In Sydney, Australia, beginning in the spring of 2013, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse began to hold public hearings. Starting from July 27, 2015, for eight days the Commission (ARC) examined the church of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) response to allegations, reports or complaints of child sexual abuse, and their procedures in place to prevent child sexual abuse.
The evidence is clear (thanks to the extensive work and research of the Australian Royal Commission) that Jehovah’s Witnesses have not only failed to protect the children in their midst – but have also shrugged their responsibilities and resisted any efforts to make needed changes in their policies.
Videos of 2017 Australian RoyalCommission Hearings
All sessions were held on March 10, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. These hearings were to act as follow up to the August 2015 hearings that reviewed several typical child abuse cases involving Jehovah’s Witness congregations. More information on those hearings will be available soon. Please check back.
Here are the transcripts of the three sessions held on March 10:
The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom has issued a “final ruling” telling the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society of Great Britain that it cannot stop the Charity Commission from investigating the charity. This ruling could end the Watchtower’s last gasp efforts to derail the Charity Commission’s inquiries.
Survivors of child sex abuse are campaigning for the UK government to introduce mandatory reporting laws to help tackle abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses communities. This follows on the heels of the Australian Royal Commission Investigation regarding the handling of child abuse by Jehovah’s Witnesses and their policies. The Royal Commission considered similar demands for improved reporting by all religious organizations – including the Watchtower.
Several of the Jehovah’s Witness elders appearing and offering testimony during those hearings indicated that if the government required “mandatory reporting” of child abuse and other criminal acts, that would not only allow – but force them to fully report crimes and let the civil authorities get involved. Even Watchtower Governing Body member, Geoffrey Jackson suggested that “mandatory reporting” would make elders’ jobs simpler and that the organizations would welcome more government involvement.
In an article dated September 23, 2015, Trey Bundy reports what happened when one of the Watchtower Society’s Governing Body members testified during two weeks of hearings before a Royal Commission in Australia.
Geoffrey Jackson, one of seven current Governing Body members, and several other high-ranking members of the organization in Australia testified for hours after swearing to tell the truth. In his article, Bundy asks, “Were any of them really telling the truth?”
Those of us who have been Jehovah’s Witnesses who are intimately familiar with the Watchtower organization know that everything elders, branch representatives – even members of the Governing Body – speak or write, even under oath, is questionable. We’ve learned that they are willing to hide, distort, ignore, and deny the “truth.” Even those who know that they are not being truthful to news reporters, investigators, and even the police will do or say whatever is necessary “to protect Jehovah’s earthly organization.” They learn how to do this as part of Watchtower strategy known as “Theocratic Warfare.” The recent Commission hearings in Australia provided us with a grand and endless display of their official use of that “theocratic strategy.”
We will be presenting more information on this story and the Australian Commission Hearings over the next few weeks. We are in the process of editing an entire section dedicated to the Commission hearings that included videos of all the sessions, links to transcripts of all the public sessions, more news articles, and all official exhibits released to the public.