A recently released video showed a leader of the Jehovah’s Witnesses community telling a group of older members to destroy all records because “Satan’s coming after us, and he’s going to go for us legally.”
“The question is: Why has this come up?” said Shaun Bartlett, who is responsible for overseeing the record management, according to a video recording that was leaked online by an anonymous insider. “Well, we know that the scene of this world is changing, and we know Satan’s coming after us, and he’s going to go for us legally. We can see by the way things are shaping up. So the organization has said, ‘We’ve run into difficulties in the past because of the records we have.'”
Last year, a judge in California fined the Jehovah’s Witnesses corporate non-profit, the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, more than $2 million for refusing to reveal a compiled list of 775 suspected child molesters within the organization.
Several former members of the organization, which has millions of members worldwide and a strong standing in Philadelphia, have filed lawsuits against the group, claiming they were sexually exploited as children.
The Watchtower reportedly swept many such complains under the carpet and the abusers were protected by the support of the millenarian religion’s rules – such as the one where sexual assault victims were required to find two eyewitnesses to back up their allegations.
The leaders of the group repeatedly said they didn’t provide any sort of cover to the child predators. Though in the video Barlett didn’t explicitly mention the sex abuse lawsuits, he did explain to the elders how they needed to be careful about the handwritten notes and documents that could turn out to be a liability.
What’s even more alarming, at one point Barlett directed the attendees to destroy any documents they had in possession.
“And the reason is, is because there’s many comments that are sometimes made on drafts,” he said. “Those are the ones that get us in trouble.”
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