According to the group InvisibleChildren.org, 1 out of 5 children in the United States will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. It follows that you should be able to look anywhere and find a bumper crop of abuse cases. Most likely, child sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witness community is significantly less prevalent than in the greater world. The reason abuse is linked with Jehovah’s Witnesses is that the latter make a point of investigating wrongdoing in their ranks for the purpose of applying discipline and safeguarding congregation members from such ones. There are cumulatively a lot of child sexual abuse cases, but there are many more anywhere else. However, they are never linked with religion (how often do you hear religious affiliation when an abuser is nabbed by the authorities?) because no one else is proactive enough to look into such things in their own ranks.
Witnesses worldwide attend annual Regional Conventions, for (usually) three days of instruction based upon Bible teachings. During 2017 a section dealing with child sexual abuse was a part of the program. Especially emphasized was the fact that a perpetrator is likely to be someone a child knows and trusts. If a relative, or friend, or anyone else, seems overly attentive to your child, it is a reason to be watchful, said the program speaker. If there are tickling sessions, if there are sleepovers, if there are trips alone to the public restroom, if—there were several other scenarios. They are all potential red flags: maybe harmless, but maybe not, and the parent must be aware.
Nobody, but nobody, assembles their entire membership as Jehovah’s Witnesses did and reviews detailed scenarios under which abuse might happen so that parents, the first line of defense, can educate their children and themselves. Thus the Witness organization is quite proactive at combatting what has turned out to be a worldwide pandemic.
It is not accurate to say that Jehovah’s Witnesses are forbidden to contact outside authorities in the event of child sexual abuse; plain statements appear on both their printed and digital literature that they are free to do so. I would not challenge, however, that many, especially in the past, have been loath to do so, as it is the very opposite of what they aspire to be and of what they advertise.
I am a practicing Jehovah’s Witness in the United States and have written a 160K word ebook, available without cost, addressing the topic in a chapter of 9000-some words. I suggest it as background reading for increased context and accuracy. The overall theme of the book is that of the religious organization being banned in Russia as extremist.
The ebook is entitled Dear Mr. Putin – Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia, and can be downloaded for free in PDF and EPUB version at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/815620
Chapter 12 is entitled Pedophiles.