Witness To Shame

As Roman Catholic bishops issued a meaculpa last week, Jehovah’s Witnesses, a cloistered group of 980,000, moved closer to facing a sex-abuse scandal of their own. In January a woman from Sacramento, Calif., filed a lawsuit charging that church leaders knowingly failed to notify civil authorities that she was raped by a member of her congregation. A former church leader in Maryland was indicted in February for sexually assaulting three women who say they were told by elders not to report the abuse, and were excommunicated when they did. After additional stories aired recently on TV, a victims’ support group run by William H. Bowen was deluged with e-mails and phone calls. “Catholics only protect the priests. Jehovah’s Witnesses do it for any member of the church,” says Bowen, a former elder from Kentucky. Sara Poisson says that prior to her husband’s conviction for sexually abusing her daughters, church elders told her to “pray more and be a better wife.” Church spokesman J. R….

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