The Marcion Trap
Evolutionary Psychology and the Whitepebble Institute

Pedophiles and Smear Campaigns

On the one hand, I can certainly see it. The boy was molested, repeatedly, by the same individual, over a long period of time. Shouldn't someone be held accountable? Of course.

On the other hand, it was an organization that was held accountable, and that organization has one of the strongest child-protective policies of anyone, and they've had it for a long long time. Ironically, that long track record, which you would think would play in their favor, was used against them. If they've had it for a long long time, and yet pedophiles still slip in on occasion, (just like banks still get robbed) they should have strengthened it! They were negligent! Sometimes you try to be proactive, and all you do is make yourself a bigger target to those who don't like you. Whereas, if you hide your head in the sand, and wail, Sergeant Shultz-like, “I know nothiinng,” you come out better.

At any rate, early in 2010,  a Portland, Oregon jury deemed the Boy Scouts of America responsible for the above gross sexual abuse of a child, and assessed a judgment of $18.2 million in damages. That's said to be the largest such verdict in American history on behalf of a single plaintiff.

Eighteen million is a lot of dough. What's one person ever going to do with it? But it plays into that uniquely Western notion that tons of money is the way to compensate for anything. Sometimes I think much anti-West sentiment is stirred up through that mindset, especially among nations where family ties are still strong. Some foreign national is killed through Western action. “Gee, that's a shame,” is the response, “oh well, here's some money.” (though, not $18 million) Who can forget the French peasant in Tale of Two Cities who wasn't satisfied with silver coins tossed from the coach of the aristocrat which had run down his child?

Of course, I suppose you can argue that, if money truly is the god of society, then anything short of a huge monetary penalty will have no effect. You can't shame or guilt anyone, so the theory goes, since we've ridden ourselves of those concepts. Thus a representative of the plaintiff's legal team stated afterward his belief that the Boy Scouts have undertaken a truly noble and important task in mentoring young boys, for which they are to be commended, and its his sincere hope that the $18 million judgment will impress upon them the need to do it better. Now, that is an American sentiment if ever there was one. I guess I'd be more persuaded if that team plowed their one-third of the take back into charitable causes, perhaps even the Boy Scouts themselves, with the stipulation that it be used for anti-pedophile purposes. And perhaps they did. Do you think so?

Now, I'm no Boy Scout. I'm Tom Sheepandgoats. And whereas, in my second paragraph, I alluded to the fact that some may not like a given organization, does anyone really not like the Boy Scouts? Oh...maybe in these days of contempt for authority, here and there some will look askance at their practice of stuffing kids into uniforms and directing them to earn badges, as if preparing them for later military careers. In the main, though, Boy Scouts are highly regarded. They teach responsibility. They take you out camping. They teach you how to tie knots.

However, I belong to an organization that many loathe, Jehovah's Witnesses. They don't teach you how to tie knots. They wake you up when you're sleeping in late. But, like the Boy Scouts, they also report having a child-protective policy that outclasses that of anyone else. So enemies of Jehovah's Witnesses reacted with glee when, long after the Catholic priest pedophile scandal broke, Jehovah's Witnesses, too, were accused of harboring pedophiles. I admit, I was stung. Nothing in my long association with the faith lent any credence to such accusations. But they have persisted down to this day.

 

They are, however, bogus.

Not that child molestation has never occurred among our people. Of course it has. We are people. And in an organization of several million people, you're going to find many examples of anything. What is bogus is the attempt to draw a parallel between us and the never-ending reports of churches, schools, even Boy Scouts, in which young boys are victimized by leaders.

This is not hard to discern, if one has the motivation to look beyond the hysteria. Take this excerpt from a 2002 New York Times report, for example. On the surface, it looks pretty damning:

“But the shape of the [JW] scandal is far different than in the Catholic church, where most of the people accused of abuse are priests and a vast majority of the victims were boys and young men. In the Jehovah's Witnesses, where congregations are often collections of extended families and church elders are chosen from among the laypeople, some of those accused are elders, but most are congregation members. The victims who have stepped forward are mostly girls and young women, and many accusations involve incest.”

“Some of those accused are elders.” How many? Eleven, in the course of 100 years* All others are “laypeople,” though doubtless some are Ministerial Servants, roughly the equivalent of deacon.

To the extent it's true, you can't be proud of it, can you? Yet what is really being said? If you expand the base by...say, 30 or 40 fold to include, not just clergy, but also laity, and if you broaden the definition of child abuse to include, not just young boys, but also “girls and young women,” then and only then do you find numbers and percentages among Jehovah's Witnesses comparable to the leaders of these other groups! Put another way, if you want to catch pedophiles in most groups, you need search no further than the leaders. But if you hope for the same catch among Jehovah's Witnesses, you need to broaden your search to include everybody!

I could be wrong, (fat chance!) but try tracking child abuse among the laity of the Catholics or Evangelicals, as is done with Jehovah's Witnesses. Computers would fry trying to list all the names, I suspect. It's a little hard to say for sure because nobody, to my knowledge, has ever done it. Only Jehovah's Witnesses are so scrutinized. Why JWs and only JWs?

Sheesh, Sheepandgoats! You make it sound as if you don't care about cases of abuse among your own people! Not so! Every such instance is shameful, make no mistake. But it's also shameful that those who despise JWs would hold them to a standard 30-fold higher than that of anyone else, yet act as though they are comparing apples to apples. So, have at it! Someone show some initiative and keep track of any other group. Let me know how it turns out with the Catholics, the Evangelicals, the Politicians, the Atheists, the Environmentalists, yes...even the Boy Scouts, or anyone else. I'm pretty confident. After all, if the leaders of JWs are the cleanest of anyone [eleven bad ones in 100 years] due to the application of Bible principles, surely the same will be true among the rank and file.

Some, to their credit, have been able to see though the deliberate smear campaign. For instance, here is a site from someone who compares instances of gross sexual abuse among the various religions. The author states:

“Quakers, Reformed Jews, and (surprise surprise) Jehovah’s Witnesses have so far shown a pretty low incidence of abuses.”

And why is it “surprise surprise?” Because, quite obviously, someone has deliberately, and with some success, endeavored to distort the facts.** I won't go so far as to call them “Silent Phonies,” for I've no doubt there are genuine victims of child abuse among them. I won't even say that the following case is typical. But doesn't it appear that those who coached the victim here are more interested in discrediting the Watchtower than they are in helping victims of abuse?

"In Canada, Ms B brought a civil lawsuit against the elders of her former congregation and the WTBTS asking for $700,000 dollars concerning her child abuse at the hands of her father who was one of Jehovah's Witnesses claiming they were negligent, breached their duty, advised her against contacting the authorities, and against seeking professional help. What did the court find?"

"Presiding Judge Anne Molloy ruled that the WTS and elders were not at fault and did not contribute to or promote in any way the child abuse that took place. The court said, "There is no foundation on the facts to support an award for punitive damages. Most of the allegations against the defendants have not been established on the facts. The defendants who interacted with the plaintiff did not bear ill will toward her. They accepted the veracity of her account, were sympathetic to her situation and meant her no harm. The claim for punitive damages is dismissed."

Apparantly irked that the case was mostly frivolous, Judge Molloy ordered the plaintiff to pay all legal costs of the defendent. Had the Watchtower insisted on this aspect of the verdict, the plaintiff would have been bankrupted. However, they did not.

But what really gave me the warm and fuzzies was this response from a blogger who (it will be apparent from his R-rated language) absolutely loathes Jehovah's Witnesses. His words, particularly in the comment section, could hardly have been phrased more abusively. He slams us with every stock internet slam there is, just about. So I called him on one.

Now, you have to be careful doing this. You don't challenge him on everything, and you don't challenge him on something over which you'll get creamed.....in short, something that is as much a matter of viewpoint as fact. Frankly, I did get creamed on the first point I raised (about blood transfusion), but not the second. And a poor colleague of mine was pretty much crucified for trying to explain other aspects of our beliefs. But when I challenged him on his sexual abuse accusations, he responded:

“You know, I've got a nice glass of wine, Muddy Waters is singing about "Champagne and Reefer" and I'm feeling generous. I'll back down from that one. (Plus, I did a little more research...) You do have an acceptable track record on the subject......"

I wouldn't really call it “acceptable.” But I know what he means. Compared to most, JW occurrence is very low. It won't be “acceptable” until it's gone, and given the nature of imperfect humans, that doesn't seem very likely. (I hope this fellow doesn't consequently take down his page. HA! I've got it saved in case that should happen.)

It's a relatively small concession, to be sure, since I otherwise can't set foot on that site without being spit upon. I had to endure a lot of abuse to gain it, I assure you. But gain it, I did.

.........................................


*In 2007, JWs settled a number of abuse cases, which made a huge on-line splash among opposers. This statement was released to the media at that time:

"For the sake of the victims in these cases, we are pleased that a settlement has been reached. Our hearts go out to all those who suffer as a result of child abuse. Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide are united in their abhorrence of this sin and crime.

We do not condone or protect child molesters. Our elders expel unrepentant sinners who commit this crime. In the US over 80,000 elders currently serve in over 12,300 congregations. During the last 100 years, only eleven elders have been sued for child abuse in thirteen lawsuits filed in the US. In seven of these lawsuits against the elders, accusations against the Watchtower Society itself were dismissed by the courts. Of course one victim is one victim too many. However the incidence of this crime among Jehovah's Witnesses is rare. Congregation elders comply with child abuse reporting laws. We do not silence victims. Our members have an absolute right to report this horrible crime to the authorities."

 ........................................

**The aforementioned site offers a shrewd analysis for the varying levels of gross sexual abuse observed in various religions: “But the incidence of child abuse is not traceable to religion as the main cause, but rather permissiveness towards clergy misconduct, lack of accountability, and absence of tracking known abusers. Denominations that have a documented infrastructure, an internal investigation process, and an appeals process have far fewer incidents of abuse than those that do not. Religions that simply put up higher hurdles for men to get ordained have a lower incidence of abuse. After all, why would a child molester spend 8 years learning ancient Hebrew when he can attend Hyles-Anderson for one year, drop out once he picks up the lingo, and then declare himself a Christian Fundamentalist preacher?”


 

 

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Comments

Vince

My problem is twofold:

1- JWs have a two witness rule. (Okay, how many cases of CHILD molestation will have two witnesses?)


2- Confessed/convicted child molesters are allowed to go door to door; to the public's actual houses, in the ministry work.

Even if with another JW. They will still be putting the public at risk because of this flawed policy. They can SEE tempting circumstances and can find out when parents are not home.

Confessed or convicted child molesters should NOT be allowed to go door to door.

They can do letter writing and informal witnessing.

These policies (among a few others) are why many consider the JW child molestation policy as a BAD policy.

Vince

TJ

I give you credit Tom for sticking that one out. :) A small concession from a . . . 'big' personality. Perhaps upon reflection this will lead him to a little more humble approach to things in the future. On a completely unrelated note, you know why cynics were first called cynics right? Just sayin'.

tom sheepandgoats

Vince:

What.....you think someone's going door to door looking for child victims? It seems an extraordinarily tough way to go about it. Why not just hang out at the playground, the park, the beach, coach little league, drive a school bus, or do anything where children are readily found? Or teach Sunday School at a church, for that matter? The door to door work, in contrast, is difficult even when done with proper motives. It hardly seems a vehicle that a determined molester would use.

Look, I suppose nothing is impossible, but the NYT article spoke of some occurrences among extended families, step families, even cases of incest, in which the victim is well known to the pedophile, which is the typical m.o. for “nonviolent” offenders. It said nothing about door-to-door, looking for strangers. Today's world cranks out molesters in staggering numbers, and they're going to keep turning up in all walks of life. But I think the door to door ministry is the last place you'll ever see one.

As to any “two-witness” rule, that would affect only a congregational investigation, not any police investigation of serious instances. Most churches do nothing at all to investigate such matters among parishioners.

More on the subject here:
http://tinyurl.com/5cdny4


TJ: I don't quite remember where cynic comes from. It seems I should. But I don't.

Screech

I found an estimate on wikipedia.com that states pedophilia occurs in "less than 5%" of the population. This is an estimate, and there are no hard statistics to confirm this. However, it stands to reason that all other things being equal, 5% of 80,000 elders would be 4,000 instances. A mere 1% would be 800 instances. That would be in a single year. Therefore, if only 11 were found over the last 100 years, and let's also assume that we are missing the amount by ten-fold, we still arrive at a much smaller number than the 5% estimate. This alone should cause one to pause before making grandoise claims.

tom sheepandgoats

You always were good with the stats. Thanks, Screech.

TJ

From the 7/15/00 Watchtower:

"Becoming extremely antisocial, they displayed great contempt for fellow humans. They became known as Cynics. The name Cynic may have been derived from a Greek word (ky·ni·kos′) that described their morose and surly behavior. It means 'doglike.' . . . The Oxford English Dictionary describes a present-day cynic as 'a person disposed to rail or find fault. . . . One who shows a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions, and is wont to express this by sneers and sarcasms; a sneering fault-finder.'"

Obviously, the tradition continues. What I always recognize on issues like this that are used for demagoguery, the ones criticizing don't offer a practical, working *alternative* to the policy we've devised; one that is fair to all parties and maintains Bible principles. Even in ancient Israel the practical application of the law wasn't perfect. Human judges cannot read one's heart and cannot always know the entire truth of the matter. As followers of Jehovah, we can only do our very best to render justice now, with full faith that Jehovah will do so perfectly in his own time.

tom sheepandgoats

Yep. I'd forgotten all that. Thanks.

" It means 'doglike.'" My daughter and son-in-law have a boxador (Boxer/Labrador) It's a nice dog, but now I'll never look at it in the same way again.

Betrayed Parents

We are parents who were betrayed by the same private “Christian” school that betrayed John Kasich. John Kasich has clearly shown that he does not have the leadership abilities, courage, common sense, or good judgment necessary to be Governor of Ohio; nor does John have good judgment in regard to the education, safety, and upbringing of children, and for protecting consumers. See www.NotKasich.com and www.ABCsOfBetrayal.com for details.

As reported in the Columbus Dispatch newspaper series THE ABCs OF BETRAYAL, the administrators at Worthington Christian Schools (WCS) and Grace Brethren Church (GBC) were secretly recorded during one of their cover-up meetings in which the following statement was made about one of the school’s child molesting Teachers/Coaches (and Youth Directors for elementary-aged children):

"We understand that if something happens between Dwayne and a student, we will be big-time liable,"
executive pastor Jim Augspurger said on the recording.
"That's a risk we take. I think before God we did the right thing and it may not be the worldly, may not even be the most prudent thing, but it is something we have done,"
he said.
"We've wiped the slate clean. I understand the situation it puts us in."

Several months after the administrators got caught committing those serious crimes: a 10-year Conspiracy of Criminal Negligence, Deception, Fraud, and Cover-Ups against we parents (including John and Karen Kasich), a participant in those crimes publicly stated the following (as also recorded):

"I was a Lead Pastor here for eight years and a Director Of Junior High Youth Ministries in the past. This is a Watergate. The church covered it up. I was in the meetings. I've known all these years that it was a student. And I was told to get back to wiping noses and not to let it out."

We parents learned that the school and church administrators had been deliberately putting the students in danger with several known repeat child molesters for many years while the administrators, their attorney, and some teachers, staff, and parents conspired to cover up their crimes against us.

John Kasich remains silent and refuses to do anything about those serious crimes. John actually continues to send his very own daughters to that private school where those administrators remain in power, remain as a serious threat to unsuspecting consumers, and remain as horrible examples to all students (including John’s daughters Emma and Reese) on how to treat your business customers and your fellow man.

This clearly demonstrates that John Kasich does not have the integrity, leadership ability, courage, or the common sense needed to be a suitable Governor for Ohio; nor does John have good judgment in regard to the education, safety, and upbringing of children, and for protecting consumers.
Please refer to the irrefutable and overwhelming evidence at www.ABCsOfBetrayal.com and at www.NotKasich.com.

tom sheepandgoats

I'm not familiar with any of the parties named in the comment, nor the school, nor Ohio. But, to the extent it is as reported, it would appear to be an example of the last paragraph of my post.

Rosie

Don't get me started on this one - the internet's ability to paint black as white and white as blood red, even if the hard facts scream otherwise is breathtaking.

If JW policy is a disaster IT WOULD SHOW as the current troubles of the Catholic church illustrate. Why people are not holding Jehovah's Witnesses up as a shining example of how to protect children and keep their organisation as clean as humanly possible is beyond me.

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