ABC Nightline On Jehovah’s Witnesses: Major Child Rape Cover-Up Exposed (VIDEO)

The sexual abuse of children is a horrible crime, one that leaves its victims emotionally scarred for life. When the crime is covered up by a religious organization trying to save face, a much greater evil is committed.

The Watchtower, the organization that oversees Jehovah’s Witnesses, has been accused of covering up multiple cases of child rape. On Thursday, ABC Nightline turned their cameras on one particular victim, Candace Conti. She says she was abused at nine years old by fellow Jehovah’s Witness Jonathan Kendrick. ABC Nightline reports:

“When Candace was 9 years old she says she was abused by a well-liked member of her small congregation in Fremont, California. While door-to-door evangelizing, which Candace would do without her parents, she says Jonathan Kendrick began taking her to his house and molesting her. She testified that he abused her several times a month for what she says felt like two years.”

Conti recalls the nightmarish experience:

“I can remember feeling like — you know, the inside of me is screaming out to the people in the congregation for help. They wouldn’t listen to me unless I proved my case.”

Conti says she was frightened, but came forward years later after seeing Kendrick listed in a child sex offender registry. Kendrick was registered for abusing another child at another congregation. The child was the seven-year-old granddaughter of Kendrick’s wife.

According to Jehovah’s Witnesses elders, they knew Kendrick had sexually abused his wife’s granddaughter:

“[T]he elders knew that Jonathan Kendrick, who then held a leadership position in the congregation, had molested his own stepdaughter, his first known victim”

Jehovah’s Witnesses elders did not report the offense to police or inform their congregation; they simply stripped Kendrick of his leadership position within the church. Their reason for staying quiet was a confidentiality policy set by The Watchtower:

“[C]hurch leaders, ensconced in their New York City headquarters known as The Watchtower have fostered a policy of silence on child abusers. Some of whom have gone on to repeatedly offend.”

Conti first notified the Jehovah’s Witnesses about Kendrick. They did nothing, so she went to the police for help. Since Kendrick denied the abuse, their hands were tied. Conti finally sought help from an attorney, Rick Simons. Simons brought the case to trial and has this to say about Jehovah’s Witnesses:

“If ever there was a group that needs the sun to shine on them it’s this one, because if your doorbell rings on Saturday morning and your kid answers the door you don’t want that guy to be a child molester.”

The jury sided with Conti and awarded her $15 million in 2012. The Watchtower is appealing the verdict.

Another sexual abuse victim was awarded $13.5 million in 2014, six other people have settled out of court and at least one additional case is pending.

How is it that a religious organization can cover up acts of unspeakable evil, continue to claim the moral high ground and still find parishioners gullible enough to keep supporting them?

Watch the segment in full from ABC Nightline:

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H/T: The Friendly Atheist