Brian Jenkins, now aged 75, has been jailed for five years for sexually assaulting a schoolgirl when she was aged between 12 and 14. The young girl was part of Jenkins’ Jehovah’s Witness (JW) congregation in Brecon, Powys at the time of the offences and suffered abuse on several separate occasions in the 1970’s by the JW elder.
Now aged 58, the victim told the jury that she is “angry at Jehovah’s Witness elders and the governing body for the lack of protection they provide to children” and that “there is no safeguarding. They do not report it to the authorities because they want to deal with it in house”.
In March 2018, Conservative MP Alex Chalk stated that “…….it is clear that an entrenched culture of cover-up and flawed in-house investigations continues to this day”. There have been recent calls for an inquiry in to the JW organisation amid serious concerns that elders have been known to ‘shield’ abusers and ‘cover-up’ reports of abuse. There is clearly a certain level of public mistrust aimed towards the JW movement in relation to their handling of sexual abuse allegations.
From the viewpoint of the victim, the so-called ‘two witness rule’, along with the likelihood of abuse victims being ‘shunned’ by the organisation following disclosure has simply created even more reluctance for victims to come forward and report their horrifying childhood experiences.
It is hoped that the recent conviction of Brian Jenkins will give other victims the courage and provide them with a certain amount of confidence that their disclosures will be taken seriously.
In addition to the custodial sentence, Jenkins must also register as a sex offender for life.
If you or someone you know has been affected by child sex abuse, historic or recent, we would welcome your call/contact and offer assurances that your enquiry will be handled sensitively and in confidence by a member of our specialist Abuse Team. Call us on 0330 134 6430 or complete the contact form on our website.