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Jehovah’s Witnesses lose appeal over abuse report

The government need not remove a report of sexual abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses from the Internet. Also, the state does not have to post rectification.

The court in Arnhem decided today on appeal that the Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer have a so-called urgent interest in their demands. The report was published months ago on Rijksoverheid.nl and wodc.nl and is also available on numerous other websites. “There is therefore insufficient urgency for removal or rectification.”

The court also states that removing the report will probably not result in the House of Representatives not discussing the results. Also, according to the court, the civil judge cannot order the minister to write a letter to the House of Representatives, stating what the House should do with the report, which the Jehovah’s Witnesses had demanded.

Dissatisfied with handling abuse

The end of January the study showed that Jehovah’s witnesses who experienced sexual abuse within the religious community usually did not report to the police and are predominantly negative about the internal handling of the abuse.

In a response, the board said that the community has been taking care of the victims and giving them pastoral care for years. The report is said to be discriminatory because it focuses only on one organization and ignores other faith communities. The board ignored the advice to set up an internal hotline for sexual abuse.

The board had had a few days earlier summary proceedings sued to prevent publication of the report, but the judge did not agree.

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