Grand jury investigators are ‘dead serious’ about revealing sexual-abuse cover-ups among Jehovah’s Witnesses

by David Gambacorta, Updated: February 14, 2020

Brian Chase listened carefully from his Tucson, Ariz., home last July as an investigator from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office introduced himself over the phone.

After some idle chitchat, the investigator asked: Was Chase familiar with the office’s 2018grand jury report, which showed that priests had sexually abused thousands of children at six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania?

“Just what was in the papers,” Chase responded, “and what I saw on Facebook.”

The investigator explained that the AG’s office was now working on a similar state inquiry, this time focused on the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But the agency was unsure of the scope of sexual abuse within the often-misunderstood religion, which was founded in Pittsburgh in the 1870s.

Chase, 52, had been raised a Jehovah’s Witness in Corry, a small town in Erie County. In the 1980s, when he was a teenager, Chase said, he was drugged and raped by a man who belonged to his congregation. Decades would pass before Chase understood that their stories were common within Witness communities across the country, but rarely reported to police.

“The scope,” Chase told the AG’s office official, “is pretty big.”

The existence of a Pennsylvania grand jury investigation into the Witnesses’ handling of child sex-abuse cases — the first of its kind in the country — was disclosed only a week ago, in a story by USA Today, which was met with a no comment from Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Read the full article here: https://www.inquirer.com/news/jehovahs-witnesses-sex-abuse-cover-up-pennsylvania-grand-jury-investigation-20200214.html

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