Quantcast
Published On: Sat, Feb 8th, 2014

Ronald Lawrence child molestation case reveals cover-up by Jehovah Witness Church

The top leadership of the Jehovah’s Witness worldwide organization could face criminal charges in a cover-up of alleged child sexual abuse.

Ronald Lawrence

Ronald Lawrence

The District 18 District Attorney’s Office in the State of Oklahoma filed a motion on Jan. 28, 2014 in the case of accused molester Ronald Lawrence that alleges the top leadership of the Jehovah’s Witness Church knew about claims of child rape and molestation and deliberately concealed them.

“The actions of the church, their banishment of Lawrence on one or more occasion and the directives of the governing body toward the victims and their family members regarding these crimes were actions of concealment and further actions preventing the victims from reporting the crimes to law enforcement,” the motion states.

In November 2013, Ronald Lawrence a former church elder was charged in Pittsburg County Oklahoma District Court with 19 felony counts, including 11 of molestation, seven of forcible sodomy, and one of rape by instrumentation against two preteen girls and one 5-year-old boy.

The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is accused of giving directives to congregation elders to conceal the accusations. The Governing Body is made up of eight senior male members of the church, and provides leadership and direction to the roughly 8 million Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide.

“As a group we applaud this action by the District Attorney’s office and hope that justice is served and the victims are finally given the help that they need,” stated Richard Kelly, a former Jehovah’s Witness who is now the managing director of the organization, Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses or AAWA. “The top leadership of this religious group has made a concerted effort to conceal child molestation within the organization. It is heartening to see that they will be held accountable.”

Cases similar to this have been filed in recent years including the notable Candace Conti suit in California which the Jehovah’s Witness organization lost. However, to the AAWA’s knowledge, this is the first time that the top leaders of a religious organization have been named in such a case.

About the Author

Displaying 18 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Yuri says:

    Hello every one.

    I am very sorry to read such terrible news about elders in our organization. I do believe that such things can happen. I do not know about child abuse but I know how some elders behave in our congregations. And this is a shame. Some of them arrogant, think that Jehovah and Jesus belong to them. They don’t care about pain of others at all. They resemble Jews Pharisees in the 1 century. And just like the Jews were destroyed they also will be destroyed by Jehovah and Jesus. Punishment is coming. I try to tell them from Bible about future punishment. They ignoring me. But I am sure they will not ignore future punishment from Jesus, when he comes to inspect all Christians. We from our part must preach about New World that will come. JW today like jews of old before fall of Jerusalem. Some of them good and some of them bad. Those who stopped to preach and teach Bible can continue to do so. And I encourage ex-jw to restart their zeal to God. Preach anyway.

    Yuri Fisher.

    • Yuri says:

      “Those who stopped to preach and teach Bible can continue to do so.”

      What I meant to say is that those who stopped to be JW because of what happen to them they should renew their zeal for Jehovah and start to preach about His Kingdom.

      Jehovah will take care of all that did terrible things to them.

      May God bless you all.

      Yuri

  2. Kendall says:

    Sandra……You ignorance is surpassed only by your lack of honesty.
    Whenever there is established sexual abuse of a child in the Congregation Elders inform the victim (or their guardian) that they have every right to report to the authorities. In States where it is required Elders report it to the authorities. The reason why Elders do not report in States where it is not required is to protect the victim or their family. It might be that the victim was abused by a family member or THEY just do not want it broadcast in the community for who knows what reason. In any case it is up to them to decide, and they are never discouraged from doing so. No, Elders are not counselors or shrinks and they do not claim to be. They follow Bible standards and do the best they can to protect children. In this case, and not knowing the details I suspect the parents were advised they could report the crime and for some reason did not. Years later the victim(s) decided to report or bring charges and so some might think there was a coverup. However, he was removed as an Elder over 30 years ago…..what does that tell you? Not quite like the Catholic Church or others who truly do “cover up” Still, most of these articles about this guy (except this one) are headlined with “Jehovah’s Witness Elder” to sensationalize it. When was the last time you read about a Catholic, Baptist, or any other religions “lay person” and child abuse? If they received the same attention no one would care because it is so common. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not tolerate child abuse or immoral activity of any kind and they work hard to follow Bible standards and the laws of the land because this world is full of people like you who hurl accusations about any and everyone who “might” be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    William Niles…..You are not even worth mentioning except that I wonder where your information comes from on these cases? The papers? My suspicion is You are a former Witness with an axe to grind and for probably the same reasons as Sandra

    • Brian says:

      God does not exist so you will never receive payment for your service to the Governing Body. I’m very sorry to let you know this.

    • sharona says:

      Yes i am an ex jw
      no i don’t have an axe to grind
      i was 12 when i first told the elders about the physical and sexual abuse from my step dad who was a ministerial servant … they didn’t listen and put if down to me just wanting attention … told them again at 15 (by this time i was also suicidal and cutting myself) i was told i was being selfish and i was sinning … when i was 19 my step father went to the elders and told them i wasn’t showing him respect … when i was questioned i told them everything … but again they did nothing until my sister came forward and told her story … i went to the police and got a DVO against my step father … i was scared … when the elders first confronted him about what my sister said he came into my work yelling and threatening me … hence the ordwr … i told the elders about the dvo and they said that it meant nothing within the kingdom hall and they couldn’t uphold it …
      I left that cult not long after all of this …

    • Hannah says:

      Kendall…Your Arrogance is only surpassed by your lack of honesty. My sons were molested by an ‘Elder’. He was removed as an Elder….and is now an Elder once again. His victims, for the 20 years pryor to his molestation of my sons and his rape of their young friend, either died, left, were disfellowshiped or moved away. My sons left, and I was disfellowshiped for warning other Witness parents who had young boys, that this elder was a pedophile. We were all warned NOT to say anything….Don’t aroogantly pronounce that the Elders are concerned for the victims…NO ONE has ever apologized, or asked if my sons were ok…I still consider myself one of Jehovah’s Witnesses…but I will never trust any one of the Elders again.

    • deanxxx says:

      JW reasoning goes like this: We are not as bad as the Catholics so leave us alone? (Not going to happen and it seems you are as bad as some of those rapist priests). You must have an axe to grind if you are being critical of us. (Possibly to some degree yeah in some cases but more importantly, some thing you fail or willfully won’t acknowledge are the very real grievances (1000s of cases) based on serious criminal abuse).

  3. Sandra says:

    As a former JW, I can attest to the fact that JW elders want 2 or more witnesses to a wrong doing. Whether it be molestation, rape etc. Having had family members molested and raped by elders and ministerial servants and been told that I could NOT tell anyone or I would be “in trouble”, was pure bullshit and it did NOT keep my mouth closed. I reported to the state. They did NOT! It infuriates me that Jw’s will deny and lie about these things taking place…mustn’t look bad to the “world.”
    JW elders are not experienced counselor’s, or psychologists etc. They are window washers, and janitors and men with regular jobs. They are not qualified to govern, or direct people who have had such hideous things done to them. They think they are appointed by God? WHY in Hell would a loving creator appoint such disgusting filth to watch over his sheep? Keep hiding the truth JW’s. You are a cult above all else, and there are those of us who are NOT going to keep quiet!

    • T says:

      Clearly, with your dirty mouth and mind…you were NEVER a true Christian of any sort!!! (James 4:4) Your love of God is shown where??????!!! (Pr. 18:12)

      • I laughed so hard when I read “T”‘s stupid comment. First of all, T – Use your real name when you cast others down to hell.

        We all already know you end every written sentence with a bible scripture, as if that gives authenticity to your ignorant words. And that’s okay – we understand it’s hard to break that habit when all you read is the watchtower and awake. It must seem like a prerequisite given the gubbning budy’s habit of self justification via bible verses.

        Just use standard punctuation to end a sentence. It’s okay once in a while, isn’t it?

        Your unbalanced response of anger at being called a cult could indicate a deep sense of doubt of what you’re trying to defend. In fact, it’s almost like you’re trying to convince yourself more than anyone else that Sandra is deserving of divine retribution while you deserve everlasting life.

        Not having second thoughts are you?

      • deanxxx says:

        wow, incredible and so very typical of JWs and their apologists. Instead of hearing her story, perhaps even sympathising you cast stones at her and judge her heart for using the word ‘bullshit’! Gnat/camel or what? You are why JWs and other fundamentalist weirdos are very unpopular not too mention all the abuse that goes on unpunished.

  4. SHAMEFULL “the top leadership of the Jehovah’s Witness Church knew about claims of child rape and molestation and deliberately concealed them.”

  5. Chuck says:

    I find this “coverup” hard to believe. I was an elder
    in Texas in the 1980’s. We were carefully instructed to inform Child Protective Services when a young one made an accusation of molestation. Whether the child or molester was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses did not matter. Our procedure went according to state law. We had special
    instruction back in the 1980’s and in no way did the
    local elders need permission from the Governing Body
    in New York. With tens of thousands of Elders in the US,
    we hardly ever hear of any cases of molestation. When it
    happens it should be dealt with properly by the state as
    well as the local congregation.

    • JW Elder says:

      In states where the law requires reporting the WTS will instruct bodies to report. In states where it is not required – they don’t.

      • Its not a sexual act, it is a CRIME, would you choose to not report a murder? A rapist at work? There is only ONE reason you would not report it, protecting the brand Watchtower is desperately holding on to. I was a bethelite and a pioneer, I left, was never thrown out. I am ashamed to see such nonchalance displayed about such devastating Occurrences.

        play by the letter of the law and act like a robot all you wish, one day you will be brave enough to open your eyes, you will have much regret. Despite this, I truly wish it comes soon, the most painful thing when you admit the obvious issues and doubts, is the time lost that is impossible to gain back, for you and your family.

        Take care, and take care of the victims!

        (Ray Franz was a GB member, he wrote ‘crisis of conscience’ and left the organisation not that long ago due to the actions of the body and their behaviour. Read his book, it may save you some life years.)

    • No, you hardly ever hear of cases of child molestation, because you are told things the Watchtower WANTS you to hear!!! Hard to believe?!? Mr. Bowen with silentlambs.org, called the Watchtower Society requesting guidance and direction on how to handle a suspected child abuse case when he was an JW Elder. What the Watchtower didn’t realize is that he was tape recording the entire conversation. What advice did they give him? As clear as anything, and televised on Dateline, they said to him, “ask him (the suspected child molester) is there anything to this? If he says no, I would turn and walk away. Leave it for Jehovah, he’ll bring it out. But don’t put yourself in a jam.” There was never ANY insistence on calling the police. There’s NO denying it. The proof IS THERE…..PERIOD.
      Molestation is rare in the congregations?!? UNBELIEVABLE. This story is just the TIP of the iceberg. Here WHERE I LIVE in Mississippi, just A FEW MONTHS AGO, the Elders were subpoened by the courts to testify regarding a child molester that the victim reported to the Police and the Elders DID NOT report. The Watchtower fought the courts for 3 years and lost. The Elders REFUSED to cooperate with the judge saying everything they heard was “confidential.” The molestor who confessed to them lied to the courts and said he never admitted to anything, but congregation records proved that to be a LIE and the elders KNEW he had lied! They finally were forced by the judge to comply and in court they testified. In California, the Watchtower lost a A MAJOR lawsuit regarding the Conti case, being ordered to pay more than $20 million in damages. In Las Vegas, NV; 5 LITTLE GIRLS were molested by the same man in one congregation and the elders DID NOT report it. He had admitted to molesting girls all of his life! Erika Garza in California was expelled for reporting her molestor because the Elders said he didn’t do it, so they found her guilty of slander. He confessed in court and is now serving a prison sentence. Bro. Campos recently fled California and went to Mexico to avoid prosecution, and he OPENLY said that he abused children; the Elders KNEW about what he had done and DID NOT report it to Police! The Society’s attorney, JIM McCABE, was contacted and said, ON TELEVISION, that they DID NOT report abuse because, quote, “under biblical law, we can’t do anything with 2 eyewitnesses.” and went on to day their problem was that “bad men and crept into the organization; they snuck into other organizations too.” NO, the problem is mishandling of child abuse! What are the odds of having 2 eyewitnesses to child abuse?!?There’s another case going on right now in New Mexico with a molester in Los Lunas who not only raped a child but later the child found out that same man molester her mother when they lived in Indiana and the elders KNEW what he had done and DID NOT report it to Police. There’s another lawsuit going on right now with a molestation case in Ohio regarding a ministerial servant. The list goes on and on and on. So don’t sit here and say child molestation is rare! There simply is TOO MUCH PROOF to show this to be untrue!
      Whether this story is true or not, one this is for certain: The truth behind all of this WILL come out. If you take a stand against the authorities, the Bible says that you have taken a stand against God himself; period.

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Interviews banner Dispatch Radio Logo 350x90

RECENT MOVIE REVIEWS