Group alleging Jehovah's Witnesses abuse plans protest

Posted: Friday, September 13, 2002

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A group that claims child molestation is widespread among Jehovah's Witnesses is planning protests Sept. 27 at the denomination's world headquarters in New York City and elsewhere.

Silentlambs, a victim support group based in Benton, Ky., is organizing the rallies, including one in New York's Brooklyn borough. The Witnesses recently ''disfellowshipped,'' or excommunicated, Silentlambs co-founder William H. Bowen, who is a former elder.

Bowen alleges that the Witnesses keep child molesting incidents secret, won't let victims warn other members about abusers in their congregations, and cut off and shun those who speak out about the problem.

J.R. Brown, spokesman at Witnesses headquarters, declined comment. Denominational leaders insist they comply with state laws requiring them to report abuse claims and allow members to report fellow members to police.


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