Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Jehovah's Witnesses sued in abuse suit

The lawsuit, filed last week in Suffolk Superior Court, highlights a sexual abuse scandal that has begun to envelop a religious group other than the Catholic Church: Jehovah's Witnesses, who claim 1 million followers in the United States and 6 million worldwide.Those who have filed lawsuits against the church - calling themselves ''silent lambs,'' because they say the church has discouraged them from getting help - argue that doctrine requiring alleged sexual abuse victims to produce witnesses to their molestation breeds an environment that favors abusers and allows abuse to thrive. They also charge that the church's policy of investigating complaints on its own, and discouraging reports to authorities, is illegal.

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