Utrecht University to investigate sex abuse claims against Jehovah’s Witnesses – DutchNews.nl

Utrecht University is launching an independent inquiry into sexual abuse by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, in the latest in a series of investigations focused on the church.
The university said it wanted to clarify how the church deals with incidents of abuse within its own community and whether this affects the likelihood of victims coming forward, the Telegraaf reported.
There are currently nine investigations ongoing into allegations of abuse in the community, the public prosecution service has said. Justice minister Sander Dekker has called for the Jehovah’s Witnesses to set up their own independent inquiry, but the church declined.
In a letter to parliament on Monday, Dekker said researchers at the university wanted to speak to victims and church leaders about allegations of abuse. The university hopes to conclude its inquiry in the autumn.
MPs from all parties have called for an independent inquiry into allegations against the church, which has around 30,000 followers across the Netherlands. A foundation set up by victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses has registered 276 potential cases.
Dekker said last year that the church should follow the example of the Catholic church in dealing with complaints of sexual abuse. In total, 3,712 people have reported being victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic church to a special hotline set up in 2010.

Cardinal on trial in France’s biggest church sex abuse trial

A Catholic cardinal and five other people went on trial Monday accused of covering up for a pedophile priest who abused Boy Scouts — France’s most important church sex abuse case to date.

The case poses a new challenge to the Vatican, amid growing demands in overwhelmingly Catholic France for a reckoning with decades of sexual abuse by the clergy.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, 68, appeared in a Lyon court Monday along with other senior church officials accused of failing to protect children from alleged abuse by the Rev. Bernard Preynat. The top Vatican official in charge of sex abuse cases, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, is among the accused — but won’t appear in court because the Vatican invoked his diplomatic immunity.  Read More . . .

Source: Cardinal on trial in France’s biggest church sex abuse trial

Vatican hid pedophilia of “Legionaires for Christ” founder for 63 years

Marcial Maciel

El prefecto de la Congregación para los Institutos de Vida Consagrada, el cardenal João Braz de Aviz, reconoce ahora que el Vaticano tenía desde 1943 documentos sobre la pederastia del fundador de los Legionarios de Cristo, Marcial Maciel. El religioso fue investigado entre 1956 y 1959. “Quien lo tapó era una mafia, ellos no eran Iglesia”, ha dicho al ser entrevistado por la revista católica Vida Nueva. João Braz estuvo en Madrid hace un mes para clausurar la asamblea general de la Confederación Española de Religiosos (Confer). “Tengo la impresión de que las denuncias de abusos crecerán, porque solo estamos en el inicio. Llevamos 70 años encubriendo, y esto ha sido un tremendo error”, sostiene.

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Google translation below:

The prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, now recognizes that since 1943 the Vatican had documents on the pedophilia of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel. The religious was investigated between 1956 and 1959. “Who covered him was a mafia, they were not Church,” he said when interviewed by the Catholic magazine Vida Nueva. João Braz was in Madrid a month ago to close the general assembly of the Spanish Confederation of Religious (Confer). “I have the impression that allegations of abuse will grow, because we are only at the beginning. We’ve been hiding for 70 years, and this has been a huge mistake, “he says.

The Legionaries of Christ are reborn from their ashes, with a new structure, after 12 years of atonement and ten since the death of its founder, the priest Marcial Maciel, friend of several popes and the greatest sexual predator in the recent history of the Church . Presented for years by John Paul II as an apostle of youth and pampered by countless bishops and cardinals, many of them Spaniards, Benedict XVI told him in 2006, months after the death of the Polish pontiff, to retire to Mexico for the rest of his life , dedicated “to penance and prayer”. He died without apology two years later, when a commission of inquiry had already unequivocally revealed his criminal activities and a life of debauchery tolerated by the Vatican.

EL PAÍS published in 2006 that the Legionary founder had been investigated between October 1956 and February 1959 on behalf of Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, then the great Roman inquisitor. Maciel had studied at the Pontifical University of Comillas, then based in Cantabria, where he was expelled with one of his classmates without the Jesuits taking additional measures. The Vatican inspection was supervised by the Basque Claretian and future Cardinal Arcadio Larraona. During that time, Maciel was suspended as superior general, and expelled from Rome. Larraona sent his inspectors to the Ontaneda seminary, among other centers. He did not solve anything and Maciel returned to the old ways, with more power. Neither did Ratzinger act in 1999, despite the evidence deposited on his desk as president of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy Office of the Inquisition of the past.

The denunciations of his countless victims, to which those of the women with whom the priest Maciel had had children later joined, increased until they became unbearable for the Vatican. Nobody took action. “A friend of the Pope is not processed,” argued those who had to intervene, first of all Cardinal Josep Ratzinger, today Pope emeritus. Maciel was also his friend, as well as confessor of the Polish Pope on many occasions. “They waited for God to get them out of the quagmire with the death of John Paul II or the accused,” said one of his victims and complainant, Alejandro Espinosa, who had the misfortune of being the favorite prey of the Legionary founder in the cold house. of the Ontaneda seminary (Cantabria).

. . . Read more (original)

Jehovah’s Witnesses defend their treatment of sexual assault cases (original in French)

Source: Les Témoins de Jéhovah défendent leur traitement des cas d’agressions sexuelles | Isabelle Ducas | Actualités judiciaires

As the entire article is in French, the article is translated below:

Jehovah’s Witnesses defend their treatment of sexual assault cases
Isabelle Ducas

Even though the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses is very closed and tightly woven, it is also affected by the #moiaussi [#metoo] wave: its lawyers began yesterday to defend in court the practices of the religious group, accused of abandoning the victims of assault to protect the abusers to avoid tarnishing their reputation.

A class action suit filed by a former sexual assault advisor alleges that the movement is imposing on its congregations around the world internal rules that discourage the reporting of sexual assault and harm the protection of victims. “What is exposed is that a system has been set up under the tutelage of the Central College, a group of men who make decisions and issue doctrines that are redistributed around the world,” argued the lawyer who leads the class action, Ms. Sarah Woods, before Justice Chantal Corriveau in the Superior Court.

The religious organization’s policies "hinder denunciation to lay authorities of sexual abuse of minors and maintain a parallel disciplinary process in the form of judicial committees, “a process that is harmful to victims and negligently recidivism,” added the lawyer.

Lisa Blais, who launched the action on behalf of all Quebec victims, grew up in a family member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She claims to have been sexually assaulted by her brother from an early age. She denounced these assaults when she was 16 years old to her parents and “elders” of her religious community, but nothing would have been done to try to punish the alleged aggressor.

Since the organization’s policies on sexual assault would be developed in the United States, at the highest levels, the demand for collective action is directed at US entities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Pennsylvania and New York City and more Canadian instances.


The court has not yet determined whether the action sought could proceed. The arguments in this regard will be heard in mid-December. But even before reaching this stage, the lawyers of the religious group dispute the fact that US authorities can be prosecuted, saying that Quebec justice does not have jurisdiction over their decisions.

Victims do not agree, saying that all congregations follow the guidelines developed in the United States. “A witness’s non-compliance with the organization’s policies is seen as upsetting Jehovah, the god of witnesses,” said Woods. As a result, central college policies create fear among witnesses and force them to develop an attitude of submission. "

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been the subject of several prosecutions by ex-followers in the United States for their handling of sexual assault cases. In Canada, shortly after the Quebec class action petition, a similar initiative was launched in Ontario.

The religious group issued a statement following yesterday’s hearing. “We are confident that the facts will show that Jehovah’s Witnesses are working to follow the child protection reporting act,” a spokesperson said by email. “For decades we have cooperated with the authorities responsible for the protection of children. And of course, anyone who knows of an allegation of abuse should feel free to go to the authorities at all times.”

“A witness’s non-compliance with the organization’s policies is considered to be upsetting to Jehovah … Therefore, Central College policies create fear within the Witnesses and force them to develop an attitude of submission.” – Sarah Woods, the lawyer who is leading the collective action against the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.