Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses to Escape Judgment for Crimes Against the Children?

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    3Mozzies posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 07:28:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 721 of 771
    Joined 8/22/2010

    From JW NEWShttp://jwnewsnetwork.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/governing-body-of-jehovahs-witnesses-to-escape-judgment-for-crimes/


    Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses to Escape Judgment for Crimes Against the Children?

    February 20, 2012

    www.jwnews.net

    article by Steven Unthank

    February 20, 2012

    Victoria, AUSTRALIA

    Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses to Escape Judgement for Crimes Against the Children?

    Suffer little children–forbid them not!

    Today, Monday, 20 February, 2012, I was formally notified in writing by letter that, Mr John Chapman SC, the Director of Public Prosecutions (the Crown), intends to exercise his power to take over all 5 criminal prosecution cases…

    “for the purpose of discontinuing them.”

    One of the 2 reasons given was that, in the opinion of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the prosecution of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watch Tower Society, and others, over criminal breaches of mandatory child protection laws was…

    “not in the public interest.”

    At 2.00 pm today I emailed a letter to the Director of Public Prosecution in response to his written letter. My entire unedited letter appears as follows…

    [Please note: all the alleged rapes and child abuse allegations mentioned in the following letter have been reported by myself and also by Latrobe Regional Hospital to Victoria Police. For reasons unexplained all investigations are currently on hold.]

    - page 1 -

    20 February 2012

    John Chapman SC
    Director of Public Prosecutions

    565 Lonsdale Street
    Melbourne
    Victoria 3000

    By email: director@opp.vic.gov.au

    Dear Sir,

    Re: Private Criminal Prosecution by Steven Unthank

    Corporate Accused: GOVERNING BODY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
    Case No.: B12083527

    Corporate Accused: FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE
    Case No.: B12083367

    Corporate Accused: CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
    Case No.: B12083108

    Corporate Accused: WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC.
    Case No.: B12083833

    WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA
    Case No.: B12082206

    This letter is to acknowledge receipt today of your letter dated 17 February 2012 (Your Ref: 2011-00944) and your written notification that “should the charges in respect of the five accused remain on foot as of Tuesday 21st February” then you will exercise your power under section 22(1)(b)(ii) of the Public Prosecutions Act 1994 (Vic) to “take over the prosecutions for the purpose of discontinuing them.”

    The right of a private individual to institute a prosecution for a breach of the law has been said to be “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of authority” (per Lord Wilberforce in Gouriet –v- Union of Post Office Workers [1978] AC 435 at 477).

    The action taken by myself in bringing criminal charges against the above corporate accused was initiated in December 2010 when I made personal application to the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. This course of action taken by myself on behalf of the community followed 2 years and 6 months of “inertia” by Victoria Police, the Child Safety Commissioner, the Department of Justice, and the State Government of Victoria.

    In June 2011 I was granted permission to bring private criminal charges against the above corporate accused in relation to breaches of the Working with Children Act 2005 section 35(1)(a)(b)(c). The “Charge-Sheet And Summons (Corporate Accused)” for each of the above corporate accused was filed in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria on 26 July 2011. The filing fees were paid for by a number

    - page 2 -

    of children within the Traralgon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was actually these young children who engaged my services for the purpose of protecting themselves from those who hold little or no regard in assisting in protecting these children “from sexual or physical harm by ensuring that people who work with, or care for, them have their suitability to do so checked by a government body.” Working with Children Act 2005 section 1(1).

    Among the group of children who engaged my services and paid for the filing fees from their pocket money including 2 young Jehovah’s Witness children from the Traralgon Congregation who had been raped by a fellow member of the religion. Recently the Latrobe Regional Hospital called in Victoria Police to investigate the abuse of a 3rd child from the Traralgon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. A Jehovah’s Witness elder, from the Traralgon Congregation was caught in a private room of the hospital standing over this young girl. The girl was completely naked. This elder had gained unauthorised access to the paediatric ward of the hospital. He was not invited by the hospital or the parents. In fact the parents had written to the church instructing them that this elder was to have no contact with their child as the parents were of the opinion that the elder was a child abuser.

    Another child who helped pay for the filing fees and had asked me to help him in this matter did so because many years ago his younger sister was raped by a member of the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses and he, as a very young boy, was powerless to prevent it. He witnessed the rape. During the rape the rapist inserted Lego blocks and figurines into his little sister’s vagina. This young boy froze in fear. Later he had to remove the Lego’s. The rapist remains a ‘fine upstanding’ member of the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses and regularly gives talks from the church podium in his local Jehovah’s Witness congregation, even though he confessed to the rapes to a number of Jehovah’s Witness ministers.

    I promised these children that I would do everything in my power to protect them and to see that they get justice, not just for the rapes and abuse, but justice against those who showed no regard for their sexual or physical safety and expressed this in action by refusing to comply with the Working with Children Act 2005.

    Over the days, weeks, months, and years to come, I can proudly walk within the Victorian community knowing that I did everything within my power and within my ability to protect these children and to protect the community. I will hold me head high.

    On the other hand, you have failed to protect these children, you have failed to serve justice, and you have failed to serve the community. The parents of these children have asked me to convey to you their abhorrence and outright disgust in you as a human being and as a public official because you never lifted your finger to help these children nor to serve the community. They have also asked me to inform you that they demand you immediate resignation as a violator of the human rights of these children.

    Our Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 states in section 8:

    (1) Every person has the right to recognition as a person before the law.
    (3) Every person is equal before the law and is entitled to the equal protection of the law.

    In section 17 of the Charter it states in law:

    17. Protection of families and children

    - page 3 -

    (1) Families are the fundamental group unit of society and are entitled to be protected by society and the state.

    (2) Every child has the right, without discrimination, to such protection as is in his or her best interest and is needed by him or her by reason of being a child.

    In your letter you stated that “on an evidentiary level, there is no reasonable prospect of conviction in relation to these offences.” My understanding, after an extensive search at the Supreme Court Library in Melbourne, is that there has never been a prosecution carried out in relation “to these offences.” There is enough evidence, namely, all the children and all the parents and the fact that the church elders (“ministers of religion”) did not have an Assessment Notice as required by the Working with Children Act 2005 for the entire time period referred to in the charges sheets.

    In your letter you stated a second and final reason for discontinuing the prosecution “it is not in the public interest.” Over 780,000 individual members of the public, in addition to thousands of clubs, charities, schools, organisations and religions, all complied with the Working with Children Act 2005. Only one organisation, that we know of, refused to comply. This thus provides irrefutable evidence that prosecution is in the best interest of the public.

    The prosecution is not in the best interest of Victoria Police as such a prosecution would prove an embarrassment to the Chief Commissioner and Victoria Police as they failed to enforce the law. The prosecution is also not in the best interest of the Department of Justice, nor the Child Safety Commissioner, nor the current State Government, nor the previous State Government, as none of these took any action to protect the children or to enforce child protection laws.

    To prosecute those who break child protection laws is in the best interest of the public and the community. Criminal breaches of child protection laws are of considerable public concern. To not prosecute is to weaken the law and undermine community harmony and public confidence in the administration of justice. The need for deterrence is paramount.

    On the 8th November 2011, I lodged with the Magistrates’ Court a “Charge Sheet And Warrant To Arrest” in relation to the following 7 individuals:

    GEOFFREY JACKSON (Australian)
    SAMUEL HERD (American)
    GERRIT LOSCH (Austrian)
    M. STEPHEN LETT (American)
    DAVID H. SPLANE (Canadian)
    ANTHONY MORRIS (American)
    GUY H. PIERCE (American)

    The above are the 7 members of the GOVERNING BODY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES (unincorporated body) and are also the 7 members of the FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE (unincorporated body). They also comprise the main individuals who make up the committee of management for the CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES (unincorporated body).

    The application for arrest warrants was due process in response to their failure to attend court in relation to the charges brought against them and under the proviso of section 45 (1)(a) of the Working with Children Act 2005.

    - page 4 -

    The application was referred by the senior registrar of the Magistrates’ Court at Latrobe Valley to the Chief Magistrate for comment. Subsequently I was notified that I have been granted to make application to the sitting Magistrate for a decision as to issuing in relation to each of the arrest warrants.

    This I intend to do prior to your taking “over these prosecutions for the purpose of discontinuing them.” My reasons for this are purely due process of the law. I have included a copy of each of the arrest warrants for your perusal. I ask for your support.

    Yours faithfully,

    Mr Steven Unthank
    Acting Prosecutor

    - [attachment] -

    - page 5 -

    COURT APPEARANCE SUMMARY

    On Friday, 12 August, 2011, each of the Corporate Accused were served with a Summons to appear in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria at Latrobe Valley. Affidavits of service were lodge with the court.

    The following are for your records on how each of the accused responded to the Summons and to the Charges:

    Corporate Accused: GOVERNING BODY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
    Case No.: B12083527

    Summoned to appear at the Magistrates’ Court at Latrobe Valley on 13 September 2011.

    • Failed to appear and were not represented by counsel.
    • Failed to appear or be represented for all subsequent court hearings.
    • No “Notice of Appearance” filed.

    Corporate Accused: FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE
    Case No.: B12083367

    Summoned to appear at the Magistrates’ Court at Latrobe Valley on 13 September 2011.

    • Failed to appear and were not represented by counsel.
    • Failed to appear or be represented for all subsequent court hearings.
    • No “Notice of Appearance” filed.

    Corporate Accused: CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
    Case No.: B12083108

    Summoned to appear at the Magistrates’ Court at Latrobe Valley on 13 September 2011.

    • Failed to appear and were not represented by counsel.
    • Failed to appear or be represented for all subsequent court hearings.
    • No “Notice of Appearance” filed.

    Corporate Accused: WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC.
    Case No.: B12083833

    Summoned to appear at the Magistrates’ Court at Latrobe Valley on 13 September 2011.

    • Failed to appear and were not represented by counsel.
    • Failed to appear or be represented for all subsequent court hearings.
    • No “Notice of Appearance” filed.

    - page 6 -

    WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA
    Case No.: B12082206

    Summoned to appear at the Magistrates’ Court at Latrobe Valley on 13 September 2011.

    • Represented by legal counsel.
    • Represented by legal counsel for all subsequent court hearings.

    Summary

    During every single court hearing the GOVERNING BODY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES, and the FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE, and the CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES, and the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC., all failed to appear or to be represented.

    Only the WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA was represented by counsel from Vincent Toole Solicitors. Mr Vincent Toole is the in-house lawyer for the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a minister of religion, and part of the committee of management for the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia. He was directly appointed by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses as their “direct representative.”

    [END OF LETTER]

    baltar447 posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 08:00:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 1031 of 2349
    Joined 3/11/2006

    Oh well, guess it was worth a shot.

    soft+gentle posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 08:09:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 336 of 1103
    Joined 7/8/2011

    Azazel posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 08:20:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 480 of 586
    Joined 12/1/2011

    This will be a miscarriage of justice if they escape answering the charges in relation to the Taralgon Cong at least.

    Az

    cedars posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 08:38:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 1580 of 5837
    Joined 8/7/2011

    So they can show contempt of court by failing to show up, and still get off scott free?

    That's justice for you.

    Terrible news to wake up to.

    Cedars

    nugget posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 08:41:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 2681 of 3915
    Joined 11/22/2009

    so sad these children must feel totally let down by those assigned to protect them. I sincerely hope this is not the end.

    soft+gentle posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 08:47:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 341 of 1103
    Joined 7/8/2011

    the WTS knows the law and they know what they can get away with.

    we also have a situation regarding a pedophile in our congregation and my own investigations regarding this tells me the law can only go so far. my advice is to do what you can and then accept that you can only go so far. Leave the WTS to karma/fate. meanwhile warn those who are at risk at a local level.

    Alfred posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 09:04:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 704 of 954
    Joined 9/10/2010

    The Watchtower has the best lawyers in the world...

    I saw this coming (although I was really wishing it didn't)

    By the way, "Not In The Public's Interest" usually means "Money Has Been Wired to Key Individuals"

    Phizzy posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 09:15:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 382 of 7415
    Joined 12/17/2011

    I wish continueing success for Steven Unthank in his efforts, it ain't over till the fat lady sings.

    WHY DON'T WE ALL E-MAIL THE D.O.P RIGHT NOW, NOTHING TO LOSE, LET HIM KNOW THE WORLD IS WATCHING.

    Be respectful, we only need to say we are concerned that should this case fail the WT will not take note of their responsibility to care for the vulnerable, and so around the world many more will suffer, as these poor children have.

    THEY ARE MANY HOURS AHEAD OF US IN TIME, WE NEED TO DO THIS NOW!!!!!

    director@opp.vic.gov.au

    Edited to add, I have e-mailed,9.30 am GMT, stating I am from the U.K and giving my full name and address.

    Amelia Ashton posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 09:46:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 459 of 1920
    Joined 11/2/2010

    When I told my daughter (law student) the prosecuter was not proceeding because in his opinion "it was not in the public interest" to continue her immediate reaction, no hesitation, was that the prosecutor " has been bribed"!

    I am still shocked by it all.

    My reaction now is, can we get this decision reported in the media?

    Phizzy posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 09:47:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 385 of 7415
    Joined 12/17/2011

    BTTT

    mind blown posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 10:09:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 265 of 1541
    Joined 3/29/2010

    @ Phizzy thanx for the info.....I sent an emai!

    I hope many of you will too....purdy please...... I'm heart broken.......

    mind blown posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 10:50:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 266 of 1541
    Joined 3/29/2010

    It's 2:48am here and I need a drink

    I have two email accounts and sent Mr John Chapman one from each.......

    sizemik posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:01:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 4539 of 5313
    Joined 3/21/2011

    My dissappointment is overshadowed by the way the kids in Traraglon must be feeling right now. I emailed the PPO as soon as I heard this from Steve . . . and will be following up with every avenue possible tomorrow. It would still serve the cause to not let this go without making as big a noise about it as possible. Please add your support if you can.

    F AnnOMaly posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:19:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 2213 of 4396
    Joined 8/11/2003

    Another child who helped pay for the filing fees and had asked me to help him in this matter did so because many years ago his younger sister was raped by a member of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses and he, as a very young boy, was powerless to prevent it. He witnessed the rape. ... The rapist remains a 'fine upstanding' member of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses and regularly gives talks from the church podium in his local Jehovah's Witness congregation, even though he confessed to the rapes to a number of Jehovah's Witness ministers.

    Question: Have there been no criminal proceedings for this case?

    "Not in the public interest" - say what?! At the very least, there should be some penalty for failing to obey the law which put kids at risk. It would then be on public record that a judgment was made against them which would serve as a warning to others.

    And what happened with the PayPal/funding fiasco?

    Amelia Ashton posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:25:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 460 of 1920
    Joined 11/2/2010

    I have sent an e-mail and also made it known I had been following the case from here in UK.

    cantleave posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:42:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 8077 of 13289
    Joined 6/25/2009

    Wow - Just wow!!!

    I am very saddened by this and will be writing to the prosecutor, for what it is worth.

    I feel for the kids and their parents.

    I would like to thank Steven Unthank for the time and effort he has invested in this.

    Azazel posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:51:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 486 of 586
    Joined 12/1/2011

    For me what is sad before i was DF i was a friend of Vin Toole and also of the two brothers who "handle" cases of child abuse within JW , all three are very well respected within the JW and i had respected them as well, but i feel sick thinking of how they allowed the welfare and protection of children "God's children" to come a distinct 2nd place to protecting the name of the WTS and of predatory JW's.

    Perhaps theres more than one way to shame them. Im just in need of ideas.

    Az

    M flipper posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:53:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 14225 of 17665
    Joined 3/7/2007

    I just sent a rip roaring E-mail off to Mr. Chapman from California out west here in U.S.A. Basically reminded him that we prosecute child molesters here in the States and gave examples of Warren Jeffs the Mormon pastor who went to prison for multiple child molestations, told him that 16 jW children were paid damages of 16 million $$$ in 2007 out of court by the WT society already , reminded him of the countless Catholic priests who have gone to prison- then asked him- What makes Jehovah's Witness leaders any different ? Don't the laws apply to the wT society just as they do to Catholics, Mormons, etc ?

    I essentially created a new a-hole for him to defecate out of ( figuratively speaking that is ). Told him that the Australia news media will get a hold of this and his job may be in jeopardy AND asked him if he was paid " hush money " from the WT society to not pursue these cases ? Told him I'm a concerned citizen in the U.S. who has had countless JW friends experience child abuse as kids in the religion and I need some answers as to WHY he is doing this. Let's just say it was a pretty straightforward e-mail. Peace out, mr. Flipper

    cedars posted Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:53:00 GMT(2/20/2012)

    Post 1581 of 5837
    Joined 8/7/2011

    I've just sent the following email:

    FAO John Chapman SC, Re. Steven Unthank cases

    Dear John I am the founder of jwsurvey.org - a website that is working to bring about reform among Jehovah's Witnesses. I was deeply dismayed to learn today of your recent correspondence with Steven Unthank, who is prosecuting several cases against the leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses relating to their contemptuous disregard for the safety of children in your state. I am led to believe that you have indicated to Mr Unthank that you wish to assume prosecution of all 5 cases with a view to discontinuing them. Your stated reason is that these cases are not in the "public interest". I am dismayed and outraged that you could reach this conclusion, given the fact that careless neglect of the accused has led to numerous children being molested in your state. How could this outrage conceivably fail to be in the public interest? You may not be aware, but the world is watching your actions very closely. Those of us who are forced to remain Jehovah's Witnesses on pain of being seperated from our families through shunning are praying that Mr Unthank will succeed in showing our Governing Body that they are not above the law. Insinuations are already spreading that your eagerness to discontinue the cases may be as a result of bribes having been exchanged. I can only trust that this is not the case, although I find it difficult to conceive of any other reason why you, as Director of Prosecutions, would happily expose the children within your jurisdiction to the willfully negligent malpractice of an organization that failed to even present itself at court when summoned. I can only hope that you will reconsider your position in respect of this case, and yield to the international condemnation of your actions in this regard. We will continue to watch this situation very closely in the hopes that common sense and a sense of duty towards the children of Victoria will prevail. Yours truly, John Cedars

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