Two people who say that as children they were sexually abused by a leader in a Hillsboro Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation filed a $10.5 million lawsuit Monday – among the first in Oregon to accuse the religious organization of hiding decades of sexual abuse.
Attorneys for Velicia Alston, 39, and an unnamed man said the Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership continues to cover up sexual abuse against children by leaders. They say it is more than a decade behind other organizations, such as the Catholic Church, that have been forced to address their problems through many years of civil litigation.Source: Jehovah’s Witnesses under fire from former congregants who say child sex abuse was hushed, by Aimee Green.
I look for failure modes in stories like this. Secrecy is one of the primary failure modes in this story. When leaders act for the “good of the church” and hide the stories and the abusers, it allows abuse to flourish. Transparency, as disruptive and damaging as it can be, allows people and organizations to start healing and also builds awareness of the problem. JW’s of the world should demand transparency.