J. R. Brown, Organizational Spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses
Philip Brumley, General Counsel for Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses' Response to Inquiries on Child Abuse
Mr. Brown: Child abuse is an evil. It's an evil of our time; it's an evil in our society. And so we abhor it. The Bible says you should "hate what is bad" and that certainly would include child abuse.
We have a number of initiatives we've taken to make sure children are protected. And one is to make sure parents are educated. And over the past 10 to 15 years, we've published numerous articles and other materials, especially for the elders, telling them what needs to be done to help those who have been victimized in this way.
Mr. Brumley: Our top priority is to protect the victims. And we want to make sure that whatever steps need to be taken are taken, both by the elders, by the relatives, and by the congregation in general. Our second priority has to do with the perpetrators. We are concerned about their receiving the help they need. Our third priority is to see to it that secular authorities are indeed informed of the accusation.
Mr. Brown: We have no objection to the laws of the land that come into play to be enforced on whatever has taken place there. Crime is crime. And we recognize there are penalties for crimes committed.
When we speak of child abuse, we have to look at society as a whole. This has become a burning issue in the last 20 or 30 years. And so society in general has been, more or less, plagued with this problem. And all sorts of organizations and agencies are grappling with how to best handle this.