For the past two years, Reveal reporter Trey Bundy has been uncovering how the Jehovah’s Witnesses hide child sexual abuse in their congregations – in fact, it’s official policy. The religion’s leaders have been going to extreme lengths to keep the details from public view. – by Reveal staff, Image: Anna Vignet for Reveal
On this episode of Reveal, we track down people who know the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ secrets and expose stories behind a religion with 8 million followers across the globe.
We begin in San Diego, where Trey meets an attorney trying to get access to a Jehovah’s Witnesses database containing the names and whereabouts of likely thousands of accused child abusers within the organization – living freely in communities across the U.S.
Later in the hour, we hear from a victim who tells us how the threat of being banished from their communities keeps members from reporting abuse.
Trey’s investigation also takes him to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, the Watchtower, where the culture of secrecy goes far beyond child abuse – it’s a core part of life. Watchtower leaders have refused to talk to Trey, but a former insider told him some of their secrets.
Finally, host Al Letson sits down with Trey to talk about why the FBI or police haven’t just stormed the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ headquarters and taken their child abuse files by force.
Note: This episode deals with sexual abuse and might be disturbing for some listeners.