Jehovah`s Witness/Royal Commission

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Question
Sir,

I came across your site when I was looking up information on the Royal Commission into child abuse that is happening in Australia. I found your information on the number of non Jehovah Witness people that were accused of molesting children interesting and at odds with the media.   There is  some follow up information by someone who says that you have mislead us and that you did not give all the relevant details.  He says the information you quoted in regard to how many of 1006 perpetrators were not Jehovahs Witnesses is untrue.   He clams that the Watchtower manipulated the figures for their own purposes and the two figures you quoted of 199 and 470 non Jehovahs Witnesses  were actually Jehovahs Witnesses. Are you able to prove the figures you gave?  

Concerned for truth

Answer
Hello Concerned

I can understand why after reading what I posted at  http://en.allexperts.com/q/Jehovah-s-Witness-1617/2015/8/royal-commission.htm  and the follow up that occurred in relation to that answer by the person calling themselves “Listener” as to  why you would be concerned as to the validity of the information I first presented.  

I will provide more “relevant details”, and you can make up your own mind.

I would like to set some things straight here as to what was posted in the follow up to my original answer by a person calling themself "Listener". Now “Listener” claims that the figure of  470 non JW attacks is a mistake.  “Listener” says ...” Fortunately we have this public document available to us that we can check.”...   So I will do that by looking at and quoting from some of those documents.
   
“Listener” also makes this statement ...“ the Watchtower gave their full list of 1,006 alleged perpetrators to a legal firm to analyse - for their own benefit....... but here they're willing to give a legal firm all the details, voluntarily. No one was making them do this or requested it, it's simply something the Watchtower wanted to do to make themselves look better. ” ….  From that, it would seem that “Listener”  is suggestion that the WTS did manipulate the information. He also claims no “one was making them do this or requested it”...  The “it” he  refers to I have assumed is the break down of the information the WTS got a legal firm to do. Those conclusion that “Listener” has come too, I say are incorrect.     First, I think we need to establish a time line here.  This is a brief outline of the time of events.

[1] February 2015 -   summonses were issued by the council assisting the Australian Royal Commission (ARC) to the WTS (Australia)  for information they had on any such cases and how the WTS responds to them.  

From information gained in the various public documents, I have concluded that the names of alleged perpetrators were included in the data.  I reached that conclusion because in some of the tables that can be found in the public documents the names of perpetrators have been redacted (that is blacked out).

[2]  July 16 2015 – After examining the data provided to them, the ARC sends a letter to the WTS external lawyers with a request for the WTS to make a comment on 29 points that they broke the data down into.  They gave the WTS just four days to respond
.   

[3]  July 20 2015 –   A response is sent from the WTS external lawyers to the ARC in regard to the 29 points that were raised by the ARC.  Due to the limited time that they had, the WTS makes comments only on the first 6 findings raised by the ARC analysis of the data.  The main area of concern was point 6 which the WTS spends the bulk of its time on replying to. [The response to point 6 is where the figures I show came from]

(In my first response I had indicated that it was the external law firm for the WTS that had done the break down that led to the figures I quoted. It seems that the figures I gave were done by the WTS and passed on via the lawyers)


[4]  July 29 2015 – The ARC reply to that letter and advice that they are making changes to their original data to reflect the majority of what the WTS has said.  NOTE:  That letter was sent two days after the Royal Commission investigation into the WTS started on July 27 2015

Ok Now here is some more detail

The information handed over to the ARC was due to summonses that had been issued by council assisting  the ARC requesting information.  In the opening Submissions at the ARC by the council assisting the ARC paragraph 7 we find these words

QUOTE
“During the investigation of this case study, Watchtower Australia produced some 5,000 documents pursuant to summonses issued by the Royal Commission on 4 and 28 February 2015. Those documents include 1,006 case files relating to allegations of child sexual abuse made against members of the Jehovah’s Witness Church in Australia since1950 – each file for a different alleged perpetrator of child sexual abuse.”
End Quote  (Italics original)

The WTS seems to give more information to the ARC than what the terms of reference of the commission were.  This is reflected in the data that the ARC produced. From the files that were provided to the ARC, the ARC produced a 15 page electronic spread sheet of their analyses of the data.    On July 16 2015 a copy of their findings along with that spread sheet was sent to the WTS external lawyers with the following request  ….  “We ask that your client consider the enclosed Analysis Summary and advise us of any respect in which the Analysis Summary is inaccurate or incomplete by 5pm on Monday 20 July 2015.” ...

A letter with various tables attacked was sent to the ARC on the due date of July 20 2015  “Listner”  makes reference to this document   as “Analysis Summary – Comments and Verification Document ID: WAT.0018.001.0001_R". On page 2 of this document there is this important point … ”The second, and more significant issue, is that my client is concerned that part of the Analysis steps outside the Terms of Reference which, of course, is into "institutional responses to child sexual abuse"...

It is important to note that the terms of reference of the ARC was the "institutional responses to child sexual abuse".  Meaning that, the ARCs terms of reference was to look at those in positions of responsibility of an institution – those that have a responsibility to the group, especially children.   So in the case of a religious institution, the ARC was to look at alleged abuses by those considered to be “clergy” (or in a position of looking after other peoples children as in a “church” school or camp) and not the congregants as a whole. The data that the ARC  produced went beyond their terms of reference. The WTS response seems to reflect the position of adjusting the data to those that are considered to be “clergy” that is, elders and ministerial servants.

On  page  6,  of that document, in  Table number  4,  we find the information  that I presented in my earlier answer to Richard.    (I have put in all caps an important aspect of that table)  The table has three columns, which I can not produce here except by putting a column of ! To represent the boundaries. The middle column had remarks fro two of the times.


Not family, non Witness     !  -----------------------------------      !  
Unbaptised or Status        !  -----------------------------------      !
Unclear at the time of      !   NO DISCERNIBLE LINK TO ORGANISATION     !   199  
alleged abuse          !   -----------------------------------     !

Family, NON WITNESS     !        NON  INSTITUTIONAL       !    470  

Elders;       !         -----------------------------------    !    18

Ministerial Servants;  !  -----------------------------------         !  32

Parishioners; where victims !   -----------------------------------    !
were family and or non family !   -----------------------------------   !  287  

In the first item, notice the second column,  “NO DISCERNIBLE LINK TO ORGANISATION”.  That is clear is it not? . Also for the second item the 470 -   “NON  INSTITUTIONAL”   –  means they were NOT JWs - were not part of the institution known as The Watchtower Society (JWs).  


On 29 July 2015 the ARC replied to the above information.  In a series of tables they reflect the adjustments that the ARC made to their analysis of the data. In relation to the above information, at paragraph 4 we read  (all caps mine)


Quote
Table 1: Role of alleged perpetrator at time of first abuse

At Table 1, your client identifies a number of alleged perpetrators whose role in the congregation at the time of the first alleged incident of abuse is incorrectly reflected in the case file analysis spreadsheet. We have conducted a review of the case files relating to the individuals identified in Table 1 and the results of our review are set out below. IN THE MAJORITY OF CASES, THE ROYAL COMMISSION HAS ACCEPTED YOUR CLIENT'S IDENTIFICATION OF THE ALLEGED PERPETRATOR'S ROLE.”
End Quote

The letter goes on to show a number of tables of  the adjutants that the ARC made. The last few paragraphs of that letter read  (words in [ ] mine)

QUOTE
“To the extent that we agree  with the inaccuracies claimed by your client (as set out in the above 'tables), we have incorporated your client's proposed corrections into a revised Analysis Summary which is annexed at Attachment A. Where we do not agree with inaccuracies claimed by your client, we have reflected what your client says is the correct figure. Further, we have removed some of the figures from the original Attachment A so that there is a smaller set of final figures to deal with.

The figures cited in  the senior counsel assisting's opening submissions  [that is 1006] were drawn from Attachment  “A” in its present form, i.e. after having been corrected in the light of the points raised by you in your letter.

It is senior counsel assisting's intention to tender this letter and the correspondence that preceded it {being our letter of 16 July 2015 and your reply of 20 July 2015), duly redacted as appropriate, and to rely on the figures as set out in Attachment A.”

End Quote

The document that information is taken from is “Document ID: WAT.9999.013.0005_R”

In that document there is a revised list if the 29 points that were first made on 16 July 2015. Remember that the WTS did not get the time time to make comments on most of those points.  The numbers given on those points by the ARC are not broken down as to who was considered part of the “clergy”, who were considered congregants, and who were not considered to be JWs.

Now “Listener's” complaint was that I and the WT gave wrong information as to how many of the 1006 alleged perpetrators were JWs.  So, as far as the number of alleged perpetrators is concerned, as to if they were JWs or not the, remember what the ARC said in the letter dated 29 July 2015 under the heading  “Table 1: Role of alleged perpetrator at time of first abuse”  as quoted above. They adjusted their data to reflect the majority of figures given by the WTS as to who was and was not a JW.  The ARC do not give their adjusted figure amounts.


I would like to make a personal observation on a statement made by  the council assisting  the ARC in the opening submissions that I mentioned earlier.   I believe that he has badly worded this sentence … “ Those documents include 1,006 case files relating to allegations of child sexual abuse made against members of the Jehovah’s Witness...”  This statement was made after  the correspondences above and the adjustments made to the data. That badly worded sentence implies that that 1006 cases were all JWs.  But as can be seen from what corresponded the ARC conceded to the majority of the numbers provided by the WTS.  However the ARC reports do  not give a break down of  how many were or were not JWs so we do not know exactly what the figures are of the breakdown between who was and who was not a JW according to the ARC. The only figures we have that show that breakdown are from the WTS.  

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Brenton Hepburn

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I AM one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I am always learning. I am NOT an expert in the full sense of the word but I can answer questions on the reliability of the NWT - the so called mind control problems-so called prophecies - how being a JW affects the individual and relatives and general practices and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. >>WARNING<< Please be aware that there are people here who ARE NOT practicing JWs. By all means ask these ones questions. Depending on the question you will get an honest answer, but, generally the answer you get, will mislead you as to what we believe, often because, they do not give ALL the relevant details. These ones will, have an agenda against JWs., and will at times give answers that are not correct in regard to JW teachings and practices. If you are after a answer from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, please read some of the answers that the various experts have published before choosing someone. If you want to ask one of the NON JWs a question, that is fine, BUT if you want a balancing view after asking one of the NON JWs, ask a JW the same question. PLEASE ALSO NOTE: There(have been)and are, some "experts" here who are NOT always the most courteous and polite, at times are actually quite rude, that applies to both JW's and non JW's and their answers may offend, especially when they get personal and attack the character of the person and not the message. Unfortunately some here that have done that. So it IS IMPORTANT to chose an "expert" that YOU feel will best suit YOU by reading some of their past answers . . . . .

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I have been a publisher since 1964. When I first went on the internet I found a lot of negative information dealing with Jehovah’s Witnesses covering prophecy, mind control and what many said was a very bad translation of the Bible known as the NWT. It shook my faith. After may hours researching these topics I could see why some felt that way, but, I was also able to explain why there were these misleading views. I can now set matters straight for anyone that has negative information about Jehovah’s Witness to show them that such information is at best misleading and at worst dangerous lies.

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I have been a student of the Bible for many years, am trying to teach myself Biblical Greek. Was a public tax accountant for many years untill SEP 2009 when I gave it up due to health problems.

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