PO BOX 311 , Calvert City , KY 42029
September 10, 2002
London , U.K. NW7 1RN
I wish to request a meeting with the Branch Committee on September 16, at 11A.M. to discuss Watchtower Policy on child abuse in the U.K. I also would like to see how we might work together to assist the Governing Body in the U.S.A. to adjust policy for better protection of Jehovahï¿½s Witness children.
I realize this is short notice but I am traveling several thousand miles to be in your area and feel our meeting could be very productive.
Below as you will note are the added sentences that did not appear in the letter to all congregations in the U.S.A. dated 5-24-02 . It has given many of our American brothers and sisters pause to see the difference between these two letters. The U. K. letter seems to go one step further than the U.S.A. counterpart. It states:
ï¿½Our position is that the secular authorities deal with crime while elders deal with sin. To avoid a miscarriage of justice elders must not interfere with, prevent, or impede any secular investigation into child abuse. They must ensure that secular laws are adhered to.ï¿½ (Romans 13:1)
ï¿½To that end they are instructed to contact the legal dept at Bethel whenever they receive information from even one person who alleges that child abuse has occurred. When a report is received guidance is given by the legal dept to ensure that:
1. The alleged victim and other potential victims are protected from possible abuse.
2.The council is given to report crime to the proper authorities and to comply with any additional ï¿½legal requirements.ï¿½
The elders know that it is the absolute right of the victim, his or her family or anyone else to report the matter to the authorities, if they so wish.ï¿½ (Galatians 6:5)
This difference gives credence to the following questions:
1. Why are U. K. brothers and sisters informed that all child abuse is reported to the authorities when in the U.S.A. they are not?
2. Why did the recent Panorama program in July, have several cases that indicated exactly the opposite occurred when U. K. Jehovahï¿½s Witness children were molested?
3. Why has there been no acknowledgement or apology to the victims who were hurt by Watchtower Policy?
4. Why did various police officials acknowledge that Jehovahï¿½s Witnesses did not cooperate with them when child molestation was investigated in the U. K.?
Questions like these deserve an honest and Christian answer to help the public know where the truth lay. It also serves to help fellow Jehovahï¿½s Witnesses see that the local Branch has nothing to hide and is willing to do what is right by their children.
In good faith I look forward to our meeting. As the Governing Body stated in the 5-24-02 letter to all congregations; ï¿½ The moral cleanness of the congregation continues to be of vital concern to the "faithful and discreet slave.ï¿½ (Matthew 24:45) This gives me hope we can find a productive basis to encourage the Governing Body to take the Christian course by placing the protection of our children as the highest priority in a religion that claims to be the only channel to God.
Thank you for your consideration and along with this letter goes my warm Christian love.
Very truly yours,
William H. Bowen
Next is the letter that was hand delivered to me at the gate of UK Bethel,
BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF BRITAIN
THE RIDGEWAY LONDON NW7 1RN
TELEPHONE 020 8906 2211
September 11, 2002
Mr. W. Bowen
P O Box 311
CALVERT CITY KY 42029
Dear Mr. Bowen:
We are receipt of your letter dated September 14, 2002 requesting a meeting with the branch committee in Britain.
The branch committee respectfully declines your offer to meet with them. They see no reason to discuss the questions you raise in your correspondence. The position of Jehovah's Witnesses on this serious issue is already a matter of public record. Our publications have consistently and clearly highlighted for many years that child abuse is an abhorrent and an unacceptable practice. We strongly believe victims need and deserve sympathy along with loving personal support and are already committed to doing what we can to render such assistance.
Watch Tower B. & T. Society
OF B R I T A I N
Company registered In England No. 3858051• Charity Reg. No. 1077061.
Registered Office: IBSA House The Ridgeway London NW7 1RN United Kingdom
The following are quotes of my conversation at bethel,
My conversation with WT UK:
I walk up to the Main office booth at the front gate of IBSA UK. At the window there are two brothers in the booth.
Bill: Hello how are you doing? I was wondering if I might speak with John Andrews?
(The brothers in the booth look scared to death)
Booth: OK, thank you.
Behind me at the door entrance Mark Lee in a blue shirt and red tie comes forward.
Mark: Ah hello good morning, it is good to see you and you are Mr?
Bill: Bowen (at this point I put my hand out for a handshake, he hesitates for a few seconds, but with the pause finally touches a df person)
Mark: Hello Mr. Bowen
Bill: Bill Bowen
Mark: Right, did you receive our letter that we sent to you in Kentucky?
Bill: My wife read that to me last night.
Mark: Right, I think it explains that our press officer is away from the country at the moment. So you are very welcome to make an appointment and we would be happy to make an appointment to see you to discuss any concerns you may have. We would require you to make an appointment for that purpose with our press officer.
Bill: Well ah, the letter that I sent asked to meet about 11 o’clock today that is the appointment that I requested.
Mark: Right and we did reply to that letter that you are welcome to access our website where our position is clearly made available. You are very welcome to make an appointment with our press officer he is out of the country at the moment but we don’t have anybody in the form of Mr. Andrews available to see you today.
Bill: So you do not think John can meet with me today?
Mark: I afraid he is not in a position to, no.
Bill: Ok I understand that, and what is your name?
(he sports a deer in the headlights look)
Mark: Ahhhhhhhh, well, ah, (mumbles) My name is Mark, Mark Lee?
Bill: Mark Lee?
Mark: That’s right yes
Bill: OK, I’m Bill Bowen, Ah as you may or may not know I have the organization silentlambs which is for Jehovah’s Witness victims of abuse, and so what we try to do is reach out and assist people to turn in child molesters and also give those within the congregation the ability to be believed when they come forward with their allegations. I know its sometimes offensive to even think there is a problem with child molestation within the organization but I’ve talked or been contacted by over 5,000 victims who were molested as Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Mark interrupts)
Mark: Right, if I could say to you I am really not in a position to discuss with you today any concerns you may have. I have no information regarding any specific cases that you might have in mind.
Bill: I understand.
Mark: I think what we might reiterate is that you are very welcome to make an appointment to see our press officer, we are happy to discuss any concerns you may have, I think you will agree that to do that by appointment is fair.
Bill: How would I go about making an appointment then.
Mark: Well, you are welcome to do that by telephone or in writing.
(Mark looks to the both behind me and says)
Mark: If I could just have a copy of the letter I have there, on the side, there we go. So that’s a copy of the letter. That we sent to you I think.
Bill: Ok very good…. Well like I said that was in America. If I may I would like to deliver a letter.
Mark: OK, that’s fine, we are happy to accept that no problem.
Bill: and also a lamb. (Mark looks surprised nervously says OK) That’s kind of like our symbol we are delivering this to Kingdom Halls and Branches around the world.
Bill: On September 27th, what that talks about (pointing at letter) is a silentlambs march in Brooklyn New York and there will be brothers and sisters from around the country who will go there to basically say we have a problem, it needs to be addressed. So I thank you for your time and I appreciate your cordiality. (At this point I put out my hand again and get a quick handshake, poor Mark has touched a df person twice, he will wash his hand for a week)
Mark: Alright good day gentleman, thank you for delivering the statement we appreciate that OK?
Bill: Very good.
Mark: Enjoy your day. Bye bye.