Investigation Claims Jehovah Witnesses’ Watchtower Is Hiding Child Sexual Abuse Claims, Yeshivah abuse victim says scholarship was removed after he reported rape, Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, Rabbi pleads guilty to taping nude women at ritual bath

February 20, 2015 Comments Off on Investigation Claims Jehovah Witnesses’ Watchtower Is Hiding Child Sexual Abuse Claims, Yeshivah abuse victim says scholarship was removed after he reported rape, Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, Rabbi pleads guilty to taping nude women at ritual bath

Investigation Claims Jehovah Witnesses’ Watchtower Is Hiding Child Sexual Abuse Claims
The Huffington Post By Kira Brekke   02/18/2015

Evelyn Selimaj, 30, left, of East Haven and her sister Sybelle Almodovar, 35, of North Guilford hold a photograph of themselves together with their brother Ferdinand Almodovar that was taken about the time that the three siblings say they began to be sexually abused by a ministerial servant who acted as a church leader in their congregation. They were child members of the New Haven East Spanish Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation. In October 2014 in New Haven, Connecticut, their attorneys filed ch

A new report out of the Center for Investigative Reporting claims that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ parent organization in the United States has systematically hidden child sexual abuse cases for more than 25 years.

Trey Bundy, the Reveal journalist behind the report, explained to HuffPost Live on Tuesday that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York has issued detailed memos since 1989 mandating spiritual leaders to immediately report any allegations of child abuse to the Watchtower’s legal department before the police.

“Essentially what they say is, ‘You don’t need to call police unless state law requires you to, and we’ll determine if that’s the case.’ They say not to warn other members of the congregation if you have a child abuser in your congregation, that’s confidential information,” Bundy told host Alyona Minkovski. “And they also … lay out a very sort of convoluted process for determining whether or not you’re even going to take child abuse seriously.”

But in the “many times” Jehovah’s Witnesses have been sued in civil court by alleged victims of abuse, Bundy explained, the freedom of religion has been invoked to protect them….

In a statement to Bundy in his article, Watchtower representatives defended the organization’s practices regarding abuse.

Watchtower officials say they instruct their members to obey state laws. Their policy memos direct elders who hear of alleged child abuse to “contact the Society’s Legal Department immediately” to learn whether the laws in their states require them to notify police….
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/18/jehovahs-witness-child-sex-abuse_n_6705852.html

Yeshivah abuse victim says scholarship was removed after he reported rape
Victim of jailed abuser David Cyprys says principal Rabbi Abraham Glick cancelled the award after telling him of incidents, royal commission hears
Yeshiva college
Rabbi Pinchus Feldman did not alert police when the alleged abuser said he might leave the country.

Melissa Davey Monday 9 February 2015

A child sex abuse victim who was repeatedly raped by a staff member of an Orthodox Jewish school said he was stripped of his scholarship when he told the principal what happened.

The victim, identified only as AVR, said a security guard at the Yeshivah centre and college in Melbourne, David Cyprys, raped him multiple times.

Cyprys was convicted of those offences in 2013, and is in jail….

His mother immediately flew to Melbourne see him, and together they reported the abuse to the principal of the school, Rabbi Abraham Glick, and the director, Rabbi David Groner, who is now dead.

“Rabbi Glick said my scholarship had been cancelled from that time,” AVR said. “I feel Rabbi Glick and Yeshivah did not want me there any more. They did not offer help or counselling. No one at Yeshivah would speak to us or help us. Even our own family members would not help us, and we had a lot of trouble getting back to the airport.”….

Cyprys was “a serial abuser of children”, the commission heard last Monday. AVR said his mother had stopped treatment for her cancer when she came to Melbourne to rescue him from Cyprys, and that she passed away a few years later, in 1995….

Last week, other victims told the commission how they were ignored by senior religious leaders within the orthodox Yeshivah community after reporting their abuse, and of being verbally abused and ostracised….
http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/09/yeshivah-abuse-victim-says-scholarship-was-removed-after-he-reported

Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse
Latest news on Australia’s royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse
February 2015
http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/royal-commission-into-institutional-responses-to-child-sexual-abuse

Rabbi pleads guilty to taping nude women at ritual bath
February 19, 2015 By JESSICA GRESKO

WASHINGTON (AP) — A prominent Orthodox rabbi acknowledged Thursday that for years he videotaped women in a changing room of a Jewish ritual bath, ultimately recording approximately 150 nude women.

Barry Freundel pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism during a hearing at D.C. Superior Court. Each count is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

Freundel’s attorney, Jeffrey Harris, acknowledged after the hearing that it was unlikely that his client would get a 52-year sentence but declined to say what sentence he would seek at a hearing set for May 15. Harris said his client was taking responsibility for his actions and was looking to move on with his life….

Freundel, 63, was a rabbi at the Kesher Israel synagogue in Washington for more than 25 years before his arrest in October on voyeurism charges. As part of the plea agreement Freundel entered into Thursday, he acknowledged that starting in 2009 he set up hidden recording devices in a changing and showering area of The National Capital Mikvah, a ritual cleansing bath affiliated with Kesher Israel. He acknowledged he secretly videotaped women who were partially or totally undressed before or after they showered.
http://helenair.com/news/national/rabbi-pleads-guilty-to-taping-nude-women-at-ritual-bath/article_0e282e91-f2cf-5966-9ccc-183bde2797f6.html

MI5 accused of covering up sexual abuse at boys’ home, Did leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse

February 18, 2015 Comments Off on MI5 accused of covering up sexual abuse at boys’ home, Did leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse

MI5 accused of covering up sexual abuse at boys’ home
Court case to address alleged cover-up of British state involvement at the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland

Vikram Dodd and Richard Norton-Taylor

Sunday 15 February 2015

MI5 is facing allegations it was complicit in the sexual abuse of children, the high court in Northern Ireland will hear on Tuesday.

Victims of the abuse are taking legal action to force a full independent inquiry with the power to compel witnesses to testify and the security service to hand over documents.

The case, in Belfast, is the first in court over the alleged cover-up of British state involvement at the Kincora children’s home in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. It is also the first of the recent sex abuse cases allegedly tying in the British state directly. Victims allege that the cover-up over Kincora has lasted decades….

Amnesty International branded Kincora “one of the biggest scandals of our age” and backed the victims’ calls for an inquiry with full powers: “There are longstanding claims that MI5 blocked one or more police investigations into Kincora in the 1970s in order to protect its own intelligence-gathering operation, a terrible indictment which raises the spectre of countless vulnerable boys having faced further years of brutal abuse….

Children are alleged to have suffered sustained sexual abuse after being taken from the east Belfast children’s home, run by a member of a Protestant paramilitary organisation, to be offered to men.

Lawyers for the victims will argue in court that “there is credible evidence (and it is therefore arguable) that the security forces and security services were aware of the abuse, permitted it to continue and colluded in protecting the individuals involved from investigation or prosecution”, according to papers lodged with the Belfast high court….

Three men were jailed for their part in abuse at Kincora in 1981, but attempts to establish the truth about British state involvement have been blocked. It has persistently been alleged that William McGrath, Kincora’s housemaster and the leader of an extreme evangelical Protestant group called Tara, was an informant for British intelligence. McGrath was jailed for sexual offences in 1981 and is now dead.

There have been limited inquiries into Kincora, but officers of the former Royal Ulster Constabulary, army intelligence officers, a former Northern Ireland ombudsman, and the judges conducting those earlier inquiries all said the truth about what went on there – and why it was allowed to continue for so many years – had been suppressed.

RUC officers were repeatedly refused permission in the 1980s to interview a senior MI5 official about the affair….
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/15/mi5-kincora-childrens-home-northwen-ireland-sexual-abuse

Did leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse
February 16, 2015
In San Francisco, a woman is suing the Jehovah’s Witnesses for failing to protect her from a known child abuser when she was a child. The Center for Investigative Reporting has shed light on accusations that religious leaders led a cover-up of child sex abuse. Special correspondent Trey Bundy of the CIR’s Reveal reports on how the organization is using the first amendment to fight these charges.

GWEN IFILL: Next: an investigation into child sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witness and accusations that religious leaders led a cover-up within inside some of the group’s 14,000 U.S. congregations….

TREY BUNDY: The case hinges on letters from Jehovah’s Witness leaders to the heads of local congregations. For almost 20 years, they have ordered them to send reports like this one for every known child abuser, to hide these cases from their congregations, and not to cooperate with law enforcement or the courts, unless instructed to.

They have refused judges’ orders to turn over these abuse reports, so no one knows how many cases like Conti’s are out there.

JAMES MCCABE, Jehovah’s Witnesses lawyer: Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse of any form.

TREY BUNDY: The Jehovah’s Witnesses insist that they comply with the law. And their lawyers argue that the First Amendment gives them the right to set child abuse policies as they see fit….

TREY BUNDY: Clarke never called the police. He followed Watchtower protocol. He wrote to New York headquarters, asking how to deal with Kendrick’s confession. They told him not to investigate the matter further.

Instead they said, “Provide him with strong scriptural counsel to avoid a repetition of such a serious offense.”

MICHAEL CLARKE: We don’t make that public to the congregation. It’s confidential.

TREY BUNDY: The elders didn’t warn other members that one of their own was a child abuser.

MAN: And that’s the policy and the practice of Jehovah’s Witnesses that you learned as an elder, correct?

MICHAEL CLARKE: Yes.

TREY BUNDY: Clarke says the elders told Kendrick not to be alone with children. But he was still allowed to join in congregation activities that included minors. A year later, one of those minors was Candace Conti….

TREY BUNDY: When Kendrick moved to the Oakley congregation, no one was told he was a child molester, not even Roger Bentley, who served as an elder there for 30 years. He reviewed this letter of introduction from Kendrick’s old congregation.

ROGER BENTLEY, Former Elder, Oakley Congregation: There’s no indication at all that he’s guilty of child abuse.

TREY BUNDY: So no mention of child abuse, but any mention of children?

ROGER BENTLEY: Well, if you read it, it very specifically says he’s a very interesting individual who has taken the lead with some young ones in the congregation and helped them from veering off course….

TREY BUNDY: The courts continue to grapple with the question: Should freedom of religion outweigh the responsibility to protect children?

In Candace Conti’s case, the jury overrode the First Amendment claims and decided the Watchtower and the North Fremont congregation were negligent and didn’t adequately protect her from abuse.

Kendrick maintains he never molested her. Pending appeal, she was awarded more than $15 million in compensation and damages. It’s the first time a jury has ordered the Watchtower to pay for its child abuse policies.

But for Kendrick’s other victim, her case against the Watchtower was thrown out. Even though Kendrick confessed to the abuse in this deposition and served about eight months in jail, the judge affirmed that the Watchtower’s policies were protected by the First Amendment. It wasn’t liable because the abuse occurred at home and not in the course of religious activity. The Watchtower had no obligation to warn the family about Kendrick’s past.

Kendrick is now free and still an active member of the Oakley congregation….
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/leaders-jehovahs-witnesses-cover-child-sex-abuse/

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