“Where is the apology?” Kathleen Conti asks the Governing Body

Kathleen Conti

On the day that Pope Francis begs child abuse survivors for forgiveness for the “evil” acts of some Catholic priests, Kathleen Conti has some similar questions for the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

On Friday (April 11, 2014) Pope Francis is reported as saying on Vatican Radio:

“I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil which some priests, quite a few in number, obviously not compared to the number of all the priests, to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children.

Pope Francis apologises to child abuse survivors

Pope Francis apologizes to child abuse survivors

The Church is aware of this damage, it is personal, moral damage carried out by men of the Church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children.

The BBC said “It is being described as his strongest statement on the issue so far.”

Last year a Commission was set up consisting of four women and four men to act as a group of experts from eight countries to look at “taking criminal action against offenders, educating people about the exploitation of children, developing best practices to better screen priests.”

Similar child abuse scandals have torn through Jehovah’s Witnesses. But there has been public silence from the Governing Body and so far no apology.

Today Kathleen Conti, drawing attention to the Pope’s statement asking for forgiveness, said:

Here is a bit of remarkable history in the making worth celebrating for victims of Catholic Priest child abuse.

“Now I await the day that the Jehovah’s Witness child abuse victims will hear an apology from the Governing Body at the Watchtower corporate offices in New York for the decades of pain and suffering they have endured. Instead of using their legal department to fight against the child abuse victims, why won’t the Governing Body not form a group of their own which includes outside experts in child abuse to help STOP child abuse in Jehovah’s Witness congregations worldwide like Pope Francis has done for the Catholics.

“Do away with the ‘two witness rule’ and stop encouraging Jehovah’s Witness families and congregation members to shun and ostracize abuse victims when they seek justice against the criminal act of child abuse they suffered at the hands of another Jehovah’s Witness.

SNAP also released a statement about Pope Francis’ apology stating:

“We agree with Pope Francis that Catholic officials understand, to some extent, the damage that has been done. Sadly, that understanding has lead to little real change.

“And the damage is still being done. It’s disingenuous to pretend, by using the past tense, that kids are not being sexually violated and predators are not being transferred and cover ups are not being perpetuated right now.

“The Pope also asked for forgiveness today. We believe it is dreadfully duplicitous for the Pope to ask forgiveness from hundreds of thousands of suffering victims and millions of betrayed Catholics while doing virtually nothing to spare hundreds of at-risk kids from heinous sexual violence right now.” (Full statement)

Kathleen Conti’s daughter, Candace Conti, won a legal battle against the Watchtower Society in June 2012 (currently on appeal). Kathleen now works with SNAP (Survivors Network for those abused by Priests) to draw attention to childhood sex abuse at the hands of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Details of the many child abuse cases including the Conti case can be found on JWsurvey Link

BBC – Pope Francis asks forgiveness for child abuse by clergy Link

NBC – News Pope Francis begs forgiveness for “evil” sex abuse priests Link

Susannah

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.

Comments

“Where is the apology?” Kathleen Conti asks the Governing Body — 6 Comments

  1. I could not agree more. I am also an ex Jehovah’s Witness. Not only did I have the humiliation of being sexually assaulted as a young teen and labeled rebellious and a liar by the elders. When I married I married a monster who also physically abused me. In fact I walk with a limp and spent time in the hospital with a blood clot due to his cruelty. I do not believe there will ever be an apology because people have to recognize that what they did was wrong. This type of wisdom is unheard of among the elite of the JW. Several basic teachings in my opinion must be eliminated before there is any head way in getting any type of apology or acknowledgement of harm done to others. They are 1. One should not criticize elders 2. Women are to be submissive and basically without any rights or control over their lives. 3.Education is not important. In fact its not beneficial and not what Jehovah likes. 4. It takes two witness’ before anything can be believed. This is one of the most insane ideas ever because most any type of abuse physical or sexual usually is not witnessed by anyone. 5. Elders are actually qualified to give advice and counseling. Just the damage that is done to a person spirit is horrifying when these unqualified and untrained elders dispense advice or punishment. 6. The basic mean spiritedness of the organization and that thought that they are the TRUTH.

    I am living in the state of Maryland and would love to hear for other ex witness in the area. Thank you in advance for your responses. Victoria

    • I can’t imagine the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses ever making a heartfelt apology. My daughter was also abused by a JW and to this day he is in good standing in the organisation. I do not want revenge but I do want justice. The repercussions of sexual abuse/assault continue to impact on my daughters life and relationships and this is something not addressed by the Watchtower Society either! I love the points made by Victoria, she is dead right.

  2. In Ed Stetzer’s final Interview with Boz Tchvidjian, Boz advises churches to help connect the family with a qualified trauma therapist. Hopefully your leaders will learn from people more experienced in this field.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/april/my-interview-with-boz-tchvidjian-part-4.html

    On a lighter note it was enlightening to play ‘Sade – Smooth Operator’ on one monitor, and at the same time listen/read the pope’s remarks on the other. After the Vatican demands justice for victims, I’ll quit listening to ‘Smooth Operator’. Until then its just a dog and pony show.

  3. What kind of parents allow their young child to accompany a single older man. Religious or not! I can’t imagine such judgement. Perhaps the parents should have had their rights removed for child endangerment.

  4. Hi Linda, I think I will say the same here as I said on your last comment.
    Thanks for popping by and defending child molestation. This is usually the JW response. No compassion and no understanding of this case and the numerous other cases where the elders under instructions of the WT allowed child molesters access to children. The recent Conti judgement said.

    “Watchtower, not the Congregation, dictated the conditions under which field service by child molesters was permissible. The jury could have found that Watchtower falsely claimed to have a policy that prevented child molesters from performing field service alone or with children, or, even if it had that policy, it did not impose the policy on the Congregation or Kendrick.”

    BTW Kendrick went to prison for molesting his step-daughter. Perhaps the compassionate and kind thing that could have been done by the elders would have been to stop him from having access to children.
    You may want to research on google – JW’s and child abuse and that may help you in understanding the numerous cases. I hope you will then be better informed as to why the organization was deemed negligent and why it is currently under investigation by the UK Charity Commission for the lack of safeguarding of children and adults.

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