How Good is the Watchtower Society's "Child Protection Policy"?

"Mario Moreno, associate general counsel at the church's New York headquarters, said when church policy is applied to child molesters, "as a parent, an attorney and an elder, I' m c omfortable with our policy." ... Moreno said he believes that while some of the church's critics on this topic have legitimate concerns, most "have a problem with pride" and "want the organization to change for them. We go by what we believe the Bible says, and we don't change for anybody." ... He [ Moreno ] also said he feels the church is "being picked on" and added that he would be willing to put the church's policy up against any other." (The Paducah Sun ( Kentucky ) Newspaper, January 28th 2001 )

"J. R. Brown, director of the public information office at church headquarters, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, in Brooklyn , said the church had exemplary policies for handling sexual abuse, which were based on biblical standards and had been widely published in church magazines. "...if you take what our policy is for keeping our organization clean morally, it far outpaces anybody else's." " (NEW YORK TIMES Newspaper, Sunday, August 11th 2002 Edition)

"Head of Public Relations, J R Brown, maintains: "We have a very aggressive policy to handle child molestation in the congregations and it is primarily designed to protect our children." " (BBC Panorama News Story on their Website, Friday, July 12th 2002 )

" "...if you take what our policy is for keeping our organization clean morally, it far outpaces anybody else's," spokesman J.R. Brown said." ( Seattle Times Newspaper, September 6th 2002 )

"Our policy for handling child abuse is progressive, and strong, and it protects the congregation." (Jehovah's Witnesses Office of Public Information Press Release: Statement on silentlambs march, September 27, 2002 )

"Brown points out that people who accuse the church are often lapsed Witnesses, and "open prey" for exploiters." (Newsweek Magazine; New York ; June 24th, 2002 ; Volume: 139, Issue: 25, Start Page: 81)

" "It's a matter of trying to balance confidentiality and protecting the child," Brown said." (The Paducah Sun ( Kentucky ) Newspaper, January 28th 2001 )

"J.R. Brown... said the church does not interfere with the reporting of a crime. He said church elders are supposed to contact headquarters if they have questions about a case. "When we are contacted, we tell elders if they are in a state where (reporting pedophilia) is required," he said. "We want to make sure we are legally compliant." Brown said he is aware that numerous cases have been posted on Internet sites such as www.silentlambs.org or www.freeminds.org detailing pedophilia within the Jehovah's Witnesses church. But he maintains most of the s tori es were posted by people who underwent abuse back in the 1980s, when all of society was grappling with the issue. "Regrettably, many children probably were molested," he said. He said the church has made strong policy changes since then, including taking suspected or convicted pedophiles out of any position in the church, not allowing them to be alone with children and various other restrictions." (TRI-CITY HERALD, Wednesday, January 23, 2002 )

"Witness spokesman [J.R.] Brown says that the incidence of pedophilia is no worse in his religion than in others, but he admits that some elders have not reported suspicions of abuse." (Christianity Today, January 26th 2001 )

"please do not conclude that we believe that our system is perfect. No human organization is perfect. But we do believe that we have a strong, Bible-based policy on child abuse. ... Over the years, as we have noted areas where our policies could be strengthened, we have followed through. We are continuing to refine them." -- J.R. Brown (Quote from the Statement that was Faxed from J.R. Brown to Betsan Powys [BBC Panorama Reporter] on May 9th 2002, and was Posted on the Official Watchtower Society Media Website at http://www.jw-media.org right around the same time the BBC Panorama Program aired.)

"Clearly, with us having 95,000 congregations around the world and three to five to six elders in each, mistakes may have been made," he said. "But that does not mean that we don't have a strong and aggressive policy that shows we abhor child molestation." -- J.R. Brown (Associated Press [AP] News Story, September 26th 2002 )

"Our procedures have been refined over time. Over the years, as we have noted areas where our policies could be strengthened, we have followed through. We are continuing to refine them. We do not believe that our system is perfect. No human organization is perfect. But we do believe that we have a strong, Bible-based policy on child abuse. Anyone in a responsible position who is guilty of child abuse would be removed from his responsibilities without hesitation. We certainly would not knowingly allow him to serve elsewhere, either because he moved or through a transfer." (Official Watchtower Society JW-Media.org Statement, May 2002)

"THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESS REPRESENTATIVES WE TALKED TO DID NOT WANT TO GO ON CAMERA. BUT ONE TOLD US THE ALLEGATIONS ARE RIDICULOUS. HE SAYS JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ARE ONE OF THE MOST LAW-ABIDING GROUPS IN THE WORLD. HE ALSO MAINTAINS THEY DO NOT HAVE A POLICY OF SILENCING VICTIMS." ( Tucson , Arizona News, September 6, 2002 )

"An elder at a southwestern Ontario congregation of the Jehovah's Witnesses yesterday defended a church decision to allow a man accused of having sexually abused his daughter in the mid-1980s to report himself to authorities. Steve Brown testified in Ontario Superior Court that the abuse had stopped and there was no reason to suspect the two younger children in the family were in dan ger when elders in the Shelburne congregation learned of the allegations in December 1989. ... A church committee did not expel the father or make the allegations public, Mr. Brown said. "He was repentant and fit to be a member of the congregation," the church elder said. "We were not sitting with a man who was determined to continue a course of wickedness." " (The Ottawa Citizen Canadian Newspaper, September 17, 2002 )

"Church general counsel Philip Brumley said the church's own investigation of previous lawsuits found church elders did nothing wrong as they tried to protect victims, comply with sexual abuse reporting laws and adhere to biblical admonitions against accepting accusations by a single witness. "We abhor child abuse," Brumley said. "The assertion or allegation of a cover up, or a nonchalance about child abuse, is just so far from the truth." " (CNN.com, "Lawsuits allege cover-up of sexual abuse by Jehovah's Witnesses", Tuesday, July 29, 2003 )