Jehovah’s Witnesses, a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with non-trinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity, has been accused of covering up child molestation and maintaining a secret database of child molesters within the group.
Not only were they accused of maintaining the secret database, they also accused of failing to report the offenses and offenders to various law enforcement agencies, according to the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail found the damaging report from The Atlantic, an American magazine and multi-platform publisher.
The governing body of the Jehovah’s Witness Christian denomination has been accused of maintaining a secret database of child molesters within the group and failing to share that information with law enforcement agencies.
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which serves as the head of the Jehovah’s Witness organization, has reportedly paid millions of dollars in court fines and settlements over the years rather than unseal its files containing the names and addresses of the accused.
The allegations against the religious group were first outlined in a bombshell report published in The Atlantic.
According to the magazine, the Watchtower in 1997 sent a survey to its 10,883 US Kingdom Halls seeking information about members of the community accused of sexual abuse.
The survey was composed of a dozen questions, including how the Jehovah’s Witness community viewed the alleged abusers, whether the abuse was a one-time occurrence or part of a pattern, and how widely known the abuse was.
The responses were mailed back to the Watchtower in special blue envelopes and scanned into Microsoft SharePoint, but never shared with the police, The Atlantic reported.
In 2014, an attorney defending the Watchtower against a lawsuit filed by an alleged victim of child sex abuse said that the organization received 775 blue envelopes between 1997 and 2001.
According to some estimates, the number of alleged Jehovah’s Witness child molesters listed in the secret database could range from 18,000 to 23,000.
A representative of The Watchtower, however, told The Atlantic that number was considerably lower’ than the 23,000 figure.
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