5 men used religious community to find victims, attorney general says—criminal charges filed.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle A. Henry

Victims and defendants in all five cases were members of Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations; arrests follow sexual abuse charges against nine different members of Jehovah’s Witness congregations in October 2022 and February 2023

PHILADELPHIA– Attorney General Michelle Henry today announced the filing of criminal charges against five Pennsylvania men for the sexual assault and exploitation of children. In each case, the defendants and their victims were members of Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations.

Arrested and charged are:

David Balosa
Philadelphia County

Errol William Hall, of Delaware County

Errol William Hall,
Delaware County

Shaun Sheffer, of Butler County

Shaun Sheffer,
Butler County

Terry Booth of Panama City, FL

Terry Booth,
Panama City, FL

Luis Ayala-Velasquez
Berks County

“The details of these crimes are sad and disturbing, facts which are made even more abhorrent because the defendants used their faith communities or their own families to gain access to victims,” said Attorney General Michelle Henry. “Our office will never stop working to seek justice for those who have been victimized, and we will continue to investigate and prosecute anyone who harms the most vulnerable in our society.”

The defendants are being prosecuted by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General

The charges are part of an investigation into child abuse in the Jehovah’s Witnesses community launched by the attorney general’s office in 2019, according to a report from the AG’s office listing findings of fact and recommendations of charges against the defendants.

While the five cases are distinct from one another, they share a common thread, according to the attorney general. The defendants and victims were all part of Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations at the time of the alleged abuse.

For further information, please read the Attorney General’s Press Release, or read more via the news on CNN.

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