Spain: Ad-Hoc Committee Urges Investigation of Jehovah’s Witness Abuses

We can now add Spain to our list of countries that are taking action against the Watchtower’s treatment of abused children. Former Jehovah’s Witnesses – many who were abused sexually – are taking their message directly to a prosecutor and the Ministry of the Interior. The following article from the Global Chronicle has been translated for us by a volunteer. 

Ad-Hoc Committee Against JW Abuses” urges the Government to investigate sexual abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses

By Laura Fàbregas: @laurafabel

[Spanish to English Translation by Walter Finlay (amplified for comprehension of jargon)]

A group of EX-JWs wants the Prosecutor’s Office to act to protect the victims and seize the files of the judicial cases of elders hearing religious confessions [of sins within a JW judicial hearing.]

The “Ad-Hoc Committee Against JW Abuses” has sent a letter to the Ministry of the Interior on Wednesday to urge them to investigate the alleged cases of sexual abuse that have been concealed for years within the different congregations in Spain of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion.

As [our newspaper, Global Chronicle] has learned, the main motivation of the letter is that secret judicial cases have been opened by the elders where the alleged crimes have failed to be reported to authorities. This process could bring before the courts not only the alleged abusers, but also some elders of the congregation who were aware of these abuses.

Favorable Situation

The group had sent a letter in December 2016 to the previous [Ministry] Executive, led by Mariano Rajoy, but never got a response. The current situation is more favorable [for action.] In addition to these new cases [of non-reporting], the public approach of other religious confessions, such as that of  the Catholic Church, [has changed] to update its protocols. In cases of abuse to minors, priests and bishops are required [as mandatory reporters] to notify the Office of the Prosecutor. This has opened a new scenario more favorable for the group request.

In conversation with this media outlet, they consider that the Attorney General’s Office must intercede to “protect any victim of abuse” as well as to “requisition and protect the integrity of the sexual abuse files” that the [Witnesses] have been “compiling for years.” The Department of the Interior explains that they will respond to the letter in a couple of days, but they remind that the Public Prosecutor can open “proceedings” if the case is not yet at trial.

The Group claims that the congregations have an unauthorized system of secret courts to keep abusers names and the names of the congregations out of public view through the use of their internal investigations and [secret tribunal] parallel courts:

Exhibit of Watchtower Protocols quoting “Shepherds of the Flock of God” (2010 Unit 5 Par. 37-39):

  1. In the unusual (exceptional) situation where the two elders who carry out the investigation consider it necessary to speak to a minor who has been the victim of sexual abuse, what should they do before proceeding? First, the elders should get in touch with the Service Department. Such a request should be unusual because in most cases the elders should be able to obtain the necessary information directly from the parents. Additionally, it’s possible that sufficient proof to establish wrongdoing is already available. (ks10 5:37-39)

Disfellowshipping Measures:

Another of the conflicting points of the internal documents that circulate among congregations is that in the case that the guilt of an abuser has been demonstrated and he has been expelled from the congregation, he can rejoin in another congregation of another city. “Elders should not inform the new congregation” – says the document – until they “receive advice from the Department of Legal Affairs and instructions from the Service Dept.”

Quoting additional WT letter of instructions [no source citation]:

Moving to Another Congregation Question for paragraph 21: When someone who has been accused of sexual abuse of minors (proven or not) moves from the congregation, what procedure is followed? Answer: The Service Committee of the Congregation should not send any information until they receive a specific directive from the Dept. Of Legal Affairs and instructions from the Service Dept.

Question for paragraph 22: When someone who has been accused of sexual assault of a minor (proven or not) moves into the congregation, what steps should the elders take? Answer: If the person is disfellowshipped and lives in the territory of the congregation, the elders should note the address on the corresponding territory card with the notation “Do Not Call.”

Explaining the above graphic, the article continues: “In addition, they have a card that says ‘Do not visit’ in which the isolation of the abuser is assured only for members of the religion, but not, explains the Group, ‘to the neighbors or other people if they are not Witnesses of Jehovah.’ “


[ORIGINAL SPANISH VERSION:]

https://cronicaglobal.elespanol.com/vida/tj-insta-gobierno-investigar-abusos-sexuales_194252_102.html

By Laura Fàbregas Twitter handle: @laurafabel Published 25.10.2018 00:00 h.

Abusos TJ insta al Gobierno a investigar los abusos sexuales dentro de los Testigos de Jehová

El colectivo de exmiembros quiere que la Fiscalía actúe para proteger a las víctimas y requisar los ficheros de la confesión religiosa

El colectivo Abusos TJ ha enviado este miércoles una carta al Ministerio del Interior para instar a investigar los presuntos casos de abusos sexuales que durante años se han encubierto desde la distintas congregaciones en España de los Testigos de Jehová.

Según ha podido saber Crónica Global, la motivación principal de la misiva es que por primera vez se ha abierto un proceso judicial –en secreto de sumario– de un caso en el que el delito no ha prescrito. Este proceso podría llevar ante los tribunales no solo a los presuntos agresores, sino también a algunos ancianos de la congregación que tenían conocimiento de estos abusos.

Coyuntura favorable

Desde el colectivo ya enviaron en diciembre de 2016 una carta al anterior Ejecutivo, liderado por Mariano Rajoy, pero nunca obtuvieron una respuesta. La situación actual es más optimista. Además de este nuevo caso sin prescribir, el planteamiento público de otras confesiones religiosas, como la de la Iglesia Católica, de actualizar sus protocolos antes los casos de abusos a menores de manera que los sacerdotes y obispos estén obligados a notificar a la Fiscalía las denuncias que recibe, ha abierto un nuevo escenario más favorables para el colectivo Abusos TJ.

En conversación con este medio, consideran que la Fiscalía General del Estado debe interceder para “proteger a cualquier víctima de abusos” así como para “requisar y proteger la integridad de los ficheros de abusos sexuales” que la confesión ha estado “recopilando durante años”. Por su parte, desde el Departamento de Interior explican que responderán a la misiva en un par de días, pero recuerdan que el Ministerio Fiscal puedo abrir “diligencias” si el caso todavía no está judicializado.

Quoting Watchtower Instruction Letters:

En otro de los documentos se observa que tienen protocalizado cómo se debe hablar con una víctima, incluso si es menor de edad, y sin dirigirse a las autoridades competentes. “No tienen formación psicológica como para dirigirse a las víctimas. Es una forma más de encubrir los episodios”, explican desde Abusos TJ. Se trata –añaden– de investigarlo mediante sus “tribunales paralelos”.

Documento interno de los Testigos de Jehová

Expulsión, a medias

Otro de los puntos conflictivos de los documentos internos que circulan entre congregaciones es que en el caso de que se haya demostrado la culpabilidad de un agresor y haya sido expulsado de la congregación, puede reincorporarse en otra congregación de otra ciudad. Eso sí “los ancianos no deben informar a la nueva congregación” –dice el documento– hasta que “reciba el asesoramiento del Departamento de Asuntos Legales e instrucciones del Departamento de Servicio”.

Documento interno de los Testigos de Jehová

Además, tienen una tarjeta que pone “No visitar” en la que se garantiza el alejamiento de estos agresores sólo a los miembros del culto, pero no, explican desde Abusos TJ, “a los vecinos o demás personas si no son de los Testigos de Jehová”.

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  • “Fui expulsado de los Testigos de Jehová por denunciar sexo con niños

{ https://cronicaglobal.elespanol.com/vida/tj-insta-gobierno-investigar-abusos-sexuales_194252_102.html } Orginal Spanish text

[Spanish to English Translation by Walter Finlay (amplified for comprehension of jargon)]


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