Silent Witnesses

Silent Witnesses

For Jehovah’s Witnesses, an insular culture and archaic rules have created a “recipe for child abuse.”

A second was all it took. A second was all he needed.

The little girl was 4, round-faced and freckled and dressed in her Sunday best. She was fidgeting next to her father inside the Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Red Lion, York County — a safe, familiar space for a family that spent nearly all of its free time preaching and praying.

Martin Haugh was momentarily preoccupied, doling out assignments to his fellow Witnesses for their door-to-door ministry work. When he looked down for his daughter, she was gone. Haugh plunged into the slow-motion panic of every parent’s worst nightmare.

He scrambled through the one-story brick building, calling her name, the anxiety piling up like concrete blocks on his chest with each passing moment. She wasn’t in the bathrooms, she wasn’t in the lobby. He tried a coatroom next, and found her there. But she wasn’t alone.

Haugh’s daughter was perched on the lap of a teenage boy who had quietly lured her away. He was molesting her. “He wanted to give me a special hug,” the girl told her father.

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One thought on “Silent Witnesses

  1. Such horribles and devastating stories of young people amid JW, being abused by fellow Christians! WT’s directives are ambiguous, good only to preserve the organization look, to preserve their claim to holiness. Furthermore, much reprovable, indecent, nasty and obscene to inflict to the victim reproof and silence. All my solidarity to victims and their families who have suffered not only trauma and violence but also the dirty attitudes of WT’s elders. This organization should be erased, dissolved, should be put to the stake, exposed to public shame. Thanks to Barbara ans Philadelphia Enquiry for their excellents articles! From an ex JW who opened her eyes almost 15 years ago, after 50 spent and lost with the WT’s organization!

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