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Switch to Forum Live View The Two-Witness Rule For Child Molestation Cases
2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 12:35AM #1
Hmmm
Posts: 5,020

Sorry about starting this thread so late in the game, however, recently in post 33 in another thread:

community.beliefnet.com/go/thread/view/4...

Newtonian said:

Oct 29, 2015 -- 9:27AM, Newtonian wrote:


Hmmmm - If you wish to discuss child abuse cases, there are other threads where the research was already done and discussed. . .



Well, I obviously do not have the time to look at those other threads, however, for the time we have left at this forum, I did want to focus on the aspect of the Watchtower Society's two-witness rule for child molestation cases.


Now in post 34 of the other thread that I mentioned, FPD said:


Oct 29, 2015 -- 10:01AM, five_point_dad wrote:


What has exacerbated the entire situation is the Watchtower's rule that two witnesses are needed to bring forth an accusation.  Your hermeneutics are so ridiculous as to misinterpret what the Bible teaches.  Also, child molestation rarely has one adult witness and almost never two.



Therefore, what is going on here?????!!!!


Also, I tried researching this with the Watchtower's research guide that Newtonian provided in another thread:


community.beliefnet.com/go/thread/view/4...


but I got no results.


Therefore, I researched this on the internet and found this:


The Two-Witness Rule


At the heart of the Society’s problematic policy is the belief that there must be at least two eye-witnesses to prove an accusation. This is based on a number of scriptures (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:15-17; John 8:17; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19). The rule has always been an integral part of the Society’s child abuse policy.


The two-witness rule has been widely criticized. For example, David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims, made the following statement in a press release:


“I can’t recall ever seeing a policy anywhere that is more predator-friendly and self-serving than the Watchtower’s “two witnesses” rule. On its face, it is dangerous and callous. If any crime is likely to have no witnesses, it is child sexual abuse. If the law enforcement community adopted this rule only a handful of child predators would be charged, convicted and imprisoned every year. Outside of the Jehovah’s Witness hierarchy, virtually every other adult believes that we should all call police if we see or suspect child sex crimes. (Not everyone does this, of course. But nearly everyone believes this is the right course of action.) But the JW hierarchy is wrong on both fronts – policy and performance, belief and behaviour…The “two witnesses” rule is a stunningly heartless and reckless policy that is guaranteed to cause more heinous crimes against children.”


jwsrefined.com/2014/07/27/jehovahs-witne...



Also, I found this:


                                     Two Witness Rule


Of most damage is the "Two Witness" Rule. Until the late 1990s, egregious Watchtower policy dictated that two witnesses must be present at the same sexual encounter, for the perpetrator to be considered to have committed a Scriptural offence. In the case of child molestation, there are almost never two witnesses. This meant that even when several children made an accusation against the same brother, the elders were to do nothing. Without two witnesses, the only time action could be taken was when the accused confessed. Elders were aware of serial child abusers, yet no action was taken either within the congregation, or by contacting the police. It is incomprehensible that the Governing Body could sanction such a policy.


www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/paedophilia.p...



Therefore, since I myself have found 'two witnesses' to confirm this Watchtower policy, would Newtonian or any other JW like to confirm or deny this as being official Watchtower policy?


Also, I invite others to comment with their views on this topic.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 12:52AM #2
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082

Well, still up - but faltering/tired.  And I don't know the answer to your question.


I do know I was seriously disciplined when only one witness besides myself was present - on more than one occassion.   Not for child abuse, of course.   But then I was always truthful while once the multiple witnesses were false witnesses, and on another occassion the accuser was mistaken and imputed wrong motives as well as not presenting the facts accurately - in the former case, the false witnesses were believed - in the latter case I was believed (and I was truthful in both cases of course).


Try the video on protecting our children:'


tv.jw.org/#en/video/VODStudio/pub-jwban_...

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 1:04AM #3
Hmmm
Posts: 5,020

Oct 30, 2015 -- 12:52AM, Newtonian wrote:


Try the video on protecting our children:'


tv.jw.org/#en/video/VODStudio/pub-jwban_...



I recently watched that from the "Money" thread and it is irrelevant to this topic.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 1:11AM #4
Kemmer
Posts: 18,459

Oct 30, 2015 -- 12:52AM, Newtonian wrote:


Well, still up - but faltering/tired.  And I don't know the answer to your question.


I do know I was seriously disciplined when only one witness besides myself was present - on more than one occassion.   Not for child abuse, of course.



I guess you were lucky, way back when, when you had the hots for an 11-year old girl.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 5:47AM #5
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082

Oct 30, 2015 -- 1:04AM, Hmmm wrote:


Oct 30, 2015 -- 12:52AM, Newtonian wrote:


Try the video on protecting our children:'


tv.jw.org/#en/video/VODStudio/pub-jwban_...



I recently watched that from the "Money" thread and it is irrelevant to this topic.




While it is true the video does not say anything about this 'rule' - the video is about preventing child abuse and referred you to a number of PSA's in the past (e.g. 1990's) - some of which I posted on the other thread on child abuse.  PSA = public service announcement.   It played one from 2002 which aired on a number of TV networks in the USA.


The video is also about prevention/protection - as the old saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 6:19AM #6
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082

This is relevant - though it is about 2 or 3 witnesses for adultery for grounds for divorce:


wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200001202?q...


Excerpt:


 In cases that might result in stoning an individual to death, two witnesses were required in order to establish the person’s guilt. (De 17:6, 7) Obviously, Joseph had no witnesses against Mary. Mary was pregnant, but Joseph did not understand the matter thoroughly until Jehovah’s angel gave him the explanation. (Mt 1:20, 21) Whether the ‘secret divorce’ he contemplated would have included the giving of a certificate of divorce or not is not stated; but it is likely that Joseph was going to act in accord with the principles set out at Deuteronomy 24:1-4, possibly giving her the divorce in front of just two witnesses so the matter would be settled legally without bringing undue shame on her. While Matthew does not give every detail regarding the procedure Joseph intended to follow, he does indicate that Joseph wanted to deal mercifully with Mary. Joseph is not considered an unrighteous man for this, but rather, it was “because he was righteous and did not want to make her a public spectacle” that he “intended to divorce her secretly.”Mt 1:19.


__________________


Also concerning witnesses of adultery, or lack thereof, there is this 10/1/77 (pp. 607-608) Watchtower (pp Question from readers (excerpt) -


What is the situation today in the Christian congregation? Is it possible to obtain substantial testimony as to the grounds for a Scriptural divorce?
Jesus himself stated that for his followers the only ground for divorce, such as would free a person for remarriage, is if one’s mate commits porneia, gross sexual immorality. (Matt. 19:9) Would there be sufficient ground for divorce if a Christian wife merely suspected that her husband was guilty of adultery? No, for the Christian Greek Scriptures carry forward the principle of a matter’s being established by two or three witnesses, as a balanced sense of justice requires. (John 8:17, 18; 1 Tim. 5:19; Heb. 10:28) So, if a wife merely suspected her husband of adultery, but he denied it and there were no witnesses to confirm it, she would not have sufficient basis for establishing with the Christian congregation that she had a right to divorce him and thus be free to remarry.
In some cases, though, an unbelieving mate admits to being immoral. A husband, for instance, might even boast of it to his wife as a taunt to hurt her. She might choose to overlook his waywardness. But what if she feels she cannot or should not? Is his confession enough proof?
In this situation it is not as if he professes innocence or adamantly denies being guilty of adultery. Rather, he admits it to her, though for the sake of his reputation he might not be willing to own up to it in a court of law or before other persons. What can the wife do?
Since she is part of the clean Christian congregation, she should realize the importance of handling the matter properly so that, after divorcing him, if she later remarried there would be no question about her keeping ‘the marriage bed without defilement.’ (Heb. 13:4) To that end she could give the elders representing the congregation a letter outlining her situation, stating that her unbelieving husband confessed to her that he had committed immorality. And she could state that in accord with Matthew 19:9 she wishes to put him away, obtaining a legal divorce and thus ending the marriage Scripturally and legally.
The elders would consider whether there is any known reason to conclude other than that the unbelieving mate had been immoral. If not, they could accept her signed statement.
‘But,’ someone might say, ‘is it not possible to submit a deceptive, untruthful statement, saying that her husband confessed immorality when he actually never said that?’ Actually, it would be gross deception for anyone to try that. David once prayed: “You have examined my heart, you have made inspection by night, you have refined me; you will discover that I have not schemed.” (Ps. 17:3) Conversely, Jehovah is well aware when someone does scheme and He will make sure that the person does not lastingly succeed. Hence, if a Christian woman goes on record as stating that her husband has admitted immorality, Jehovah knows the facts. As the Bible says: “There is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting.”—Heb. 4:13; Prov. 5:21; Jer. 16:17.
So if there is no reason to doubt the wife’s statement, the congregation elders can leave the matter between her and Jehovah. In that case she would have to bear before God the responsibility as to the actuality of her husband’s immoral course, which would be the Scriptural basis for ending the marriage even if the legal divorce were obtained on some other ground.


_______________


Complicated - and obviously an elder who was familiar with proceedure would be better equiped to answer the question.


Clearly the same principles apply to suspicion of any sin - including child abuse.


The problem with proceeding without sufficient evidence is serious.


The governmental judicial system is better equiped for punishment - but our judicial system has the added benefit of prayer - since Jehovah knows if someone is actually  guilty and also what the sinner is actually guilty of.


If the elders are faithful and pray for Jehovah's direction - which would be normal - then the proper actions will be taken.


Also Jehovah can bring to light what no humans - including the governmental judicial system - can.   As in the case of the special water an accused adulterous mate could drink under Mosaic law whereby Jehovah directly administered punishment.


Of course, Jehovah could maneuver matters so the case is handled by the government, since Romans 13 shows the government is God's minister to punish the guilty.


(Romans 13:1-4) . . .Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. 2 Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves. 3 For those rulers are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you want to be free of fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; 4 for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear, for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword. It is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath against the one practicing what is bad.


And thus the above video from JW broadcasting is relevant, since it is specifically stated that no one should be discouraged from reporting child abuse to the police.

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 8:56AM #7
AnnOMaly
Posts: 3,460

Other related thread for reference:


community.beliefnet.com/go/thread/view/4...


(Much of the argumentation and issues raised here has already been discussed.)

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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 9:09AM #8
AnnOMaly
Posts: 3,460

It was deftly brought out by Angus Stewart during the Australian Royal Commission hearing that, in the case of a sex crime (rape in an isolated place like a field), the Mosaic law only needed ONE witness to condemn the criminal. See Deut. 22:25-27. The 'worldly' lawyer had a better handle on scriptural legal precedent than the JW counsel and elders (including the GB).



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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 1:54PM #9
Hmmm
Posts: 5,020

Oct 30, 2015 -- 5:47AM, Newtonian wrote:


The video is also about prevention/protection - as the old saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!



And as the new saying goes: a reasonable policy is worth staying out of a room that has juror(s).

The truth, the whole truth...and nothing but the truth?
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2 years ago  ::  Oct 30, 2015 - 1:59PM #10
Hmmm
Posts: 5,020

Oct 30, 2015 -- 6:19AM, Newtonian wrote:


This is relevant - though it is about 2 or 3 witnesses for adultery for grounds for divorce:



No it's not.


Oct 30, 2015 -- 6:19AM, Newtonian wrote:


And thus the above video from JW broadcasting is relevant, since it is specifically stated that no one should be discouraged from reporting child abuse to the police.



Once again...no it's not.

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