Covered-up sexual child abuse in Germany
Secret Database of Child Abuse
In March 1997, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses, sent a letter to each of its 10,883 U.S. congregations, and to many more congregations worldwide. The letter laid out instructions on how to deal with a known predator: Write a detailed report answering 12 questions and mail it to Watchtower’s headquarters in a special blue envelope. Thus did the Jehovah’s Witnesses build what might be the world’s largest database of undocumented child molesters—likely numbering in the tens of thousands—and detailed acts of alleged abuse, all scanned and searchable in a Microsoft SharePoint file.
In 2016, a royal commission in Australia found that Watchtower demonstrated a “serious failure” to protect children, including not reporting more than 1,000 alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse (more than half of whom have confessed to committing the abuse) and at least 1,800 victims in that country since 1950. In 2014, the U.K.’s Charity Commission opened two investigations, one of which is ongoing. Last year, in the Netherlands, then–Justice Minister Sander Dekker urged Watchtower to conduct an independent investigation into hundreds of abuse allegations received via a special hotline. Watchtower declined.
(The Atlantic, Mar 22, 2019)