You Can Run But You Can't Hide

What happens if a former molester who has been deemed repentant moves to another congregation? Will anyone know that he is a former molester? Will the former molester perhaps receive privileges or even be appointed to a responsible position of trust because the elders of his new congregation are unaware of his past conduct? Exactly what steps are taken to ensure that children are protected from former molesters who move to a different congregation?

A letter dated March 14, 1997 gives us a clear answer: "What should elders do when a former child molester moves to another congregation? As outlined in the February 1991 Our Kingdom Ministry "Question Box" and the August 1, 1995, letter to all Bodies of Elders, our policy is always to send a letter of introduction when a publisher moves to another congregation. It is imperative that this be done when one who is known to have been a child molester moves. The secretary should write on behalf of the elders to the new congregation's body of elders and outline this publisher's background and what the elders in the old congregation have been doing to assist him. Any needed cautions should be provided to the new congregation's body of elders. The elders should send a copy of this letter to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in one of the "Special Blue" envelopes."

As we see, a letter is sent out each time a former molester moves for the rest of his life. Thus the situation can be handled locally. The elders know who he is. They keep an eye out. As we showed previously there are rules and restrictions to be enforced upon former molesters for the protection of children. The elders upon being informed can make sure these rules are carried out. They make sure, for example, that he does not work in field service with a child, have children spend the night, hold children, cultivate friendship with children, receive privileges, caution others if there is a cause for concern, etc. Logically there are others who will have to know about the situation in order for the restrictions and rules to be applied. And naturally since Jehovah's Witnesses are a close knit group word will get around and thus the children will be protected.

But what of those who have been accused by only one witness? Isn't it true that when he or she moves to another congregation, no one, not even the elders of the new congregation, are informed of the accusation? Please note this June 1, 2001 letter: "There are, however, many other situations that are connected with the abuse of a child. For example, there may be just one eyewitness, and the brother denies the allegation...Or, he may be under active investigation by the secular authorities for alleged child abuse though the matter has not yet been established. Then again, a young child might be abused by someone who himself is a minor, perhaps in his pre- or early-teens... When such individuals move, the Congregation Service Committee should write a letter addressed to the Society’s Legal Department seeking advice as to whether to communicate the details to the new congregation."

As indicated the elders must write the Watchtower Society and ask whether or not to inform the new congregation. While the letter doesn't say positively that the elders in the new congregation will be informed certainly it is indicated that this will be the case unless there are reasons why they shouldn't be informed. It is only logical that each case is different and obviously no hard and fast rules can be made for every case. For example, if it has been proven in a court of law or otherwise that the person accused could not have possibly committed the abuse then no doubt it would not be necessary to inform the new congregation. But it stands to reason that in other cases where the accused has not been clearly exhonerated, the elders would be informed in order that a close eye could continue to be kept on the accused. The very fact that the Watchtower Society mentions the need to seek their advice in these cases reveals that to be true. This is both for the protection of children as well as protection against legal liability.

But did you take note that the March, 1997 letter quoted from above also showed that "elders should send a copy of this letter to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in one of the "Special Blue" envelopes."? Why? This is to ensure that the proper information is being disclosed to the body of elders in the new congregation and also to update the Watchtower's database. What? You mean that Bill Bowen and other opposers are correct in their claims that the Watchtower Society has a database of the names of child abusers? Why does the Watchtower Society keep such a database? What purpose does it serve and why do they not reveal the names of all those in the database?

Chapter Thirteen: The Famous Database