The Jehovah's Witness Church in Australia received allegations of child sexual abuse involving more than 1000 of its members over a 60-year period but did not report a single claim to police, a royal commission has heard.
Instead, the church, which has almost 70,000 active members, followed its policy of handling allegations internally.
The opening day of the hearing into the Jehovah's Witnesses at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told that church elders blamed at least two victims for their sexual abuse.
The commission heard that alleged abusers could be cast out of the church if claims were proven but a requirement that at least two witnesses give evidence to an internal judicial committee meant many alleged perpetrators were not questioned.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/jehovahs-witnesses-did-not-report-1006-alleged-sex-abusers-to-police-royal-commission-told-20150727-gil1u7.html#ixzz3h4hrZW6u
Church elders could now face criminal charges for concealment of serious indictable offences and failure to disclose sexual offences against minors, counsel assisting the commission Angus Stewart SC said.