Three Jehovah's Witnesses buildings raided in sex abuse investigation
The police raided three buildings belonging to the Jehovah's Witnesses last month in an investigation into sexual abuse within the religious community. Four homes were also searched, with the goal of finding documents on internal investigations, NU.nl reports.
The Public Prosecutor is currently investigating declarations by nine people who say they were sexually abused by members or former members of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The religious community handles reports about abuse internally and then make reports of those processes. The Public Prosecutor confirmed to the newspaper that the searches were intended to confiscate documents about those "internal legal processes". Whether any documents were actually seized, the Public Prosecutor did not say in the interest of the investigation.
In August Minister Sander Dekker for Legal Protection announced that a criminal investigation was launched into sexual abuse within the religious community. Five people pressed charges of sexual abuse through foundation Reclaimed Voices, and four via a different route.
Earlier this year it became clear that the Jehovah's Witnesses did not want to cooperate with a criminal investigation into an incident within their own community. The board of the Jehovah's Witnesses refused to release a document in which a man confessed to sexually abusing his niece. The judiciary still had enough evidence to convict the man. The board also told the Minister that they will not allow an independent investigation, despite requests from the Ministry of Justice and Security.