Jehovah’s Witnesses: 90 victims of sexual abuse come forward
Friday, 09 August 2019
Jehovah's Witnesses have come forward to report abuses too. Credit: Belga
No fewer than 90 victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation in Belgium have been discovered over a six month period, according to an association for victims.
The organisation “Reclaimed Voices” has worked with other groups in the country to identify cases within the Jehovah’s Witness organisation in Belgium, reports Le Soir.
“For most victims, it has been 10 or 15 years since the abuses took place,” Patrick Haeck, former Jehovah’s Witness and coordinator of the association. When they are still Jehovah’s Witnesses, people who contact Reclaimed Voices express an immense fear of confiding in them, he added.
An official investigation was launched following initial reports by the media in December 2018 and March 2019. Searches were carried out at the central headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Kraainem at the end of April, but the prosecutor’s office did provide an update on the case.
Jehovah’s Witnesses Belgium wants to collaborate with the justice system, said the spokesman for the organisation. In Belgium, Jehovah’s Witnesses say they have 25,000 members, Reclaimed Voices expects to eventually count 200 to 250 victims of abuse.
Some people come forward for several victims, explained Haeck, for example, parents who tell us that their three or four children have been abused.