Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Protect Child Molesters?
This question has been debated by media, victims of child abuse, and Public spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses for the last six years. The media has shown the testimony from countless victims around the world that say the answer to that question is a resounding, YES! On the other hand we have JW lawyers and smooth talking JW PR representatives stating with measured tonality that this is an absurd allegation, they “abhor” child molesters, and would never protect a “known” child molester or ignore the testimony of “credible” eye witnesses. The reader might ask, “What is the truth of these matters?”
With the recent news coverage of a member of the Bethel family J. Manuel Cano appears to tip the scale in the direction of the victims. “Bethel” is a terminology to the “Top Guns” of the Jehovah’s Witness world. Only ministers with special recommendation are invited to volunteer their time and labor to serve full time five and a half days a week at the headquarters of JW’s. They take a vow of poverty and surrender all worldly assets for “special service” in the Lord’s work of publishing literature for Jehovah’s Witnesses. J Manuel Cano was a “Bethelite” at the age of 50, this is unusual as the cut off date to be invited to Bethel is 35 years of age unless you have a special skill they need or you have been there a number of years. The news reports reveal that Cano traveled extensively to South America and other countries and had access to four computers. Reports are that Cano worked in the automotive area and was a Bethel member for many years. He had a roommate that he got along well with he was an elder as well as a “Bethel Elder” a type of super elite elder in special service for JW’s by his service at Bethel. What does not make sense is how a Bethel member could accumulate massive amounts of child porn,
take nude pictures of himself,
use computer equipment to generate invitations to have sex with children,
Was J M Cano just a “Bethel Elder” gone bad? If you do research on pedophilia most experts agree that a child molester does not just wake up one day and start trying to molest children. It is a life long addiction that is kept in secret and used whenever the opportunity presents itself. Cano it seems was in a “create his own opportunity” mode. The brazenness of his actions indicate this was not a first time occurrence and his ability to approach children was no doubt refined by his life time of door to door work proselytizing for Jehovah’s Witnesses. You see even at Bethel which is considered full time service to the church, members are still required to go door to door and offer to study the bible with the public. Cano was expected as a condition of his bethel membership to spend ten or more hours each month in this work as well. How many children had been approached by Cano as a minister and violated as he pretended to be offering spiritual guidance? How many JW children were violated as Cano worked alone with them as he participated in this work? The real question that begs to be answered is how will the church deal with this elite member accused of such atrocities?
Guidelines of the organization dictate that technically Cano is guilty of pornography of himself and children. Two elders would be required to ask Cano if he obtained or distributed porn. If Cano denied the allegation then the elders would require that two “credible” eye witnesses come forward to establish guilt. (A credible eye witnesses is typically a baptized adult Jehovah’s Witness) In this case it appears the victims are fifteen year old non-believers. A non-believer and a minor could never be considered as a “credible” eye witness. Cano therefore becomes an “unknown” abuser and can attend any congregation of his choosing as well as remain an elder in the congregation. If on the other hand Cano confesses his crimes of porn addiction as well as masturbation then in that case a judicial committee would be formed and there is a high percentage chance that he would be disfellowshipped from the organization. Due to the notoriety he would of course be dismissed from Bethel either way with or without confession as bringing reproach on Jehovah’s name. If Cano were in fact disfellowshipped, the elders on the committee would call the Service Department at the home office and make a “report.” That report would include every detail of what Cano confessed to including times, dates, names and ages of victims as well as all parties involved. This record is part of a “database” of child molesters maintained by the home office of JW’s. This database includes well over 24,000 names of molesters that the organization keeps track of and updates as pedophiles molest new children. In fact it has to be noted that Cano could have already been part of the JW pedophile database and this recent outburst will simply be added to previous material in his record. This record provides a way for the organization to track the number of years a molester has not been caught abusing more children. If no further incidents are recorded for a twenty year period then the individual can re-qualify as an elder and be used again as a spiritual leader. So for Cano it will be twenty years before he can serve as an elder again only if he “confessed” to being a child molester. If he confessed to a porn addiction then it would have to be determined if it was “soft” porn or “hard” porn, either way he could re-qualify as an elder in a relatively short period of time, say a year or two. This of course would include his being reinstated as a member in good standing in the event he was disfellowshipped.
The pedophile database of Jehovah’s Witnesses remains confidential under religious privilege and over 80% of the 24,000+ have never been reported to law enforcement. Did Cano benefit from this over the years and molest children within the organization until he finally became reckless enough to allow himself to be caught? If not, there will be a massive investigation of every congregation and JW child Cano has had contact with. That information will not be reported to police but instead will called “ecclesial privilege” and remain a part of confidential church database records. JW parents and children will be cautioned to not bring “reproach on Jehovah’s name” by going public with such negative information about a former Bethel Family Member and “Bethel Elder.”
Does this scenario seem surreal to you? Picture if you were a JW victim of abuse left with the options above? The real question is, “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses protect child molesters?” It certainly appears Cano was protected for many years, his victims silenced as “non-credible,” until in a moment of sheer insanity he committed pedophile suicide by intentionally getting himself caught. Perhaps it was a cry for help, or just a way to get someone to finally see the problem. A problem that was not being addressed by the current policies of Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership.