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A further defence made by Watchtower is that, because Candace’s abuse was said to have happened ministry arrangements, it therefore had nothing to do with the ministry arrangements themselves.It is also suggested that the blame for Candace’s abuse lies with her parents, and that, in any case, it had nothing to do with Fremont elders because Candace was not a full congregation member.
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Indeed, this is precisely the course of action encouraged in the notorious October 1st 2012 letter to all elders for any who are “known to have sexually abused a child in the past.” “It would be appropriate for elders to talk kindly but very frankly to individuals who have manifested a weakness in this regard, strongly cautioning them to refrain from displaying affection for children, to avoid hugging or holding children on their lap, never to be alone with a child (other than their own), not to allow children to spend the night in their home, not to work alone in field service (hence, they should always be accompanied by another adult), and not to cultivate friendships with children.” – Letter to all bodies of elders, Oct 1 2012 If elders have no control or responsibility over who works with who at a field service arrangement, as Watchtower is insinuating in this reply brief, then precisely how are elders now expected to ensure that a known predator is always “accompanied by another adult” in field service?
A frankly sickening aspect of Watchtower’s argumentation is their insistence that they are ‘off the hook’ because the abuse happened For Watchtower to argue in such a callous manner demonstrates a complete disregard for the insidious nature of the crime and the case itself.
In one example of this, they claim there is no “proof” of her having been assigned to go in field service with Kendrick by a Fremont elder.
The fact that three elders testified to never having personally assigned Kendrick to work with Candace is used to support this assertion.
True, it could well be that Kendrick asserted himself and asked to work with Candace by himself, but had I been the group overseer receiving such a request, I would have found it more than a bit suspicious – especially if I was an elder and therefore had knowledge of his molestation of his step-daughter.
And even if it was a servant taking the group who was clueless as to Kendrick’s track record, that alone is no defence because the elders should have been aware that Kendrick and Candace were in the same group and should have accordingly issued instructions for him not to be allowed to work alone with her.Fremont elders have testified under oath that they remembered Candace as a child in the congregation during the period in question, and this alone implicates them if they knew there was a chance that she might come into contact with Kendrick, who they knew to be a child molester, but failed to stop this from happening.Twice in the following quotation Watchtower attempts to defend the lack of action in preventing the abuse by arguing that Fremont elders considered Kendrick to be “repentant.” Again, it is irrelevant whether or not the elders considered Kendrick “repentant” because they still had a basic duty to take reasonable measures to prevent him from spending time alone with other children.Precisely when and how the abuse ensued in relation to the timing of the ministry activity itself is irrelevant.Perhaps more shocking is Watchtower’s attempt to wash their hands of any responsibility for Candace by claiming she “wasn’t even a congregation member,” presumably because she wasn’t baptized.it can be said with confidence that their working together was with the supervision, knowledge and oversight of the group overseer, who in turn was selected by the congregation.