Sometimes it takes an explosive investigation to go viral for the government to react and open an investigation into sexual abuse allegations. While the state of Pennsylvania has declined to comment on whether there is a grand jury investigation into the Jehovah’s Witnesses, it would not be surprising. As we have recently learned, the Witnesses have likely engaged in a massive cover-up of child sex abuse for decades. At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., our Philadelphia child sex abuse attorneys are here to help victims in these cases recover the compensation they need.
The shocking bombshells just keep coming concerning the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their alleged cover-up of child sexual abuse for more than three decades. A recent documentary called The Witness was released on Oxygen and reveals the culmination of a five-year investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The investigation has shown that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have known about and kept extensive secret files of child sex abusers within their organization. They have actively worked to discourage members from reporting instances of sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities.
Now, we have learned that the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office has opened a grand jury investigation into how Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders handle incoming allegations of child sexual abuse. While the attorney general’s office has not confirmed this investigation, three people who have been called to testify in closed-door hearings have confirmed it.
One of the men called to testify, Mark O’Donnell, is a former Jehovah’s Witness. He told The Center for Investigative Reporting that investigators interviewed him for three hours in June of 2019. He says he was a Jehovah’s Witness for 30 years and left in 2014 after learning about child abuse cases in Pennsylvania and elsewhere that were covered up by the organization.
“They made it clear they wanted to go to the top of the organization,” said O’Donnell. He says that investigators asked him to testify in front of a grand jury, which he says he did for several hours in August in December of last year. “They wanted to understand how the child abuse policies operate, how the governing body operates.”
The Pennsylvania grand jury investigation is likely just the beginning of this story. We will keep you updated as more information begins to come out from within Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is working to get to the bottom of the Jehovah’s Witness sex abuse scandal. However, victims of Jehovah’s Witness should not have to wait to seek justice. At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., our compassionate team is ready to help if you or a loved one has been sexually abused within this organization. Our goal is to secure the compensation you are entitled to, which can include