Face to Face

The child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses states: "If the accused denies the charge, the two elders may arrange for him and the victim to restate their position in each other's presence, with elders also there."

Does this mean that young children who accuse someone of molesting them will have to meet with the accused face to face? That is what many opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses will tell you. One such opposer had this to say: "...yes JWs believe in having a 8 yr old little girl, her parents, two elder and the person in the same room as the little child describes how a 45yr old man..." Then he goes on to graphically described what might have happened for shock effect in hopes of discrediting Jehovah's Witnesses and their claimed method. But is this really true? Is this how Jehovah's Witnesses believe this situation should be handled?

No, opposers are knowingly or unknowingly leaving out detailed information that has appeared in the Watchtower and that has been sent to elders as to how to handle this situation when the accuser is a CHILD or if the accuser does not wish to face the one they are accusing. Would you like to see the real policy of Jehovah's Witnesses and not the invented policy of opposers like the one quoted above?

First off, the Nov 1, 1995 Watchtower states of ADULTS who accuse someone of molesting them when they were a child: "If the accuser is not emotionally able to do this face-to-face, it can be done by telephone or perhaps by writing a letter." As we see then, no face to face meeting is necessary even if the accuser is an adult. But what about a child who makes an accusation?

December 1, 2000 letter to elders states quite clearly: "If the complainant is a CHILD, the elder might offer to accompany him or her to discuss the situation with a parent (but not the alleged abuser) or to one of the above authorities. A child should not be placed under pressure to take such action,..." Did you notice the phrase in parenthesis, 'not the alleged abuser'? Further proof that Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that a child should be made or coerced to confront the accused molester face to face.

The Pay Attention to the Flock book at least as far back as 1991 also showed that a face to face meeting with the accused would not be necessary or encouraged. On pages 118 and 119 it stated: "However, having the witness confront the accused alone may not be advisable in all cases. For example: ...When the witness is a victim of the wrongdoer as in cases of incest or rape. In such cases, or when other extenuating circumstances exist, two elders may discuss the matter with the accused, or an elder may accompany the witness to discuss the matter with the accused."

You will take note that there are two acceptable alternatives to handling cases of rape or incest, one of which does not require the accuser to meet with the accused. There are those who may argue that the publication quoted above doesn't say anything about child abuse. It says 'incest or rape'. But such reasoning is easily shown to be in error because according to the November 1, 1995 Watchtower, sexual abuse of a child is indeed rape: "A person who actually abuses a child sexually is a rapist and should be viewed as such."

Even the judge in the Vicki Boer case, Judge Anne Molloy, after examining the evidence from an incident that occured in 1989, concluded that it was not the Watchtower's policy to have an accuser meet with the accused. She stated in her ruling, "The evidence at trial was clear that Matthew 18 has no application and that there is no requirement of the Jehovah’s Witness faith that the victim of sexual abuse must confront her abuser..."

In conclusion after examining the documentation and evidence we ask: Is the opposer correct when he says 'JWs believe in having a 8 yr old little girl, her parents, two elder and the person in the same room as the little child ...'? No Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe that at all as clearly documented and as clearly stated by an impartial judge. Opposers, like the one who stated the above, are either misinformed themselves or are simply trying to mislead others with an outright lie. But whether there is one or two witnesses, don't the elders and the Watchtower Society encourage the abuse to be handled in house without involving the authorities?

Chapter Five: Keeping It In the House?