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Kentucky News

 

Former church elder says Jehovah's Witnesses denied his appeal

08/12/2002

Associated Press

A western Kentucky man said Monday his appeal to return as a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses was denied.

Bill Bowen of Draffenville contends he was unfairly excommunicated by church elders for claiming the church's policies protect child molesters.

After being excommunicated or "disfellowshipped" from the church last month, he sought permission to be reinstated.

Bowen has said he wants to remain a church member so members of the church who have been molested will feel comfortable coming to a support group he helped form called Silent Lambs.

Bowen is the fourth person expelled this year after criticizing policies on child molesters. The church denies any wrongdoing.

Bowen said Jehovah's Witnesses keep incidents of child molestation secret and refuse to let victims warn other members of predators in their congregations.

Church leaders say they abhor child molestation, report cases to authorities in states that require such reports and allow members to report fellow members to police.