PRESS RELEASE –
When you scan recent media headlines, you are likely to see more stories about Jehovah’s Witnesses (both past and present) coming forward with allegations of child molestation. While many of these reports focus on cases that have been successfully prosecuted, there are many more sexual abuse crimes that we never read about and often are not reported.
We know that it is extremely difficult for victims to come forward, particularly within high-control cultures like Jehovah’s Witnesses that discourage victims from reporting their allegations to authorities. Instead, victims and their families find themselves being coerced into having their cases handled internally by church elders. In too many of these situations victims are themselves further threatened if they want to also report their victimization to police or other secular authorities.
Besides victims and their families having to deal with their own emotions – and then trying to find their way through church policy entanglements – they are then prevented from coming forward and making criminal complaints because many states have “statutes of limitation.”
To correct this situation, members of the New York State Assembly have introduced new legislation to change state law to remove this barrier for those who were sexually abused as children.
AAWA fully supports this legislation. The proposed bill’s intent is to eliminate current statutes of limitations for certain criminal acts. It also revives civil actions for specific sexual related offenses committed against a child less than eighteen years of age.
Hearings on the “Markey Bill”…
How You Can Help
Whether you are a New York resident, a U.S. citizen, or a friend living in another country, you will find a letter template provided below that you can customize and send to any (or all) of the New York State Assembly members on the list.
Above all – let your voice be heard on this important issue!