Australian inquiry: Jehovah's Witnesses hid child sex abuse

Publish Date
Tuesday, 28 July 2015, 11:41AM
Australian inquiry: Jehovah's Witnesses hid child sex abuse

Elders from Jehovah's Witness congregations in Queensland and Western Australia will be asked today what they did when young women alleged they were sexually abused by respected church members.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is entering the second day of a two-week hearing into the church which shuns secular society and encourages its members to live according to rules based on a first-century interpretation of the Bible.

Yesterday the commission was told there were 1006 allegations of child sex abuse by Jehovah's Witnesses since 1950 and not one of them was reported to police by the church authorities.

A church elder told the commission Jehovah's Witnesses destroyed notes about child sexual abuse to stop them falling into the wrong hands and to "protect their wives".

Max Horley was an elder for the Jehovah's Witness congregation in Narrogin, Western Australia, in the late 1980s when a woman, known as BCB, was interviewed about her relationship with another church elder, Bill Neill.

On Monday, BCB, 47, told how Neill, who is dead, groomed her from the age of 15. She said he would molest her and spy on her when she was in the shower.

Angus Stewart, SC counsel for the commission says the hearing will consider if the church practice of not reporting serious allegations to secular authorities leaves its members open to being charged for concealing crimes.

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