Commission Identifies Safeguarding Failings in Manchester Charity
The Commission recently concluded an inquiry into the Manchester New Moston Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ handling of a number of allegations of child sexual abuse against Jonathan Rose, an elder and trustee of the Congregation. The progress of the inquiry had been delayed by the charity’s application to the First-tier Tribunal (Charity) for a review of the Commission’s decision to open the inquiry and, once that Tribunal had upheld the Commision’s decision, by an appeal to the Upper Tribunal which was dismissed in April 2017.
In particular the Charity Commission criticised the way in which the Congregation:
- Dealt with an allegation of sexual abuse against Rose in 1993 when he was 19 years old. The allegation was made by a 15-year-old girl and was dismissed by the Congregation as “a matter between two teenagers”.
- Failed to take this historic allegation into account when further allegations were made against Rose in 2012;
- Failed to suspend Rose from activities when allegations were made against him;
- Did not consider that trustees conducting the investigation who were close personal friends of Rose may have conflicts of loyalties; and
- Did not keep proper records of its investigation and decisions.