years and worked as a fireman in Bournemouth between 1964 and 1970.
He then spent 17 years working for the Post Office before retiring on medical grounds in 1987 due to problems with his hips and shoulders.
Prosecutor Mark Worsley has told the court the victims did not report the offences immediately because they did not think they would be believed.
Speaking of the alleged rape victim, he added: “He was a pillar of the community – who would believe her?
“She also felt ashamed that this was happening to her.
“She knew what he was doing was not right.”
The court also heard one of his victims was told she would not get into the New Order – a term for a kind of heaven – if she told anyone what had happened.
The trial continues.
UPDATE: Jehovah's Witness jailed for five years for indecently assaulting young girls
by Will Frampton Updated on 4:41pm Monday 22nd December 2014 in News
A RESPECTED Jehovah’s Witness has been jailed for more than five years for indecently assaulting young girls.
Barry Furlong was convicted today of four counts of indecency with a child and four counts of indecent assault, offences which took place during the 1970s, 80s and 90s when he was a ministerial servant in the faith’s Kinson congregation.
Bournemouth Crown Court heard the 69-year-old grandfather had indecently touched the four girls – one of whom was nine years old – over their clothing in all but one of the offences. On that occasion he put his hand in the victim’s underwear.
Jailing Furlong for five years and three months, Recorder Stephen Climie said: “These offences involved, in my judgement, an extreme abuse of trust.
“You were highly regarded within the local congregation you attended within the Jehovah’s Witness faith.”
The judge said Furlong had taken advantage of the naivety of his four victims, which he said was instilled in them by their religious community “as was perfectly proper”.
He said there had been “a significant impact” on each of them.
The jury of six men and six women took eight hours and 51 minutes to decide their verdicts, three of which were passed by a majority of 10-2.
Furlong, a former fireman and Post Office worker who strongly denied all the charges against him, was acquitted of four counts of rape and two of indecency with a child.
Speaking in mitigation, James Newton-Price said the convictions had been a “devastating blow” to his client and his family.
He said the father-of-two and his wife of 42 years had “effectively lost” their home “because of the publicity” surrounding the trial, and that the defendant suffered from back pain and depression which would make any prison term a greater hardship.
“I don’t in any way wish to minimise the mental anguish of the complainants as a result of his actions,” he said.
“That said, with the exception of count three, all are offences in which there has been either touching or rubbing over clothing.”
Furlong, of Keeble Crescent, Bournemouth, received a Sexual Offences Prevention Order prohibiting unsupervised access to minors for an indefinite period, and was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.