Prosecutor investigating sexual abuse among Jehovah's Witnesses

The Public Prosecution Service launched a criminal investigation into sexual abuse in the faith community of Jehovah's Witnesses, Minister Sander Dekker for Legal Protection said in a letter to parliament. Five people from different regions in the Netherlands filed declarations of sexual abuse, he said, ANP reports.

"At the Public Prosecutor, the declarations were carefully dealt with by specialist sex crime officers in the regions", the Minister said. He previously called on victims to file declarations so that a criminal investigation can be launched. 

The Jehovah's Witnesses themselves refused to do an independent investigation into the abuse, despite the Ministry of Justice and Security insisting they do so multiple times. In May the board of the Jehovah's Witnesses said they saw no reason to launch an investigation. 

Last year foundation Reclaimed Voices set up a helpline for Jehovah's Witnesses who want to report being sexually abused. Hundreds of reports were received.