Jehovah's Witnesses accused of child sexual abuse cover-up

The Sunday Times has reported on allegations of child sex abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses community of Barry, South Wales. Kathleen Hallisey, our Senior Associate, is interviewed discussing the organisation’s lack of judgement and the secrecy imposed when allegations of child sexual abuse were raised.  AO Advocates is representing two victims of Mark Sewell, an Elder who was jailed for 14 years in July 2015 for raping a fellow worshipper and abusing two schoolgirls more than 20 years ago.  He also molested an employee.   

Kathleen says: “I think these cases are interestingly very similar to the way the Catholic Church has handled child abuse scandals.  The goal was to keep everything secret and deal with it in-house.  This demonstrates a lack of knowledge and judgment by officials of the organisation, whose first responsibility has to be towards the survivor.  Hushing up scandal hurts not only the survivor, but means that perpetrators aren’t exposed and survivors don’t realise they’re not alone”.