Watch Tower Society Facing Criminal Charges and Indictment in Australia

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    AndersonsInfo posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 01:52:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

    Post 638 of 1236
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    AndersonsInfo is reporting the following news about the "Criminal Charges and Indictment of the Watch Tower Society in Australia" by taking some extracts from different parts of Jehovah's Witness, Steven Unthank's blog site, http://www.jwnews.net . Please go to the blog to understand the "Indictment" and for detailed reading there is much more information found in a:

    pdf version of the 664 page document "The Submission 2011" being the: Brief of Evidence for the Charging, Indictment, and Prosecution of "the faithful and discreet slave", and the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc., and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia, and Others..."for offences committed against the Victorian (Australia) Working with Children Act 2005 as it applies to "religious organisations" click on the following link:www.mediafire.com/submission "In 2006, the Victoria (Australia) Government introduced mandatory child protection laws to help protect children from sexual or physical harm by preventing those who pose a risk to their safety from working or volunteering with them. It is an offence to knowingly engage in or engage someone in “child-related work” without them having passed a Working With Children Check. The deadline for compliance by "religious organisations" was 1 July 2008. The Watch Tower Society refused to comply."

    Wednesday, 30 March 2011 ve" and the Governing y of Jehovah's Witnesses
    The week commencing Monday, 18 April 2011, is the earliest date set down for the filing of the following document: "Charge-Sheet and Summons (Corporate Accused)" against the Committee of Management for the Religion of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    These documents will be filed at the Magistrates' Court of Victoria by Steven John Unthank.

    Address: Latrobe Valley Magistrates' Court, 134 Commercial Road, Morwell 3840, Victoria, Australia.

    On the recently received advise of the Senior Registrar, Magistrates' Court of Victoria, a number of document "deficiencies" are being addressed so as to comply with Section 14 of the Victorian Criminal Procedure Act 2009.

    This includes identifying the entity "the faithful and discreet slave" as to whether it (they) are incorporated or unincorporated (i.e. an unincorporated body) and the individual name of at least one elder who represents "the faithful and discreet slave" and who is appointed by "the faithful and discreet slave" to work with children in at least one Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in the State of Victoria.

    It is only the Committee of Management for the Religion of Jehovah's Witnesses that is facing Criminal Charges. Individuals are not being charged in the first round. Why?

    If the Committee of Management for the Religion of Jehovah's Witnesses pleads "not guilty" to criminal breaches of the Working with Children Act 2005 or fights the charges then documents can be immediately filed for the individual Charging of each member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses and each Director and Voting Member of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

    That is why a "Special Resolution" was presented on page 589 of the document "The Submission 2011", par. D17.63-64 and of which was introduced as follows:

    [EXTRACT]

    "The VOTING MEMBERS of WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC. are left with very little option but to pass a “Special Resolution” to the effect of:

    “…We the voting members of Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc. hereby resolve by Special Resolution over the next 28 days to effect:

    1. the voluntary winding up of Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc. and all worldwide subsidiary corporations, agencies and legal entities;

    2. to place all assets, including the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, in “trust” under external administration for and on behalf of the children of God whom we have abused, with half of all assets to be distributed to the poor, and financial compensation and punitive damages to be paid where deemed appropriate;

    3. to reverse and cancel all excommunications (disfellowshippings);

    4. to cancel all financial debts;

    5. to hand-over all legal titles of all Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide to their local congregation members; 6. to remove all elders and ministerial servants from their congregational positions;

    7. to dissolve the Worldwide Order of Special Full-Time Servants of Jehovah’s Witnesses;

    8. to destroy all congregational records and records under the control of “Watch Tower Society” on members of the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses and on members of the public, which are held as an “account of the injury”;

    9. to plead guilty to criminal breaches of the Victoria (Australia) Working with Children Act 2005 as and when required; and

    10. to issue a worldwide public apology to mankind, and to Jesus Christ, and to JEHOVAH GOD for our “sins” and actions as religious leaders."

    Quotes of Support and Encouragement
    received by Steven Unthank in relation to his actions to protect the children associated with the Religion of Jehovah's Witnesses in the State of Victoria and in relation to his actions to Charge and Prosecute the entire worldwide religious hierarchy of the Watch Tower Society
    "I also believe full compliance with the Working with Children Act 2005 should be enforced upon all persons, groups and organisations...I do believe that the issue should be readily investigated and debated. I fully support and would take action to forward investigation into this issue. I shall keep you posted on developments relating to this issue as we, the current government, seek to remedy errors and oversights by the previous government."
    - The Honourable Andrew Katos, MP, Parliament of Victoria, State Member for South Barwon, dated: 2 March 2011, in a personal letter addressed to Steven Unthank.


    "All children are precious. As a community, we all share the solemn responsibility of caring for and protecting children. Everyone in the community has a role to play."
    - The Honourable Frank McGuire, MP, Parliament of Victoria, State Member for Broadmeadows, dated: 17 March 2011, in a personal letter addressed to Steven Unthank.


    "Child abuse in all of its forms is a matter of significant concern. I am encouraged by the steps that you have taken in attempting to address this."
    - Pam White, (Acting Executive Director) "Children, Youth and Families", Victorian Department of Human Services, in a letter addressed to Steven Unthank.


    "The particular concerns you have raised...are very important concerns."
    - The Honourable Brendan O'Conner MP, Commonwealth Minister for Justice, dated: 21 December 2010, in commenting on breaches of the Working with Children Act 2005 by the Watch Tower Society, in a letter addressed to Steven Unthank.


    "It is a matter which must be thoroughly investigated..."
    - Jeremy Rapke QC, Director of Public Prosecutions (Victoria), commenting on the seriousness of alleged criminal breaches of the Working with Children Act 2005 in a letter to the Honourable Neale Burgess MP, entitled "The Committee of Management of the Religion of Jehovah's Witnesses".


    "Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention...My staff have contacted the Department of Justice's Working with Children Check Unit and Victoria Police seeking more information."
    - Bernie Geary OAM, Victorian Child Safety Commissioner (http://www.ocsc.vic.gov.au/), in a letter addressed to Steven Unthank.


    "Steven...You have articulated your concerns extremely well and I thank you for doing so...these are important matters and I thank you for taking the time to raise them with me. Wishing you well."
    -The Honourable Russell Northe MP, Parliament of Victoria, State Member for Morwell, dated: 6 March 2011.


    "I am very concerned by the allegations...[ongoing criminal activities of the Watch Tower Society]...they are very serious matters."
    - Senator Nick Xenophon, Commonwealth of Australia, dated: 9 March 2011.
    Other Quotes (Good and Bad) "I confirm that the Working with Children Check Unit has written to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia to ensure that the Society is aware of the requirements of theWorking with Children Act 2005."
    - Joyce Prinzi, Acting Director, Working with Children Check Unit, Victorian Department of Justice, dated: 18 August 2009, in a letter of confirmation addressed to Steven Unthank.


    "If any members of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses are concerned about the [sexual or physical] safety of their children then they should leave the church."
    - direct quote from Sergeant Ralph Walker, Victoria Police liaison officer, March 2011, in relation to criminal breaches of the Working with Children Act 2005 being committed by the Watch Tower Society.


    "Dear Steven, Thank you for your email. I would be happy to review any responses you receive from the Ministers you have written to about these matters."
    - The Honourable Anthony Carbines MP, Parliament of Victoria, State Member for Ivanhoe, dated: 1 March 2011.


    "Pl[ease] unsubscribe from your email list."
    - The Honourable Christine Campbell MP, (ALP) Parliament of Victoria, State Member for Pascoe Vale, dated: 15 March 2011, and comprising legal instructions sent in one of two different emails, informing Steven Unthank to no longer send information regarding child protection matters and breaches of the Working with Children Act 2005 by the Watch Tower Society, within the electorate of Pascoe Vale. Note: The Honourable Campbell MP, is the only State Member of Parliament that has declined or refused to pursue matters of child protection within their own personal electorate. http://www.christinecampbell.com.au/


    "Now it's time for our politicians to do what I believe most of them entered politics to do in the first place--make the place better. Long after the branch stacking and back-room machinations, real leaders reflect on their legacy. The old line that "the biggest person is the one who bends to help a child" rings true . . . Australians are slow to move sometimes, but when the time comes, when the people and the leaders of our community say "enough is enough", then it is amazing how quickly things can turn around."
    - Mr. Eddie McGuire in writing about those who commit criminal offences against children within the State of Victoria. Date: 20 September 2009, Focus column, Sunday Herald Sun newspaper.

    poopsiecakes posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:03:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    wow

    skeeter1 posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:03:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    Joined 12/3/2005

    You're not joking - this ain't April Fools!

    I am going to get a beer, read, and digest this a few times! Holy shmolly! Armegheddon is here, and the governments are going to turn on False Religion afterall!

    PublishingCult posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:15:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    bookmarked

    dgp posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:18:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    Bookmarked.

    onemore posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:19:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    Barb...is this an "official" indictment or a "request" for an indictment?

    M jwfacts posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:27:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    Joined 6/25/2005

    Thank you for posting the information Barbara. Whilst I cannot comment on the legal aspects, I think that this has huge potential to be damaging to the Watchtower in Australia once the media picks up on it.

    So others are aware, I have spoken with Steven and can verify for his legitimacy and I also know many of the people mentioned in the Submission personally.

    AndersonsInfo posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:31:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    Joined 4/22/2005

    I think it's this:

    "The week commencing Monday, 18 April 2011 is the earliest date set down for the filing of the following document: "Charge-Sheet and Summons (Corporate Accused)" against the Committee of Management for the Religion of Jehovah's Witnesses."

    I'm quite unfamiliar with Australian law and we'll need Steven Unthank to explain this or an Australian legal expert.

    lil princess posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:35:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    crazy aussies, just tell them "a dingo ate my documents. god save the queen

    F Lady Lee posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:38:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    My jaw is on the floor but knowing how duplicitous the WTS can be I won't hold my breath too long

    Justitia Themis posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 02:42:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

    Post 1716 of 2543
    Joined 2/21/2006

    A cursory glance seems to indicate that this is a "private" action being commenced, and all the legal documents I downloaded are signed by Mr. Unthank and not a government official.

    Additionally, the statute copied at the beginning of this thread is Mr. Unthank's opinion of how the statute could be interpreted and re-written to include the term "faithful and discreet slave."

    M flipper posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 03:00:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

    Post 11940 of 17538
    Joined 3/7/2007

    BARBARA- Holy Moly ! I feel like this has a possibility of REALLY turning the screws of justice on the WT leaders in Australia. And from what I gather from reading it- if they don't want to play ball and honor the Working with Children act of 2005 - then by extension the Bethel GB members at New York would be implicated individually with possible criminal negligence ! Am I reading this correctly ? I hope so. The leaders of this organization have been too arrogant for far too long and too lax in protecting children from molesters. Bring it on. It's about time. Peace out, Mr. Flipper

    skeeter1 posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 03:00:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

    Post 3023 of 5279
    Joined 12/3/2005

    This is from another country. Here's my initial take:

    1) A state in Austrailia wrote a basic law that required everyone who worked with children to get a special license (background check). The law was passed in 2005ish. It's purpose is to put the public at ease that everyone who works with children has had a background check, and if something comes up...the state can revoke the license.

    2) This law was required by all, from school teachers to ... even the Catholic church has obtained its licenses for its priests, nuns, choir directors, etc.

    3) The Watch Tower has it in its corporate charter and various other materials that it works with children. It preaches the gospel to children, meets children at the door, conducts Bible studies, oversees children in its ministry, and even in the construction of new buildings. Clearly, the Watch Tower is no more exempt from this law then the Catholic church.

    4) The Watch Tower has been put on notice that it is required to have these licenses for the CO's, DO's, MS's, Pioneers, Publishers, etc.

    5) The Watch Tower refuses to get the license or to tell the JDubs to get it. ...... This begs the question, "Why?" Theh law imposes fines and criminal liability for not getting it. So, why not get the license? What is the Watch Tower hiding in its ranks? Is it a pedophile ring?

    6) The government is supposed to ensure that the laws are followed. But, the Watch Tower has gotten a "get out of jail" card for free? Does the nice dress of Watch Tower officials and rank & file fool the government into thinking they are exempt? Is there corruption between the Watch Tower and the government?

    7) If the government looks the other way, can a private citizen enforce the law? This happens in the United States with 'citizen arrest' and it is available in both Australia and in its states, like Victoria

    Laws by country

    [edit] Australia

    The power to arrest is granted by both federal and state legislation, however the exact power granted differs depending on jurisdiction. The power to arrest for a Federal offence is granted by s.3Z of the Crimes Act 1914. [ 2 ] Under the Act, a person who is not a police constable may, without warrant, arrest another person if they believe on reasonable grounds that:

    • the other person is committing or has just committed an indictableoffence; and
    • proceedings by summons against the other person would not: ensure the appearance of the person before a court in respect of the offence; prevent a repetition or continuation of the offence or the commission of another offence; prevent the concealment, loss or destruction of evidence relating to the offence; prevent harassment of, or interference with, a person who may be required to give evidence in proceedings in respect of the offence; prevent the fabrication of evidence in respect of the offence; or would not preserve the safety or welfare of the person.

    A person who arrests another person must, as soon as practicable after the arrest, arrange for the other person, and any property found on the other person, to be delivered into the custody of a constable.

    [edit] Victoria

    In the Australian state of Victoria, the power to arrest is granted in section 458 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). [ 3 ] It states that a person may, without a warrant, arrest a person that they find committing an offence for one or more of the following reasons:

    • to ensure the appearance of the offender in court, and/or
    • to preserve public order, and/or
    • to prevent the continuation or repetition of the offence, or the commission of a further offence, and/or
    • for the safety or welfare of the public or the offender

    A person may also arrest another person if they are instructed to do so by a member of the police force, or if they believe on reasonable grounds that they are escaping legal custody.

    Section 461 states that if an arrest is made under 458 of the Crimes Act, and is later proven to be false, then the arrest itself won't be considered unlawful if it was done so on reasonable grounds. Section 462A allows any person the right to use force ‘not disproportionate to the objective as he believes on reasonable grounds to be necessary to prevent the commission, continuance or completion of an indictable offence or to effect or assist in effecting the lawful arrest of a person committing or suspected of committing any offence’.

    So, it appears that Mr. Unthank is making a citizen's arrest on the Watch Tower/elders/etc for not complying with this child license/background check act! This will garner the attention of the media, most likely. How can the politicians and/or police ignore it then?

    As for the "Jehovah and Jesus" language, well it reads darn strange to me as a US citizen where separation of Church and State has even taken out swearing on the Bible as part of taking the perjury oath. But, perhaps in Austrailia which is based more on the King of England's common law where the King got his authority from God? But, it's just strange for me to read that part of the website quoting all the bible verses!

    Skeeter

    M steve2 posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 03:03:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    Joined 10/31/2004

    Please, Lady Lee, pick your jaw off the ground; it's not a nice look. A careful reading shows this is a private individual's manoeuvre that has extremely little chance of going ahead and if it does proceed, will have little crown authority over the Watchtower Society in the USA. You'll note that the latest date for compliance with the Victorian act was July 2008 - almost 3 years ago. That no prosecuations have ensued suggests this ain't the news blast it's claimed to be. I'd also suggest that it probably isn't just the JWs who have failed to comply.

    AndersonsInfo posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 03:19:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    Yes, Justitia it appears you are right but Australian law allows for this type of action, or so I'm told. I was also told that Mr. Unthank acts as "prosecutor" too which to me is very unusual as compared to US laws. It is confusing and that's why the personal replies from politicians to Mr. Unthank were included that seem to indicate that what he has done is acceptable. One thing for certain, the Watch Tower is in non-compliance with the law since 2008. I looked on the Internet to see if I could find out what the other religions have done in this regard and they have complied. Why Watch Tower hasn't is a mystery. Perhaps we will be hearing their reasons for not doing so if they have to appear before an Australian magistrate.

    Posting this information about "The Submission 2011" was sure to generate many comments and questions here on JWN, but it is news that surely would interest all of us and to see if it has validity.

    M jwfacts posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 03:25:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    Steve2, there are 700,000 people in Victoria that hold WWC cards, and according the Steven the only religion not to have applied for them. Baptists as an example have a very well defined process to ensure that their ministers comply with this law. Since Steven has confronted the Watchtower about this some years ago, I am sure the Watchtower has good reasons for why it has not complied. What will be interesting is whether:

    1. the Watchtower's legal teams reasoning holds up in court
    2. how the media feel about the Watchtower deciding not to get these cards when other religions do

    It was in shortly after this Victorian rule was introduced (and as a direct result) that Witnesses stopped conducting Scripture classes in Australia due to their unwillingness to comply. It says volumes about how the Watchtower is trying to keep the secrets of its Ministers out of the spotlight, in favour of doing what is best for its children.

    skeeter1 posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 03:36:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    In looking at this act, it's implications are not small and the Australian legislature recently agreed with the Act Victoria has given out over 700,000of these notices! That's alot of people who are complying with this law. This law is being phased in, and many chuches, schools, sporting clubs, etc. have complied.

    I am definately not going to diss this idea that the Watch Tower is not culpable. Clearly, in reading the law and webpages on this subject, the Watch Tower falls under the law. And, alot of other Victorians are getting their license!

    Statistics

    The Working with Children (WWC) Check commenced April 2006. Statistics for the period 3 April 2006 to 31 December 2010 are as follows:

    • Number of WWCCU Assessment notices issued 702,924
    • Number of Interim Negative Notices issued 881
    • Number of Negative Notices issued 614
    • Assessment notices issued following a review by VCAT 54

    skeeter1 posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 03:49:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

    Post 3025 of 5279
    Joined 12/3/2005

    Related orking with Children Act 2005

    Return to normal view

    What is Checked

    The Working with Children(WWC) Check involves:

    1. a national police records check
    2. a review of findings by specified professional disciplinary bodies (currently the Victorian Institute of Teaching and the out of home carers Suitability Panel. Other professional bodies will be included in the future).
    3. consideration of any relevant determination by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal under the Health Professions Registration Act 2005.

    Broadly, the criminal offences of most significance for a WWC Check are:

    • serious sexual offences
    • serious violent offences
    • serious drug-related offences
    • offences against the Working With Children Act 2005 itself.

    The national police records check may reveal criminal history information held by police in Victoria and other States and Territories. Further information can also be sought from other bodies, such as the courts, Corrections Victoria, the Department of Human Services and employers. This information can include circumstances where a court has:

    • made a formal finding of guilt in relation to an offence
    • convicted you of an offence
    • accepted a plea of guilt from you
    • acquitted you of an offence because of mental impairment.

    It can also include information about:

    • any spent convictions you have
    • convictions and findings of guilt from when you were a child (aged under 18)
    • any charges which are pending against you
    • the circumstances surrounding any of these charges or convictions.

    ....

    What strikes me the most, is that the government has access to your public health records. Tell a psychologist you dream of little Johnny, and you would be denied a card....

    What strikes me also...is that the Watch Tower doesn't want to comply with this law. Like a child who doesn't want to show his parents the report card, the Watch Tower doesn't want to show the government their peoples' records.

    Perhaps the Watch Tower is viewing this as a draft card or giving the government too much information on who is a JW...becuase they fear the government may one day use it to round them up! Perhaps that is the GB's fluff reason, and the real reason is that they know alot of the elders and rank & file will not pass the check.

    Skeeter

    M steve2 posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 03:52:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    Joined 10/31/2004

    I promise to stop yawning when I see action. Compliance was expected in mid 2008. That's almost 3 years of non-compliance and still no action by the courts. That it falls upon a private individual, rather than a state body, to take it to court shows how hands-off the Australian government is. There is a world of difference between a religion refusing to comply and refusing to comply because it's got something to hide. The interesting thing is how a private individual - and not the police or state government - will try to prove the Watchtower Society has got something to hide.

    Justitia Themis posted Tue, 05 Apr 2011 04:05:00 GMT(4/5/2011)

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    that Witnesses stopped conducting Scripture classes in Australia

    What are scripture classes? Where are they held? Are they personal bible studies or something at the KH?

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