Tag Archive: Jehovah’s Witnessess

Black Collar Crime: Over Hundred People Report Allegations of Sexual Abuse in UK Jehovah’s Witnesses Congregations

jehovahs witnessess

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

According to a blockbuster report in The Guardian, over one-hundred people have contacted the newspaper with allegations of sexual abuse in Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations.

The Guardian reports:

More than 100 people have contacted the Guardian with allegations of child sexual abuse and other mistreatment in Jehovah’s Witness communities across the UK.

Former and current members, including 41 alleged victims of child sexual abuse, described a culture of cover-ups and lies, with senior members of the organisation, known as elders, discouraging victims from coming forward for fear of bringing “reproach on Jehovah” and being exiled from the congregation and their families.

A Guardian investigation also heard from 48 people who experienced other forms of abuse, including physical violence when they were children, and 35 who witnessed or heard about others who were victims of child grooming and abuse.

The stories told to the Guardian ranged from events decades ago to more recent, and many of those who came forward have now contacted the police.

They told the Guardian about:

  • An organisation that polices itself and teaches members to avoid interaction with outside authorities.
  • A rule set by the main governing body of the religion that means for child sexual abuse to be taken seriously there must be two witnesses to it.
  • Alleged child sex abuse victims claiming they were forced to recount allegations in front of their abuser.
  • Young girls who engage in sexual activity before marriage being forced to describe it in detail in front of male elders.

A solicitor representing some of the alleged victims said she believed there were thousands of complainants in the UK and that the people who have contacted the Guardian were “just the tip of the iceberg”.

One alleged victim, Rachel Evans, who has waived her right to anonymity, claimed there was a paedophile ring active in the 1970s, although details of the case cannot be divulged due to a current investigation.

“Within the Jehovah’s Witnesses there is an actual silencing and also a network where if someone went to the elders and said ‘there is a problem with this’ and they believe you, the whole thing will be dealt with in-house. But often these people are not dealt with, they are either moved to another congregation or told to keep their head down for a few years,” she said.

Another victim, who did not want to be named, said she was abused by a ministerial servant (someone with congregational responsibilities) in the organisation in the 1970s.

“I was sexually abused many times a week from the age of three until I was 12. Congregation elders knew that when I told them, at 12, what had been happening. No steps were taken to tell the police. I had to tell three male senior figures what had happened. Imagine that? A young girl telling a bunch of men what this man did to me. I wasn’t even allowed to have my mother there with me.”

After she went to the police about what had happened, the person who abused her pleaded guilty and was eventually convicted. “The Jehovah’s Witnesses should lose their charity status as they are not protecting children,” she added. She said she had mental health issues as a result of what happened and how it was dealt with.

….

When a Jehovah’s Witness experiences sexual abuse they are supposed to report it to elders, who are always men, who will take further action if there is a second witness to the offence. The perpetrator will then be called before a judicial committee if they admit abuse or if there is a second witness.

“This causes further trauma to the victim and coupled with the two-witness rule, is undoubtedly the reason that so many victims have never reported it,” said Kathleen Hallisey, senior solicitor in the abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp, who is currently acting on behalf of 15 alleged victims.

She also noted that the problem with the two-witness rule in the context of sexual abuse was that there were rarely witnesses to it, “meaning that [these] reports … are usually dismissed”.

….

The Charity Commission launched an investigation in 2013 looking into the Manchester New Moston congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, concluding that it did not deal adequately with allegations of child abuse made against one of the trustees.

The commission is still running an inquiry into the main government body of the group, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain. This is examining the child safeguarding policy and procedures further.

Following the investigation into the Manchester New Moston congregation last year, the Watch Tower changed its policy so that victims are no longer required to confront their abuser face to face.

A former elder, who was asked to investigate a child abuse case in 2007, claimed he was urged not to contact the police, although it was decided that the perpetrator should not be assigned to work with children.

However, the then elder – who left in 2012 over how the case was handled – said that this rule was not followed by everyone and when he raised this as a concern he was told to back off.

“I hugely regret the fact that I wasn’t able to do anything at the time and I didn’t have the strength. And that lives with me,” he said.

Other former Jehovah’s Witnesses told how they were forced to share personal sexual experiences at a young age, after breaking rules set by the religion.

One woman, who wished to be anonymous, was called to a meeting with elders after she had sex at 15, which goes against the rule of no sex before marriage. “This meeting was three older men and me, a scared 15-year-old, who had just had sex for the first time. They had to know all the details before they chose my punishment,” she said.

….

You can read the rest of the feature story here.

Black Collar Crime: Jehovah’s Witness Elder Jason Gorski Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

jason gorski

Last year, Jehovah’s Witness elder Jason Gorski was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a minor while employed as a teacher at Southwestern Longview Private School in Long Beach, California.

In June 2016, the Orange County Register reported:

Police arrested a man they say sexually assaulted at least one minor while he worked as a private school teacher and church leader between 2007 and 2009.

Jason Gorski, 43, of Fort Mill, South Carolina, surrendered to officers at the Buena Park Police Department without incident after he was contacted by investigators, Sgt. Mike Lovchik said.

Police say Gorski spent several years working as a teacher at Southwestern Longview Private School in Long Beach, which shuttered in 2007, where he met his victim. He also attended the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, a congregation in Cypress, and was appointed to a church elder position in 2007.

“The abuse came to an end when it was reported to the Jehovah’s Witness church in 2009, but it was only recently reported to authorities,” Lovchik said.

Police say Gorski relocated to South Carolina sometime around 2010, after news of the abuse broke within the church and lead to him being stripped of his title of church elder.

….

Yesterday, the Orange County Register reported:

A 44-year-old former teacher and Jehovah’s Witness church elder pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually assaulting one of his 13-year-old students.

Jason Morris Gorski pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd acts with a minor younger than 14 and is expected to be sentenced to six years in prison on Jan. 26, defense attorney Brian Neal Gurwitz said.

Gorski was a teacher at the now-shuttered Southwestern Longview Private School in Long Beach, where he met the victim, from 2003 to 2007, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. He also attended the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall, a congregation in Cypress, and was appointed to a church elder position in 2007.

He had sex with the teen at various locations in Buena Park between June 2007 and June 2008, prosecutors said.

The victim reported the sexual abuse to authorities and Gorski was arrested in June 2016.

 

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

As Polly and I travel the roads of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon in recent weeks.

christ is the answer findlay ohio

Side of State Farm Insurance office, Findlay, Ohio. What I want to know is this: What is the question?

good shepherd united methodist church benton ridge

Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, Benton Ridge, Ohio, Richard Hiltibran, pastor. Hiltibran describes his “passion” this way: (link no longer active)

My passion in ministry is seeing people become more like Jesus (holiness), and those disciples making a difference in their communities, cities, families, and all across the world. The way I have seen this happen is through worship, study, and small discipleship groups.  I am a Wesleyan nerd, who believes that through our tradition of Methodism people were revived by the work of God’s Holy Spirit. That can happen again if we as a Church submit to the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow God’s Will through Scripture, accountably, community, gifts of the Spirit, and the greatest of these is love.

Hiltibran’s claim to fame?: (link no longer active)

I have performed stand up comedy all over Ohio and in 2008 I was a finalist in the Dayton funniest person competition @ the Dayton Funny Bone.

Evidently, Hiltibran and the members of Good Shepherd think that non-Christians are broken and in need of repair. Why do I need to be made “new” (whatever that means)? I like the “old” me just fine.
jehovahs witnesses

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, somewhere in Ohio.

lafayette congregational christian church

LaFayette Congregational Christian Church, LaFayette, Ohio. According the to church’s Facebook page, “LaFayette Congregational Christian Church is a friendly, faithful group of people that meet to worship Jesus Christ in the town of LaFayette, Ohio.”

mt cory united methodist church

Mt. Cory United Methodist Church, Mt. Cory, Ohio, Mark Fuerstenau, Pastor. (Church’s Facebook page)

mt cory united methodist church

Mt. Cory Zion United Methodist Church, Mt Cory, Ohio. I found no public information on this church. Mt Cory has a population of 204. Surely, this community doesn’t have more than one Methodist church?

trinity evangelical lutheran church findlay

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Findlay, Ohio, Dennis Mauer, Pastor. I couldn’t get any further information about this church due to its non-functioning website.

trinity united methodist church defiance

trinity united methodist church defiance

Trinity United Methodist Church, Defiance, Ohio. According to the church’s website, “Trinity is all about making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We hope to accomplish this through three simple steps: Connect, Grow, Serve.” Trinity want people to know that America will NEVER be great until EVERYONE puts God first. Damn! Atheists, agnostics, secularists, and non-Christian relgionists are keeping America from being great! No worries. Donald Trump promises to make America great again.

Man Says He Found Truths in The Bible That He KNOWS I Haven’t Seen Before

bible secrets revealed

A few weeks ago, a former Jehovah’s Witness sent me an email detailing how he had found Biblical “truths”  that he was certain that I have never seen before. He wants to “share” these truths with me. No thanks. After, 2,000 years of being mined for the minutest of truths, the bible holds no more “new” truths. This man, once a card-carrying member of a Christian sect, supposedly reset his beliefs to zero and read the Bible in such a way that none of his past beliefs and biases played a part in him finding these “new” truths. Unless this man had a lobotomy or had his mind wiped in Men in Black fashion, I am quite sure he was unable to jettison past beliefs, biases, and hermeneutics. All of us are products of our environments. While I am now an atheist, I know that my Evangelical past still informs my thinking about the Bible, religion, and morality. While I now have other tools at my disposal as I “think” about the world and my place in it, it would be less than honest for me to say that my mind is now free of everything that I was taught and experienced over the course of 50 years in the Christian church.

I am sure this man “thinks” his mind is a clean slate, but it’s not. The “new” truths that he thinks he has found are in a book written, collated, and ordered by men. From translations to verse numberings, the Bible is a monument to the works of men. It is evident that this man thinks the Bible is some sort of divine book. He says that his path to “truth” began with Proverbs 2:2-6:

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Saying that he is allowing GOD alone to teach him, this man is rereading the Bible. Shouldn’t he, first, determine if this God even exists?  How about starting in Genesis 1-3 with its plurality of Gods? Regardless of how much mind-washing has been done, it is impossible to read the Bible and come to some sort of cohesive, unified “truth.”  Christian sects have been trying to do so for two thousand years. Their work has resulted in the birth of thousands of Christian sects, each believing that their “truth” is THE truth.

Here’s an excerpt from this man’s email:

this may be a big god damn waste of time…but i feel compelled to reach out to you anyway.

i have similar background as you in that i spent a shitload of my lifetime wrapped up in an organized ‘christian’ religion where the mantra basically was, we’re right, everyone else is wrong. go out there and bring in those lost sheep to increase our numbers!

i was fully BRAINWASHED into their mode of thinking – and i was a ‘company man’ – staunch, exemplary and unmoving in its doctrines, so near their top ranking status of ELDER – my elderhood was imminent at any time.

but…then it happened…without going into all the gory details – my eyes were opened to the filth and corruption that made up this organization…full well knowing that if THIS organization had as much crap and outright debauchery contained within it, there is no fucking truth, there is no fucking right religion it’s all a fucking big load of stinking garbage in EVERY religion EVERYWHERE..

my wife and my kids walked away from it and anything else that smelled like IT or even slightly resembled IT. i was in IT as an adult for 22 years and i actually came to be within IT via my parent’s decision to do so – thought I bounced around doing everything BUT IT until i got married and started having kids.

the kicker is…there was something about the BOOK that I could not let go of. to me, it just seemed there was something WAY deeper than what any ‘christian’ religion had their wits of understanding around…and, it was surely EASY to see that no one religion was practicing what it truly said. because if one DID? well…for example, christ said unequivocally without exception – to: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES.

that bit right there? disqualifies EVERY FUCKING organized ‘CHRISTIAN’ religion out there. Every one of them. Period,

but – like I said – as I read it by myself or when I was in IT during a meeting (of course always seeing the way THEY would twist and take shit out of context to fit THEIR doctrine)…there was stuff that I could not just throw away.

i basically did a last-ditch ultimatum…and I did it to GOD, right to his FUCKING FACE…I said as I was in my office – sometime after the official denunciation and leaving of IT (Jehovah’s Witnesses by the way)…

i am going to start from scratch and read this one more time…one more time…and if i cannot get out of it anything that i can sink my life into? i am DONE. you WILL hate my guts. I WILL be a BAD nightmare and I will TRASH ANYTHING/EVERYTHING remotely resembling what is called ‘christian’…as to me IT WAS ALL BULLSHIT.

bible in hand..at my desk…with tears flowing from my eyes…I read Proverbs 2, honing in on verses 3 -6…

i said – i am starting from SCRATCH. I am coming into this book like i have never read it before. i will not take with me ANY of the doctrines/teachings/festerings of any religion i have leaned an ear to. i will do what it says…i will let GOD give me the understanding. I will NOT ask any pastor, preacher, commentary, book, scholar dipshit, fuckhead…i am going in ALONE…beliefs reset to…

ZERO.

I KNOW NOTHING.

well Bruce – in your website somewhere – I found this:

“Whatever you think God wants you to tell me, I have already heard it.”

I can fully guarantee – that what I have been shown – will line up with NOTHING you have ever heard. some of it is like hiding in plain sight – and upon going into the seeking of it as to hid treasure and found gold…well, that is what it is – i did have to do some work to pull things together

thing is Bruce…there is SO MUCH of it (and I mean NEW STUFF you will not have been exposed to)…I’ll have a hard time figuring where to start.

The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Prince is in Hell by Steven Anderson

steven anderson

This is the twenty-second installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a clip from a sermon preached by Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. This sermon clip is rich in irony, complete with the uneducated Anderson giving his congregation a lesson in the Bible’s Greek language.

Video is no longer available

The Jehovah’s Witnesses Want Children to Know What God Thinks of Same-Sex Marriage

gays are sinners

By Nate Beeler of the Columbus Dispatch

The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society — the media arm of the Jehovah’s Witnesses — recently released a video on their Becoming Jehovah’s Friend channel that is meant to educate children about Jehovah’s view of same-sex marriage. No surprise here. The God of the Jehovah’s Witnesses disproves of same-sex marriage. Enjoy!

Video Link