Abuse survivors called liars by Stephen Lett, member of JW Governing Body

JW-TV Stephen Lett

The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses has sanctioned a public insult. It’s an insult made against child abuse survivors and others who have experienced sexual abuse and domestic abuse.

In an outrageous presentation on JW-TV, Stephen Lett (a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body) calls the abuse survivors – “liars.”

Unlike the Catholic Pope, this “great leader” Stephen Lett refuses to apologize or acknowledge any of the pain experienced by abuse survivors. He compounds the abuse with his denial and refusal to change damaging policies. His calling abuse survivors “liars” is secondary abuse.

The very brave adults and children watching as their perpetrators are sentenced in court – did not want to be victims. They did not want to be interviewed by police or put through court procedures. They did not want to describe what happened to them to a group of elders. They did not want to tell their parents or friends. In fact, many cannot even talk at all about their abuse and have yet to go to the police because they are afraid of losing contact and relationships with their parents and friends.

It is not easy to sit across from a person that has violated a sacred trust. For some victims, the details they’ve shared in open court are too horrific even for the newspapers to report.

Bravely, and with the support of trained professionals, abuse survivors are beginning to speak out. They do this to stop the perpetrators. They do this to find healing. When the children and adults step forward to tell their stories they still carry with them the guilt and shame heaped upon them by both the abuser and a religious organization in denial.

Victims have to attend courts where elders ignore them – and yet try to show love and consideration to the person who stole their innocence. They have to sit for days in court while being ignored by their own JW family members. They sit near the elders who questioned them while still children about the abuse, but then failed to accompany them to the police or make supporting statements.

For some survivors it takes years to find the courage to even whisper a name or stand against their abusers in a court of law.

Today, a group of abuse survivors want to speak directly to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and say: “When you call us liars, you also call the police, the courts and the jury ‘liars’ – even when the perpetrators were found guilty in court.

We demand an apology for this ridiculous statement.

The video by the GB member Stephen Lett will be shared with Governments, child abuse agencies, child abuse inquiries, UN departments for the protection of the child and lawyers.

“This kind of statement does nothing for the credibility of the JW organisation. It provides evidence to humble witnesses that the Governing Body has no compassion, has no intention of changing poor policies and is prepared to allow children to suffer.

Rachel Robbins who was abused as a child and whose daughter was sexually abused by her grandfather (a Jehovah’s Witness elder for eight years) said today:

Sometimes the emptiness and hurt I feel consumes me.

“I smile – I put a brave face on – but sometimes the thought of quiet and darkness is so comforting that I find myself wishing to go to sleep and never wake up.

“It is difficult to live knowing I was abused.

“Being called a liar is very painful when I know I am telling the truth.

“Obeying the elders, my parents swept it under the carpet. I received no help.

“Sometimes, I had to ask myself if it happened because no one would discuss it with me. But I know it did. I was only 6 when it started, and it went on for years. I know I wasn’t the only one he abused.

“We were all called liars, but I know they knew.

“Fast forward to adulthood/parenthood and because of what happened to me, I was always fearful of it happening to my children. I tried so hard to keep them safe to the point of paranoia at times.

“We are vilified. We are called liars. We have been shunned.
For what? For exposing child molesters and getting some form of justice.
But still we are made to feel like nothing. Like our suffering doesn’t matter.

Wendy, who was raped by Jehovah’s Witness elder Mark Sewell, said:

When I see these ridiculous remarks calling us ‘apostates’ for telling the truth, I feel complete and utter rage inside. I get that anxious butterfly feeling. How dare they say these things. In my case, the elders shredded all the evidence.”

Another abuse survivor said:

“I still cannot talk about what happened to me as a child of 10. I went to the police as an adult, and they were kind, and they believed me. I found out through them that my abuser was dead, but they still wanted to know who he was and what he did.

“They interviewed my JW family. My family admitted they knew and had said nothing as that is what was expected because the elders felt nothing more should be done. It is painful to know my family went along with this. The policies allowed this to happen, and the Governing Body should be called to account.

“Calling people liars for having courage to name a child molester is despicable.

Karen Morgan was abused as a child by Mark Sewell (who is now serving 14 years – and not disfellowshipped) said simply, “I would like to see a statement from Bethel that outlines EXACTLY what support they offer victims and their families. They keep saying they do so let’s hear exactly what they do.”

The outrage by abuse survivors is understandable.

Lee Marsh, President of AAWA (Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses), states:

“Mr. Lett’s comments about victims lying about their abuse serves one purpose: to intimidate Jehovah’s Witnesses from finding out the real truth. It is an attempt to make victims scared to talk. It may have worked when victims thought they were the only one but now they are reading stories of hundreds of other victims from around the world with similar stories of sexual abuse by Jehovah’s Witnesses and how they were all silenced by threats of expulsion for talking about it.

“They refuse to be silenced again.

“AAWA supports all victims who were abused by the very people they were told they could trust the most – their fellow Witnesses.”

Lee Marsh has written an article that explains why it is so important for abuse survivors to be believed and why they should tell their stories. Lee’s article “Why do we tell our stories can be found” here.

More information

A comprehensive list of articles about JW’s and child abuse can be found on JW-survey.

A link to the Stephen Lett’s talk can be found here

Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA) Link

Editor –
Stephen Lett on JW-TV tells Jehovah’s Witnesses to reject “false stories that are designed to separate us from Jehovah’s organization.” He then said, “think about the apostate-driven lies and dishonesties that Jehovah’s organization is permissive toward pedophiles. I mean, that is ridiculous, isn’t it? If anybody takes action against someone who would threaten our young ones, and takes action to protect our young ones, it’s Jehovah’s organization. We reject outright such lies.”


About Susannah

"Susannah," JWReport's News and Opinion Editor, is very familiar with the Watchtower Society and its leaders past and present. An experienced editor and writer, she was born and raised in the UK where she was an active Jehovah's Witness until she was 28. She now lives and works in southern Europe.


Abuse survivors called liars by Stephen Lett, member of JW Governing Body — 14 Comments

    • I used the above link and it just took me to the June 2017 broadcast. I did a search for February 2015 but the speaker wasn’t even Lette doing the video. Where else can this video be found in their website?

  1. Aloha Susanna. Thank you for this article. I’m writing from Hawaii, my home. This article shed light on something so despicable, I had to comment. This needs to go to the top level representatives of any government that will listen. And the UN.
    There needs to be an open call to any lawyers out there that can set up a couple class action lawsuits. This abuse issue is paramount, because of the constant denials and stonewalling at GB headquarters. The second issue follows naturally as a consequence of the first. Shunning of victims…by family, former friends and the victims previous community shared by religion. This shunning policy is so insidious and pervasive that it needs worldwide recognition. JWs are not a harmless charity. Their sheep in wolves clothing empire needs a lot of truth and light shed on it.
    I see the new recruitment carts all over big cities now. If the world knew the real beliefs and teachings of this doomsday cult I very much doubt the Jaws would be given public space to set up carts. People need to know the truth.
    Please, if anyone out there is a legal expert, please help us all. Aloha

  2. I live within a mile of a Kingdom Hall that is being sued by a victim of sexual child abuse. I live within 20 miles where another Kingdom Hall is being sued for the same reason. I live within 8 miles where a chuld was molested and the elders would not act because the little girl did not have eye witnesses, but a teacher believed her and the pedophile a fellow employee of mine went to jail. I know of a 14 year old girl molested within 5 miles of where I live. I learned about two weeks ago that a relative of mine was molested, with the knowledge of the elders who did nothing. I believe we will here of more cases as time goes by.The arrogance is mind-boggeling. The fact that they have settled so many cases suggests that there is merit to these lawsuits.

  3. Until recently I had been a long time member of JW. As a former Elder I have been aware of the child sexual abuse for many years. It sickens me to have learned first hand of the unreported abuses even within my own family. For example I became aware of my younger sister being abuse starting at age 14 thru age 16 by a well thought of very respected elder. I spoke to the authorities but they said too much time had passed and there was nothing that could be done. The elder was judicially reproved but what frustrates me is that people new of the abuse for a long time and did nothing about it. My sister who was baptized has not associated with JW ever since and her life is a disaster.
    Another case involved a Mid 20’s pioneer brother. All the families are encouraged to have their children associate with ones like that because they are an example to follow. Little did we know at the time he was molesting young boys when they would spend the night. This happened on many occasions over a several year period. he was employed as a nurse and had access to drugs and would drug the boys and then abuse them. He was finally was caught because one of the boys had a reaction and had to be take to the hospital. Anyway at least six boys were abused and unbelievably no parent or elder reported the abuse. The man was disfellowshiped and continues to this day, 25yrs later, to have suffered no consequence for the abuse. I could go on and on about many other cases.

    • JW’s deserve what’s coming to them I hope the Organization is destroyed over this I am a victim of rape in Colorado in nothglenn congregation! Catholics at least take some responsibility for their wrongs at least admitting it! Liars we are hmmm… I wonder if their beloved Jehovah feels the same as those horrific words! They cover up sexual abuse and spousal abuse too!I should know I endured it! They offer no appology for their actions how sad! I am far from a liar I went to court against mine but only to discover 64 other victims were in court. He got time for his crimes that started with me in 1984. Liars huh we’ll see who pays the victims or the Organization!!!!!!kikik

      • i am not a witness but I have family that is. I am so sad at what I have found on my research how do I research out side of utube such as
        Actual court documents so when I talk to my family it’s not coming from what they consider apostate sources

      • I know a! My mother was told if she ever left dad (a woman and child basher of 5 children) that it would be her fault if he was to commit adultery by remarrying!

    • I know a! My mother was told if she ever left dad (a woman and child basher of 5 children) that it would be her fault if he was to commit adultery by remarrying!

  4. When I was 3 an a half years old a Jehovah’s witness named Ken police molested me he was a good friend of my father which I found out afterwards that he had been molesting my 3 older sisters for a while, he threatened them that if they told he would hurt their little sister (me) but when I hid behind mum one day she wondered why until my oldest sister spoke out. The elders said that we got together and made up this lie. They told my parents not to go to the police because that would slander their name (Jehovah’s witnesses). He continued to practice the religion and had even approached me again when I was 6 years old, dad found him talking to me alone and snapped me up asking if I didn’t remember what he did, at that stage I didn’t but I got memory flash backs at the 14 years old and now I remember everything, my mum is still a Jehovah’s witness and thanks to facs (docs) she is raising 3 of my children of which makes me mad because she is making them be Jehovah’s witnesses and there is nothing I can do about it! Ken police died of old age un-convicted and later on we found out he did it to his families kids for years!

  5. I followed the link but it only took me to the June 2017 broadcast. I did a search for February 2015 but the speaker wasn’t even Lett.

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