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The Hearst Television National Investigative Unit’s year-long investigation, ‘Silent No More,’ uncovered new allegations of child sexual abuse and decades-long cover-ups inside a religious organization in the United States. We also learned investigators from Attorneys General offices in at least three states have been looking into the Jehovah’s Witnesses church – and that the number has likely grown since our four-part series aired in August and September of 2019. Perhaps most importantly, the survivors who agreed to speak on-camera for this series told us they now have a new sense of empowerment; one launched a non-profit, a few testified before state legislatures, several obtained attorneys, and all told us of the confidence they gained after being silent for so long.
Dateline NBC "examined allegations that Jehovah's Witnesses leaders have been covering up cases of child molestation... (Dateline) discovered that the general policy set by the church headquarters, the Watchtower Society, does not encourage the reporting of sexual abuse allegations to authorities, except in the 16 states where reporting by clergy of such allegations is mandatory... (Dateline) discovered one case in Nevada where the church's own internal records showed they were aware that an elder had been accused of molesting 17 girls, yet never passed that information on to the police. The primary case (Dateline) focused on involved a young women who alleged that her parents' best friend and a respected church leader had molested her from the time she was 5 until she was nearly 12 years old. At age 16, she came forward to church elders, who she says threatened to excommunicate her if she reported the case to police. She went to the police anyway. As a result, her family says they were shunned by other church members. In court, church leaders spoke on behalf of the accused molester, who ultimately was convicted and sent to prison."