Panorama Television Program Investigation

NB: THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A TRANSCRIPTION UNIT RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT: BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF MIS- HEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY, IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUALSPEAKERS,THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS ACCURACY.

 

PANORAMA

“suffer the little children”
RECORDED FROM TRANSMISSION: BBC-1 DATE: 14:07:02
………………………………………………………………

BETSAN POWYS: Two years ago elders from this church heard a shocking story. This young woman told
them her father was sexually abusing her. The elders called her a liar.

ALISON COUSINS: What are you meant to do then if he’s doing something wrong? And they said
“Come to us and we’ll deal with it.” And I said to them “Well I’ve already spoken to you and you’ve told
me I’m a liar”.

POWYS: The elders sent her home to her father. They didn’t tell her that three years earlier he’d confessed
to them that he was abusing her sister.

Tulsa, Oklahoma and a gather of the church that let this happen. Over 6,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are in
town for the District Convention. Panorama is here too. We’re looking for answers from the leaders of an
organisation that’s under fire. Facing mountain allegations that it’s shielding abusers, silencing victims and
putting children at risk.

BILL BOWEN: It’s a worldwide problem that is of epidemic proportions within the organisation and no
one knows about it unless your child is molested.

POWYS: Stevenson is on the Ayrshire coast in Scotland. It’s a quiet holiday resort, a close knit town and
home to a thriving community of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Door to door service, Bible studies and conventions
are at the heart of family life for this young woman. But now she’s left the church which she says betrayed
her. She doesn’t want to be recognised. She had a strict religious upbringing, her parents wedded to the
Biblical principle that the father is head of the household.

GIRL: We’d pray together, kind of thing, we prayed before meals and we’d pray before going to bed, and
ask God for help and ask God for forgiveness for anything we’ve done wrong that day. It was very strict. I
was scared of my dad for years. I was really frightened of him.

POWYS: She and her sister spent hours playing alone. Their father taught them that outside influences
were bad. He prohibited friendships outside the church. But from the age of 11 her make-believe games
hid a painful truth – her father had started to abuse her.

GIRL: I was in my bed one night and that’s when my dad came through and started touching me and
feeling me. I just lay there hoping that he’d go away.

GIRL: Witness statement at Selkirk’s Police Office. Over the years since I was 11 until I was 15 my dad
had done things to me that he shouldn’t have done like rub my breasts, finger me and try to have sex with
me. I remember when we were in Perth we were staying in a tent. He started to touch me and he made me
touch him, and he made me put his penis in my mouth and things like that.

POWYS: Were you scared?

GIRL: Terrified! There was one thing my dad told me, if I ever told anyone about this he would break me
apart.

POWYS: For years she kept quiet, but one Sunday, after a meeting at the Kingdom Hall, she asked to see
church elders. She needed their help.

GIRL: And I just told them everything that happened.

POWYS: Did they tell you that this was serious, that you should go to the police, that they would go to the
police for you?

GIRL: No, they didn’t tell me anything like that. They didn’t make any mention of the police.

POWYS: They said they’d deal with it.

GIRL: Yes. After that they called my father in, and they had a very, very long chat with him. Then
eventually they came out and we went home and that was the end of it.

POWYS: When confronted, Ian Cousins confessed he was abusing his daughter. He said he was sorry, so
the elders sent him home with her. The abuse continued. Cousins was reproved or admonished publicly by
the elders, but church policy meant that no one was told why, not even his younger daughter.

ALISON COUSINS
It was announced on the platform that Ian Cousins had been reproved, and after that I went to one of the
elders and asked well why has he been reproved? And he said “It’s because of something he did wrong”
but he wouldn’t tell me what it was.

POWYS: Even when her sister moved out, sick of the abuse, Alison still didn’t know why. She missed
her sister and was lonely. With one daughter gone, Ian Cousins turned on the other. It all began with an
innocent goodnight kiss.

ALISON: I gave him a kiss, like a peck on the lips and then I tried to get up to walk away and he pulled me
down and he forced his tongue through my teeth, my clenched teeth, and he tried to put the blame on me
and said “Did you really think you should be doing that?”

POWYS: He blamed you?

ALISON: Yes.

POWYS: It wasn’t long before the abuse got worse. One day her father was accused of assaulting one of
Alison’s friends. She had to do something but had no where to turn, nowhere except the Kingdom Hall.
She asked to see a church elder.

ALISON: I told him everything that had happened and what my dad had done to me and he said that he
didn’t believe me at all and he said that I was a liar, and that my dad would never do such a thing and my
dad was such a nice man.

POWYS: Like her sister, she was sent home. Her father – ‘the nice man’ – was free to continue abusing
her. So she gave the elders an ultimatum: either they did something or she’d go to the police. They did
nothing.

Police statement

ALISON: I have told the police about my dad because I am concerned that he has contact with other young
girls through the church.

Det Sgt WALLACE BURGESS – Strathclyde Police

Some of these people gave good statements and very, very positive in their attitude in support of Alison and
her sister. Other people felt that they didn’t want to be involved and gave a negative statement and some
people refused to speak to us altogether.

POWYS: Why?

BURGESS: I’ve no idea why. They just refuse to speak to the police.

POWYS: Were they Jehovah’s Witnesses?

BURGESS: I believe they were.

POWYS: But they wouldn’t help.

BURGESS: They wouldn’t give a statement to us, no.

POWYS: Only during the police investigation did the whole story become clear to Alison Cousins. Only
now did she discover her sister had been abused too. Only now did she find out that her father confessed to
elders 3 years earlier, yet no one had warned her, his next victim.

ALISON: Nobody told me anything. They all basically kept it all under wraps and told nobody what had
happened.

POWYS: What they did was keep a record of her father’s name and confession on a church database, a
register of suspected and convicted paedophiles to be monitored. We asked Alison Cousins to obtain a
copy of her records using the Data Protection Act. There, in black and white, was proof that the Jehovah’s
Witnesses had known for 3 years that her father was a self-confessed paedophile. Yet far from monitoring
him, the elders twice turned a blind eye to his abuse of his daughters. When he confessed to church elders,
Cousins got a mild rebuke. When he confessed in court, he got 5 years in gaol.

BURGESS: I believe we were the last to know. They had told several people before coming to the police
and these people had not reported it either to the police or the social services. We had a duty to protect, and
if we’re not told we are unable to protect.

POWYS: New York, the capital of big business, and a fitting home for one of the largest and richest
religious organisations in the world. From here the Jehovah’s Witnesses control over six million members.
From here, the worldwide headquarters in Brooklyn Heights, every policy, every guideline, is dictated.
Visitors are welcome and one message is clear. In this organisation you adhere to God’s word. Every
month 50,000 Bibles come off the press ready to be sold worldwide. But this too is where they keep
records of suspected and convicted paedophiles in their ranks. Bill Bowen, a lifelong member, has resigned
as an elder. He says the men at the top are protected the church, not the children.

BILL BOWEN – Elder, 1984-2000

They do not want people to know that they have this problem, and by covering it up they just hurt one
person. By letting it out, then they hurt the image of the church.

POWYS: Elders must report abuse to the church’s legal desk. Only if the law demands it must they
contact the police. If it doesn’t, they be told they have a moral duty to call them, but often it seems to stop
here. It seems to go no further than the church’s own secret database.

BOWEN: Every detail is written down about what happened, where it happened, when it happened, how it
happened.

POWYS: So you’re saying the organisation has its own sexual offenders register if you like.

BOWEN: That’s exactly right.

POWYS: That it’s keeping to itself and not showing others.

BOWEN: Exactly right. These men remain anonymous to anyone outside the organisation and anyone
really inside the organisation unless you’re personally reporting the matter.

POWYS: So was this the policy back in Stevenson that let Ian Cousins continue to abuse his daughters?
The elders have stepped down and refused to talk to us, so we asked the man sent here to sort things out.

Hello Mr Briggs. We’re from BBC Panorama as you know.

JONATHAN BRIGGS: I know that.

POWYS: We just want to ask you a few questions about the Ian Cousins Case.

JONATHAN BRIGGS – Presiding Overseer

It’s reasonable to really actually consider the brothers and sisters in the congregation that have had to
undergo all this pressure. So I would just leave it at that. That’s all I have to say on the matter.

POWYS: The database, Mr Briggs, why should the Jehovah’s Witnesses keep a database of men who have
confessed to being paedophiles but the police aren’t told? Do you think that’s reasonable behaviour Mr
Briggs?

BRIGGS: (declines to respond, turns and retreats into the Kingdom Hall)

11th July 2002

POWYS: The latest name added to the list should be that of James Barrett. Three days ago, clutching his
Bible, this elder from Rugby was convicted of indecently assaulting two boys and sentenced to two years in
prison. The church was told of the allegations five years ago, but Barrett denied them and was allowed to
remain an elder. So how many names are on the secret database? We asked the headquarters in New York.
They refused to tell us. “Focusing on numbers isn’t meaningful” they said. After a lifetime in the church
Bill Bowen tells a different story.

How many names do you suspect are on that list?

BOWEN: Twenty-three thousand seven hundred and twenty.

POWYS: How do you know that?

BOWEN: I was contacted by sources within the church. I was given a figure of over 20,000. Two
different sources came back to me and said that number is actually more specific and gave me a figure of
23,720. They told me that they had accessed the internal database and that figure was based on child
molesters in the USA, Canada and Europe, and that’s the figure that they were given.

POWYS: Over 20,000 names on a secret database. That’s why these people say the church has to listen.
With Bill Bowen, they’re calling for the Jehovah’s Witnesses to come clean about their record on child
abuse. His campaign, silent lambs, has already heard from 5,000 victims. This candlelit vigil is for them.

BOWEN: Or it’s what they’re doing, once it’s found out, causing their own members to be deeply
disturbed.

POWYS: Heather Berry and her stepsister Holly Brewer have flown here from New Hampshire. The man
who abused them has been gaoled for a minimum of 56 years. He was Heather’s father. Now Heather and
Holly are breaking new ground, they’re taking the Jehovah’s Witnesses to court.

HEATHER: I’m Heather from New Hampshire. I don’t want to tell my story but I’ve heard the word
‘victim’ too many times today, and all of us are standing out here today and we’re standing tall and proud
and saying this happened and that it can’t happen and we’re survivors, and we’re fighting and we’re not
victims.

POWYS: They’re the first of those survivors to take their fight to court. They’re claiming that not only did
the church do nothing when they were abused, it ostracised and punished the family when they called the
police.

HEATHER: I’m very glad I came, and like I said, I would do it again, and again, and again, and as many
times as it takes to get a change in the policies and things that they hide constantly.

HOLLY: I’m really glad that the policy was talked about so much today, that it’s an actually policy, it’s not
just a few elders that want to hide things. It comes from higher up.

HEATHER: It’s a worldwide policy.

HOLLY: Yes.

POWYS: We asked the church for an interview to discuss the claims that they’re putting thousands of
children at risk. They offered us instead some video tapes.

BETSAN POWYS

Here we have it, a boxful of tapes in fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses response, progressive understanding of
paedophilia, education through publications, and one marked ‘policies’ and I’m told that’s where we should
get some answers.

That night we watched the tapes, looking for those answers. In long letters the organisation had told us the
welfare of children is of paramount concern to them, that they have a forceful child protection policy. We
wanted to see it spelled out.

J.R. BROWN: We’ve heard the suggestion that our policies may not be adequate to cover the problem of
child molestation, but that’s not the case all.

POWYS: The policy couldn’t be simpler. The elders should deal with all allegations of abuse.

M.R. INFANTE: I think that’s a very good policy, that the elders essentially would take charge of the
situation of reporting the abuse to the authorities.

POWYS: But the authorities they’re told to contact aren’t the police, it’s their own legal desk.

J.R. BROWN: The fact of the matter is, we have a very aggressive policy to handle child molestation in the
congregation, and it is primarily designed to protect our children.

POWYS: So how aggressive is it in practice? Just over a year ago Bill Bowen rang the legal desk in New
York asking how he should handle an allegation of abuse in his congregation. The advice he was given has
little to do with protecting the victim. He was told to go back to the man accused.

LEGAL DESK: You just him again, “Now, is there anything to this?” If he says ‘No’ then I would walk
away from it. Leave it for Jehovah. He’ll bring it out.

BOWEN: Yep.

LEGAL DESK: But don’t get yourself in a jam.

POWYS: “Leave it for Jehovah” That, according to thousands of victims, is the Jehovah’s Witness child
protection policy laid bare. No one knows more about that than Sara Poisson. Holly Brewer and Heather
Berry’s mother knows her loyalty to the church cost her daughters dearly. Paul Berry, her husband, beat
them. She suspect worse, that Heather was being sexually abused and went to the elders.

SARA POISSON

I could tell from their looks on their faces that I had done a bad thing, that I had spoken against my husband
which is a bad thing. And so their solution was that I should be a better wife, and I should pray more. That
was their solution, that’s how I could stop him from battering us. I assumed they were right. It had to be
right because they know everything because they’re God’s representatives on earth.

POWYS: She couldn’t convince them, but she was convinced that Paul Berry was sexually abusing their
daughter, Heather.

HEATHER BERRY

When I was about 3 years old I started displaying behaviour that no 3 year old in their right mind would
display. I was throwing stools out of 2 storey windows and I was.. well I went to Boston Children’s
Medical Hospital in the psychiatric ward when I was 3 because she found me stabbing myself with a
screwdriver in the arm in the kitchen.

(Recites)

“He came to me in the black of night,
Hands outstretched, there was no fight.
The masked man slowly became familiar with my shape,
Gently rubbing his hands on me, every nook, cranny and gape.
My child, you are so sweet,
So perfect and right, then I knew nothing but defeat.”

I tried not to think about the abuse as much as possible. I mean there was the physical abuse, there was the
verbal abuse and there was the sexual abuse. And when none of it was happening, that was ideal, and that’s
what I tried to focus on the most.

POWYS: And all the while you were going to the Kingdom Hall every Sunday.

HEATHER: We were.

POWYS: You were going to meetings during the week.

HEATHER: We were going out on door-to-door service.

POWYS: Time and again the girls were told to wait outside while their mother begged local elders for
help. Time and again they saw her sent home to pray harder and be a better wife. Holly, too, had her own
story to tell, the story she’d kept secret from her mother, the story she knew by now the elders wouldn’t
want to hear. Her instinct was to tell the local policeman, but after years in the church she just couldn’t.

Det Sgt JACK ZELLER – Keene Police Dept. New Hampshire

Holly would actually tell me that she was very angry about things at home and she did on more than several
occasions tell me that “Some day, Sergeant Zeller, I’m going to tell you something that happened to me”
and I always told Holly, “When you’re ready, I’ll be there. You know where I am.”

POWYS: Her mother saw the elders more than a dozen times, but remarkably it never strong Sarah Poisson
to look for help outside the church.

You can say that your children’s lives are in danger, and in the same breath that you couldn’t possibly go to
the police. How can that be?

POISSON: Because God would not want that. It would never have occurred to me, and even if it had, I
would not have done it because he’s a man. He’s a baptized male and he’s a ministerial servant and I was a
woman and they’re kids, and that’s even worse than being a woman. ‘These things need to stay in this
room’ I’ve heard that many, many times. ‘You need to pray about it more.’ I can show you my Bible, it’s
paper thin. I still have it. It’s all worn out. I did a lot of praying.

POWYS: Even after you had told them that her father was sexually abusing Heather, nothing changed?

POISSON: No, no. Well yeah, things changed, they got a lot worse, for me.

POWYS: In the end the decision was taken out of her hands. In school bruises were noticed on her
children. Social workers were told. They gave her a stark choice, leave your husband or we take your
children. But if she left him, she knew the church would cut her dead.

POISSON: At that point I had to make decision between God and my kids. And I knew.. well at that time I
knew that if I chose my kids, I don’t have prayer, but I didn’t care anymore. So we lost everything in one
day.

POWYS: Sarah Poisson had no life outside the Kingdom Hall. When the congregation cast her out she had
no choice but to move away. She didn’t just lose every friend she had, overnight she was homeless,
penniless, scraping a living to bring up her children. The friends they’d had openly shunned them. But
with the family now free of the church Holly could finally tell her mother the truth, her stepfather had
abused her too. When he tried to gain access to her younger sister, Holly finally did what the elders hadn’t,
she walked into the local police station.

ZELLER: It was clear to me that it was a life’s crossing, a road to cross. Never any doubt in my mind that
Holly could do it. It was a tremendous effort on her part, and it smacked of raw courage from beginning to
end.

POWYS: The Holly Brewer who walked into his office that day was a very changed, a very defiant young
woman.

HOLLY BREWER

My earliest memory is like about 3 years old, my latest memory is 10 years old, and he gradually worked
into being interested in me to full blown sex, intercourse, over those years.

2:47 08pm
MAR 7 1997 Police video

POWYS: It was a harrowing time. The police took Holly back to the house where the abuse had started.

HOLLY: He had a room that he had found in a very, very old house that was underneath the barn that you’d
to crawl through a hole to get to, and once you were in there, you were isolated from the entire house, and
from everything, and that’s where everything would go down.

3:22:47pm
MAR 7 1997

WOMAN OFFICER: Would he kneel down next to you, or over you?

HOLLY: He’d like sit like this… and then he’d lean over..

WOMAN OFFICER: Alright, and did he wanted you to do?

HOLLY: I knew after a while.

POWYS: She told the police exactly what Berry had wanted, of the brutal sexual assault she’d suffered
throughout her childhood.

HOLLY: I had no vision of me growing up and being 16. I thought he was eventually going to kill me, you
know.. and then I’d be free and that’s the way I looked at it.

POWYS: It’s really hard to come back here now.

HOLLY: I know.

He’d say things like “Thank you for obeying me” and he’d thank me for obeying him and reminding me of
that word, that ‘obey’ word. That was a big thing.

POWYS: Paul Berry was confident Holly would never go to the elders. Apart from anything else the
Jehovah’s Witnesses have a clear rule on sin. They need two witnesses or a confession before they’ll take
action. As Holly told her story, it seemed to police that this rule and a strict religious community would
have let the abuse continue.

Det Sgt JACK ZELLER – Keene Police Dept. New Hampshire

Sexual abuse of children is not to be tolerated, and I don’t care what their reasoning was, it was faulted
reasoning. They were wrong, and as far as I’m concerned they were criminally negligent. That’s my take
on it.

WOMAN OFFICER: Even with just the child’s word, with one witness, with just the mother’s word,
without the two witnesses their Bible tells them they need?

ZELLER: Well unfortunately most kids don’t have several witnesses observing them get raped. That’s an
unfortunate part of it.

WOMAN OFFICER: It took nearly 4 years for the case to come to court. Paul Berry faced 17 charges of
aggravated sexual assault.

POISSON: I was holding Holly’s hand and she had a lot of pointy rings on, and she was squeezing my
hand really tightly, and it took them a long time to get through the verdict because there were so many
indictments, and when it was over my hand was all blood and I didn’t even feel it. And it was so powerful
to be believed.

POWYS: But not everyone did believe them, even after he was convicted by a jury on all 17 indictments.
Two dozen members of the Kingdom Hall turned up at the sentencing hearing. They all appeared to give
character statements for Paul Berry.

ZELLER: He had already been found guilty and they found room in their hearts to stand in front of that
child and say we don’t believe any of it. And what they were saying was, they didn’t believe the child, they
didn’t believe in the system of justice, they didn’t believe the judge, they didn’t believe the jury, they didn’t
believe anyone except themselves.

HOLLY: Everything they were saying was “He’s such a fine worker, I’ve worked with him secularly and
he always shows up to work on time, and he’s such a good worker.” Everybody said that and also the
second half was everybody started saying “He’s baby-sat our kids hundreds of times. I would let him baby- sit our kids every day, and he’s such a good worker.” And I was just sitting there like… he’s not on trial for
being a negligent worker.

ZELLER: I can’t imagine how badly she must have felt not to have been believed by elders in her own
close knit community. What a horrible blow to a child this must have been. Shame, shame on them.

POWYS: But another serious accusation is levelled against Jehovah’s Witnesses. In their efforts to cover
up abuse, they may even try to frustrate police investigations. In Birmingham West Midlands police were
told of a sexual assault by a Jehovah’s Witnesses on a young boy. They asked local elders for help.

Sgt STEVE COLLEY – West Midlands Police

They were very reluctant to give up any information towards me. It was an uphill battle so far as the church
was concerned, with me virtually at every turn. They actually said to me unless I provide two Jehovah’s
Witnesses who’d actually seen the offence, then as far as they were concerned the offence hadn’t taken
place.

POWYS: The boy was Simon Brady. He was just 9 when he was abused by a member of this Kingdom
Hall. He felt he could tell no one.

SIMON BRADY

We’re taught if you go to elders, if you want to be believed or you have a complaint about someone, then
there has to be more than one of you, there has to be two people. There has to be more than one witness
basically. What can I say? They want more than one witness, you know.. every time I’ve gone to them,
you know.. they wouldn’t have believed me. Statement of Simon Andrew Brady, aged 18.

Police statement

BRADY: I recall that one of the brothers of the congregation, a man known to me as Jaswant Patty began
to take an interest in me. I would have been 8 or 9 years old at the time.

POWYS: Simon Brady’s parents were going through a divorce. Jaswant Patty offered to help out, take him
off his mother’s hands.

BRADY: He’d take me for drives after the meetings, he’d take me home from the congregation, you
know.. give me a lift home. I can remember on one occasion he took me to his sister’s flat while she was
away on holiday. He said we’d go in and we’d check his sister’s flat, and there he really sexually abused
me basically.

POWYS: What did he do?

BRADY: It was quite severe to be honest with you, it was severe. So even now, to think of it, I don’t.. you
know.. it hurts now to talk about it to be honest with you, and I’ve done that once already. I find it very
hard to talk about it anymore basically.

(Statement continues) He dropped me off at home. I remember going to the bathroom and scrubbing with
Dettol because I felt dirty at what had happened.

POWYS: For years he said nothing, afraid the elders wouldn’t believe him. When he finally did speak out,
his instinct as a 9 year old proved right. It’s not so much did they believe. Did they want to believe me?
They didn’t want to believe me. I think in terms of my house, you know.. they weren’t opened minded and
I think they’d already made their mind up even before they got to my house.

POWYS: The police did believe him and they tracked down a second boy who’d been abused by Patty.
But what happened next caused them serious concern. An elder confronted the victim’s father, calling the
man’s son a liar. The father complained to the police who warned the elder to stay away from the victim’s
families. His excuse was that as an elder he had every right to investigate the case for himself.

COLLEY: It was his duty to test the evidence prior to the court case. I advised him that if that sort of
behaviour continued, then if an allegation had been formally made, then I would have to investigate that
particular person for offence to pervert the course of justice, and in fact witness intimidation. The
conversation did get a little bit heated towards the end but obviously I’d a duty to protect my complainants
and witnesses to the case. I made sure and sent out the signal that I was prepared to protect them and take
drastic steps i.e. arresting people if they breached that.

POWYS: In Birmingham, as in New Hampshire, the elders supported the accused. Even after Patty was
convicted and sentenced to five years in gaol they didn’t waver. At the next meeting in the Kingdom Hall
they elders made sure the congregation knew where they stood.

BRADY: There’s (Nice McGivon?) saying “As a body of elders – that’s including every elder in Rubery –
we feel as a body of elders that basically this man is innocent, we believe he’s innocent, and the Bethel have
informed us they will do everything in their power to help this man”.

COLLEY: I then made it my duty to actually speak to the Legal Services Team of the Bethel in London and
voice my disquiet about the lack of cooperation I’d had from start to finish from this inquiry.

POWYS: Under police pressure, the elders did apologise and were demoted though not sacked. The
London headquarters, the Bethel, refused to discuss any specific case. They said this was because the elders
had to respect the confidentiality of the victims. But the victims wanted answers. We again asked for an
interview with their spokesman, Paul Gillies. When he refused we phoned him, told him we were recording
and asked a simple question. Are elders told to report allegations of abuse to the police or not?

PAUL GILLIES: (telephone conversation) The elders’ guideline is: if you get any single allegation of child
abuse come to your attention, phone this office.

POWYS: Why phone this office? Why not phone your local police station?

GILLIES: Well, you see the first thing is we have to make sure for the protection of the child, that’s our
first priority.

POWYS: Is it the protection of the child… is it fair to ask you, isn’t it the protection of the church that
comes straight to mind there?

GILLIES: It is the protection of the child. We have a child protection policy.

POWYS: It was a long conversation and we asked if he’d be prepared to answer the same questions on
camera. He refused. So it was back to America and back to a Jehovah’s Witness convention in Tulsa.
We’d been told we’d find a member of the governing body here. Ted Jarrett is one of the men responsible
for the church’s child protection policy. For more than two months we’ve been asking them for an
interview. We want answers to some simple questions. Why do they keep their database of suspected
paedophiles secret? Why don’t they report all allegations of abuse to the police? Why do they send
children back to the arms of their abusers? They refused to talk to us. But here at last we had our chance.

Mr Jarrett, tell me about the database. How do you justify keeping a list of people, men in some cases who
have confessed to paedophilia, but you have not reported them to the authority. What justification is there
for you to keep that list?

JARRETT: You know, you’re from Britain. You have a privacy law. You have a directive from the
European Union. You observe that, don’t you?

POWYS: So when allegations of abuse are made, is it alright to keep them private?

JARRETT: I think you were answered. That question was answered strictly to your satisfaction.

POWYS: Can you answer it now?

JARRETT: I’m not going to repeat. I’ll just tell you exactly and you will see it in writing. It’s all in print.
You know the Bible says “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” We don’t go beyond the things
that are written.

POWYS: And that was that. No doubt, no second thoughts. Just a simple belief that Jehovah will sort it
out, a belief for which others, younger and more vulnerable, may continue to pay a price.

BOWEN: They’re living in denial, denial of what’s happening to their children, and it’s not a matter.. you
see if they accept that, then they accept that there is a problem. So rather than admit that there’s a problem,
they will just let children go on and continue to be molested and not do anything about it.

 

 

_________

If you want to comment on this programme you can email us or join us on our website for an online
discussion tomorrow at 2pm or I’ll be taking calls with Edwina Curry on Radio 5 Live in a few minutes.
Panorama returns in the Autumn with a major investigation into corruption in horseracing which has led to
us being banned from almost every race course in the country. If you’ve got stories you think we should
investigate you can contact us through our website.

 

BBC Action Line:
08000 839 839
Lines open until midnight
All calls are free and confidential

 

 

CREDITS

 

 

Reporter
Betsan Powys

Film Cameramen
Alex Hansen
Martin Singleton

Sound Recordists
Brian Howell
Chris Sheedy

VT Editor
Boyd Nagle

Dubbing Mixer
Andrew Sears

Colourist
John Morgan

Web Producer
Bessie Wedgwood

Production Co-ordinators
Wendy Poon
Rosa Rudnicka

Research
Kathlyn Posner

Graphic Design
Kaye Huddy
Julie Tritton

Film Research
Kate Redman

Production Manager
Martha Estcourt

Unit Manager
Laura Govett

Film Editor
Bob Hayward

Assistant Producer
Shabnam Grewal

Producer
Murdoch Rodgers

Deputy Editor
Andrew Bell

Editor
Mike Robinson

Categories: Jehovah's Witnesses

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