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BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

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BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.11.17 10:21

This BBC News report today...

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...refers to allegations of widespread child sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. This is nothing new, the JW's have been associated with child sexual abuse scandals through their short history, and on all the continents. The BBC reports the notorious 'two witnesses' rule which has enabled so many JW sex abuse crimes to be covered up.

It seems that some abused JW's are beginning to speak out. Let's hope a good many more have the courage to do so.

So it is a convenient moment to recall Brian Kennedy's extensive JW connections   

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Besides, it is not as if he is short of a few causes, from being heavily involved in helping fund the search for Madeleine McCann to upholding religious beliefs to continuing to drive English Premiership rugby side Sale Sharks.Undoubtedly the quest for Madeleine, who until her disappearance in 2007 lived in the same county – Cheshire – would be absolute priority for this father-of-five.

“The McCanns are bearing up about as much as any family would in those circumstances. I don’t think we can ever venture to hypothesise what they have really gone through,” he says. “We just don’t understand it because we have not gone through it. They are devastated. They are still devastated and they are not giving up the fight. They are still looking for that beautiful little girl. I admire them for their courage, integrity and endurance.

“It has moved over to an enormous police investigation in London which I am delighted about. I hope they make headway, of course.“

Almost no news is good news, as it were. I still believe Madeleine is alive. If she wasn’t, she would have been found by now. We live in hope, but I don’t know what the answer is.”

What, though, has been Brian Kennedy’s journey from self-confessed “humble” origins to partial bankroller of one of the world’s most high- profile police cases, to being prepared to put his hand in his pocket if it meant ensuring Rangers Football Club didn’t go out of existence?

“My dad was a window cleaner but he did it to spend more time with his family,” he says. “Then he joined an industrial cleaning company and became Scottish manager.

My dad had managerial ability because he was a wonderful public speaker which came from us being Jehovah’s Witnesses at Kingdom Hall, Slateford.“My faith is ingrained and studying the Bible from an early age gives you a tremendous education. I am by no manner of means a highly religious person, more spiritual, but the values that the whole of civilisation are built upon are the principles of the Old Testament.“How to treat people properly was what Mum and Dad were very good at. Being brought up in that environment gave me a good start. 

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Edinburgh-born Mr Kennedy’s companies have included Weatherseal Holdings, Everest and Space Kitchens and Bedrooms. 

The Latium Group, which has an annual turnover of about £400m, is involved in plastics moulding, conservatory roof manufacture, glass processing, home improvement retailing and property. 

Mr Kennedy, a Jehovah’s Witness, has also used his financial clout to help build a church in recent years.

News of Mr Kennedy’s backing came during reports from Portugal that Robert Murat, the first person to be declared an official suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance, was set to be cleared by police.

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The owner of Sale Sharks rugby club is worth an estimated £250 million and involved in a number of businesses with an annual turnover of £500 million.


He bought the Everest double glazing business in 1999 for £47 million and then sold his stake in the company for £63 million in 2003.

The father of five was brought up a Jehovah’s witness and divides his time between his house in Congleton in Cheshire and a home in Spain.

His support has boosted the McCann’s legal team.

They have employed top lawyers in both Britain and Portugal, with the highly respected Rogerio Alves joining Carlos Pinto de Abreu.

In the UK, Michael Caplan, QC and law firm Kingsley Napley are assisting the couple.

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"I did semi-retire; I lived in Majorca. It drove my kids nuts and it drove me nuts. I would travel, I would see seriously monied people in these executive lounges and exclusive hotels and they all had one thing in common: they looked miserable, absolutely bloody miserable. They look for the next big high, the next big stimulus. But what they are trying to replace is what all of us want and need: a job.


"I need a job, I need this. Otherwise I'd get bored stiff."

So that answers the question about his motivation as well as anyone could have hoped. Some whisperers throw in the anecdote that he's a Jehovah's Witness, as if that would draw a streak of eccentricity across his character. The truth is he is driven by a faith in God, and was indeed raised in that religion, but he's not a strict adherent and is driven by the same gods as many entrepreneurs.

And so for a serial deal-doer and sports nut like Kennedy he couldn't be happier right now. His rugby team, Sale Sharks, are the champions of rugby's Zurich Premiership. The sun is shining on Cheshire, where he lives...

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"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" - Paul's first letter to his disciple Timothy,  1 Timothy 1 v 15

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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by Verity on 20.11.17 10:30

"I still believe Madeleine is alive. If she wasn’t, she would have been found by now.”

Surely the chances of Madeleine being found would be even greater if she were still alive because of her eye defect and that she would have to go to school. Unless she really is holed up in a secret lair in the lawless hills which is somewhere the McCann's have never bothered to look.
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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by Verdi on 20.11.17 20:51

Madeleine McCann: 'I listened for 15 seconds and knew they were innocent’

A wealthy British businessman was moved to help search for Madeleine McCann after her parents Kate and Gerry became suspects


By Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan
7:05AM BST 10 Sep 2014

Gerry and Kate McCann never ceased doing what they could to move forward the investigation – which they saw as stalled – into Madeleine’s disappearance. They held, always, to the belief that their daughter could still be alive.

When they returned to the UK from Portugal in September 2007, Gerry insisted it did not mean they were giving up their search for her. ''As parents we cannot give up on our daughter until we know what has happened.”

Three days later, someone who was to be of great and lasting assistance to them got in touch. Brian Kennedy, a wealthy British businessman, had been following events as they unwound in Portugal and wanted to help.


“I was incredulous,” he told us. “I’d been losing all hope and faith in human nature. I had been asking myself, 'How is this possible?’ [Kate] is grieving. My instincts were telling me there was a great injustice being done. I called my lawyer and said, 'I want you to reach out to these poor folks and see if we can help them’.”


Kennedy, the Scottish-born, Cheshire-based son of a window cleaner, then aged 47, had leapfrogged from trainee accountant to a management role in a kitchen-equipment company, then to the mobile-phone business, double-glazing and plastics. By 2007 his net worth as head of his company, Latium Enterprises, was said to be £250 million.

An experiment with retirement had driven him “nuts” and he was back in the business fray. When he began talking about trying to help the McCanns, friends and colleagues told him not to get involved, that his intervention would end in tears. “What,” he recalled someone saying, “if the parents turn out to be guilty?”

“I remember replying, 'What happens if they’re innocent?’ Can you imagine the horror of losing your daughter… and then the world turning against you and accusing you of being responsible for her murder? Is it not bad enough, the terror, the agony they are going through? I could understand it – I’ve got five kids. I told my lawyer, 'If you feel they’re innocent, then we’ll get behind them and help them’.”

His lawyer made contact with the McCanns and they met Kennedy in London. “Within 15 seconds of listening to Kate,” he said, “I made a decision, using all the emotional intelligence one builds up over many years. I was 100 per cent convinced of their total innocence. I told them that, one, we would find a top Portuguese lawyer to defend them, and get them off as arguidos [the McCanns had been designated “named suspects” by the Portuguese authorities days before they returned to England].

Two, we’d do everything in our power to influence the public’s perspective and views. And, three, we’d support them in setting up some private investigators … The Portuguese police had stopped investigating. It was urgent to get some other guys on to it.”

Top-level legal help was found in Portugal. At Kennedy’s bidding and at his expense, Clarence Mitchell – a government adviser who had previously acted as the McCanns’ spokesman in Praia da Luz, the holiday resort from where Madeleine had disappeared – quit his Whitehall job and came back on-board.


Kennedy prefers not to reveal how much he spent on helping the McCanns, beyond saying that there were “substantial” outgoings – principally legal and media-related costs. Stephen Winyard, the owner of Stobo Castle Spa, in Peebleshire, and Sir Richard Branson also contributed. However, it was Madeleine’s Fund – the not-for-profit company established to find her in 2007, the board of which Kennedy’s then lawyer joined – that would, in time, deal with the cost of private investigators, once that effort went into high gear.

Present at Kennedy’s first meeting with the McCanns in London were representatives of Control Risks, a firm specialising in security and crisis management. It had already sent detectives to Portugal to see the couple right after Madeleine’s disappearance, at the expense of an anonymous donor whose identity has never been revealed.


Kate McCann had not enjoyed that first encounter. One of the Control Risk operatives was a mysterious figure who introduced himself only as “Hugh”. He was one of the many former intelligence officers the company employed, and a main part of his role now was as a potential kidnap negotiator. Kate, already distraught, had not liked the James Bond atmosphere he brought with him. Besides, there would never be anybody other than hoaxers with whom to negotiate.

As the McCanns’ renewed use of Control Risks began to be mentioned in the press, noises of disapproval came from Portugal. “You cannot have private detectives intervening in criminal cases,” sniffed Carlos Anjos, head of the Polícia Judiciária’s union. The McCanns resolved to go ahead, motivated by advice Gerry had noted during a research trip to the US earlier that summer.

A document issued by the US Justice Department for use by parents of missing children, The Family Survival Guide, recommended considering using private detectives if they could “do something better or different than what is being done by law enforcement”. Given what they saw as the fiasco of the Portuguese police probe, the McCanns nurtured that hope.

“I had no experience at all with private detectives,” Kennedy remembered. “But the way you run a business is all about surrounding yourself with people who understand industries that you don’t understand.” He initially hired two former Metropolitan Police detectives, and in late September decided to follow up a rumour that Madeleine might have been sighted in Morocco. Kennedy and the detectives, who flew out aboard his private jet, hired a Moroccan tourist guide to accompany them to the mountain village where it was reported the missing girl might be. She was not there, but the guide – promised a reward – subsequently spoke of having travelled vast distances circulating Madeleine’s picture. “If I find her,” he said, “I will be rich. I have been promised I will never have to work again – maybe a million pounds.”

“I suppose,” Kennedy said later “we had been looking for low-hanging fruit. After a few weeks, though, we decided we needed to go about it in a very professional way.”

Brian Kennedy had set a potentially useful process in motion. Months earlier, the Portuguese police had produced a poor drawing of the man the McCanns’ friend, Jane Tanner, had seen carrying a child near the holiday apartment in which the McCanns had been staying on the night Madeleine vanished. Now, in England, a British forensic sketch artist took on the job of extracting more and relevant information from Tanner. This fresh image got major media coverage – raising the possibility of new leads.

Kennedy then cast around for suitable private investigators to hire, and picked Método 3, a Spanish company. The agency’s claims included having located 23 missing children and teenagers. Given that it was not legitimate for investigators to work for the McCanns in Portugal while the police probe was still under way, it was hoped that Método 3 – with its knowledge of the region and its connections in Spain – might prove effective.

It seemed, briefly, that the private detectives could also rebuild bridges with the Portuguese Polícia Judiciária. At the request of the head of Spain’s anti-kidnapping unit, two PJ officers met Método 3 operatives. But the points the private detectives raised did not interest the Portuguese.

Método 3 followed up on a vast number of potential openings in the hunt for Madeleine. Nothing tangible resulted, but they made some startling statements that kept the case in the public eye. “We are 100 per cent sure,” their boss, Francisco Marco, told the American network CBS, “that she is alive. We know the kidnapper. We know who he is and how he has done it.” On the BBC’s Panorama programme, he said: We are very close to finding the kidnappers.” Then, in early December, he announced: “We believe she is in an area not very far from the Iberian peninsula and North Africa. And we have a fairly certain idea who she is with.”

No facts emerged, however, to back up these claims. According to The Daily Telegraph, a source close to the McCanns said the couple had begun to think “they might have been sold a pup”. A veteran Spanish police detective was derisive. Método 3 would solve the case, he said, “cuando las ranas crecen los pelos” – “when frogs grow hair”.

As the months slipped by, the McCanns made a move they were to regret. A contract was agreed with Oakley International, a US-based company described by a source close to the couple as being apparently “absolutely the best, but extremely secretive”. Oakley was said to employ former FBI, CIA and US Special Forces personnel. It was reportedly agreed that Madeleine’s Fund would pay the company £500,000 under a three-stage contract – with more to come should Madeleine be found alive.

The McCanns and Kennedy at first got the impression that Oakley was doing its job. Its investigators appeared to be collating and following up information that came in as a response to the parents’ appeals, and were conducting covert interviews in Portugal.

But it later emerged that hundreds of calls to a dedicated hotline were never checked by Oakley. Tapes of interviews conducted in Portugal were said to be useless, involving people irrelevant to the case. Specialists used by Oakley began to find that their bills went unpaid. An undertaking to deliver satellite images of Praia da Luz on the night of May 3, 2007, when Madeleine had disappeared, resulted only in pictures grabbed from Google Earth. With little or no real progress, and as funds continued to haemorrhage, Brian Kennedy called time.

Oakley’s boss Kevin Halligen, it turned out, was a fraud. After his involvement in the Madeleine case, Halligen was arrested in the UK in connection with charges relating to a trading company fraud, and extradited to the United States. He was convicted there on the fraud matter, then deported to Europe.

“The Oakley episode went sort of sweet and sour,” Kennedy told us. “There were genuine guys breaking their back, trying to make a breakthrough. The lion’s share was spent on the investigation, despite what the newspapers say… [But] it all ended in tears.”

It was a major setback, but Kennedy and the McCanns did not give up. On the recommendation of the head of Manchester’s Serious Crime Squad, they went on to hire an experienced former senior police officer, David Edgar. He put in much arduous, systematic work – and held the fort until 2011, when, following an appeal to David Cameron, Scotland Yard began investigating. The dossier the McCanns’ private detectives had gathered was passed to the Yard, and its probe continues today – as Operation Grange.

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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by Verdi on 20.11.17 21:10

The double glazing magnate pledged life body soul and entire fortune in defence of the two prime suspects in the case of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.  How long he was on board before being named as the McCanns wealthy benefactor, is a matter for conjecture but my question is - who arranged for this individual to become involved and why, apart from his money of course.

His involvement became apparent after the McCanns returned to the UK in September 2007, having fled Portugal in fear of their continued freedom.  Kennedy is very wealthy and very influential and very powerful - just how far did his wealth, power and influence extend?
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HEARTBREAK dad Gerry McCann took time out from the frantic search for his missing daughter Madeleine to watch Sale Sharks beat Harlequins at Edgeley Park on Friday.

 Mr McCann and his legal adviser Clarence Mitchell were guests of Sharks' millionaire owner Brian Kennedy.



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Stockport Express 30th January 2008

waiting

This case is rotten to the core.

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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by polyenne on 21.11.17 5:45

Latium Enterprises : Business sectors include Renewable Energy Construction and Operation; Industrial and Office Property Ownership and Management; Plastic Extrusion Manufacture; Waste Management, Home Improvement (Remodelling), Glass Sealed Unit Manufacture; Feature Film Production; and Ownership of a Professional Rugby Club in The English Premier League.


Interesting, 2 films to date 2013/2014.
You know where I’m going with this.........
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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by Verdi on 21.11.17 11:56

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Interesting, 2 films to date 2013/2014.
You know where I’m going with this.........

No, can't see where you are going with this.  What/where is the connection?

Media & Movies

The Homesman

Latium are extremely excited about our first venture into the world of film production. A chance meeting between Brian and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in 2013 led to Latium Enterprises purchasing the North American rights to the movie - “[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]” (For the full cast listing please click "The Homesman" link above)

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] is directed by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and co-written with [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], based on a novel of same name by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. The film stars [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. The Homesman is a devastating, humane story of early pioneers to America's West in the 1850's. It celebrates the ones we hear nothing of -- the brave women whose hearts and minds were broken by that life of bitter hardship. It however also is a story of redemption and of the heroism of those very women.

Brian is the main investor and has co-produced [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] alongside producers [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

The film was selected to compete for the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in the main competition section at the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Latium have been closely involved in all elements of the production process and are looking forward to the launch which is scheduled for the end 2014.

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Following on from Latium’s successful entry in to the world of film, In 2014 Brian purchased the Production entity and is the main investor and co-producer on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] alongside producers [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] , [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ,[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] , [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] is directed by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and co-written with [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] (based upon the novel) and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] (screenplay). The film Stars [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] is a film about an 11-year-old wisecracking Gilly Hopkins, who finds herself shuffled from foster home to foster home until she meets Maime Trotter.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] is Latium’s Second Venture into the world of film production.

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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by Verdi on 21.11.17 21:34

Jehovah's Witnesses claim they were told not to report child sex abuse, as organisation is accused of sheltering abusers


[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]  20 November 2017

Jehovah’s Witnesses have claimed they were told not to report allegations of child abuse, as the organisation was accused of sheltering abusers.

Several victims have come forward to accuse the organisation of a systemic cover up, with some revealing they were assaulted as children.

The victims - many of whom want to remain anonymous - claimed that the religion’s guidelines have shielded their abusers, as well as deterring victims from contacting the authorities.

In a statement, the organisation on Monday described the allegations as “absolutely false”, adding that victims and their parents had an “absolute right” to report abuse to the police.

But leading solicitor Kathleen Hallisey, who brought a landmark case against the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2015, claimed the scale of child abuse was similar to that exposed in the Catholic Church.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph last night, Ms Hallisey said: “Frankly I would equate this to a scandal and a cover up akin to the Catholic Church. Knowing about paedophile priests and moving them from parish to parish. The two are identical.
“Most of the cases I deal with are in relation to abuse by people in positions of trust within the organisation.”

She said that the internal teachings of the organisation meant that the true scale of the scandal has been suppressed.

“I think because of the barriers to coming forward, we don’t have the same number [as the Catholic Church],” she added. “There’s teaching which is that you shouldn’t take another Jehovah’s Witness to court. There’s also a teaching to avoid interaction with secular authorities. So you’re breaking two rules [in reporting abuse].

“Those two things could lead to you being disfellowshipped, which means that you’re shunned.”

It came as victim Louise Palmer, who has chosen to waive her anonymity, said that she had been told not to report being raped by her brother, Richard Davenport, who was also a Jehovah’s Witness.

Ms Palmer, who lives in Evesham in Worcestershire, alleged that her brother began raping her when she was four, but said she was discouraged from alerting the authorities by members of the organisation. Davenport was eventually jailed for 14 years in 2014, later reduced to ten.

“I asked them what should I do?” she told the BBC. “Do you report it to the police? Do I report it to the police?
“Their words were that they strongly advised me not to go to the police because it would bring reproach on Jehovah.”
Ms Palmer said she does not believe that children “are safe” in the organisation, adding that its safeguarding policies needed to be updated.

Another woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she was sexually abused by a friend of her brother and later raped by him.

She claims that when she informed her parents and elders in her Jehovah’s Witness congregation she was also told not to alert the authorities.

Victims who came forward claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ judicial policy, known as the “two witness rule”, is preventing the abuse from being exposed.

According to the process, two witnesses are required to establish a perpetrator's “sin” if they do not confess to the allegations made against them.

Jehovah’s Witnesses claims that the policy protects members against malicious accusations of sexual assault. It has also stated previously that the “incidence of this crime among Jehovah’s Witnesses is rare”.

However, incidents of child sex abuse within the organisation have been exposed across the world, including in Australia, where in 2015 it was disclosed that the national branch had kept files on 1,006 alleged perpetrators of child sex abuse since 1950.
The UK’s main Jehovah’s Witness organisation, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain, is currently the subject of an inquiry by the Charity Commission.

A report by the commission earlier this year found that one congregation in Manchester had allowed a convicted paedophile to cross-examine two women he had abused as children before they would expel him.

Ms Hallisey believes that the Commission should strip the organisation of its charitable status, adding that it had repeatedly refused to change its processes when challenged in court.

“I think it is reaching the point where we do really need drastic action, and we need something like the removal of their charitable status. Because…despite the litigation, the inquiries and the court orders, they don’t seem to be changing.”

A spokesman for the organisation said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse, and view it as a heinous crime and sin. The safety of our children is of the utmost importance.

“For decades, our journals [and website] have featured articles for both Jehovah’s Witnesses and the general public on how to protect children from abuse.

“We believe that loving and protective parents are the best deterrent to child abuse.  Anyone who commits the sin of child abuse faces expulsion from the congregation. If such a person is serving in a position of responsibility, he is removed. Any suggestion that Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child abuse is absolutely false.”

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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by polyenne on 22.11.17 9:04

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]..........a film about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann ? Dare they ?
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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by Mrs B on 22.11.17 9:51

Wasn't Murat's girlfriend excluded from the JW goup she used to attend? I can't remember who gave this info..?
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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by Tony Bennett on 22.11.17 10:41

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Wasn't Murat's girlfriend excluded from the JW goup she used to attend? I can't remember who gave this info..?
@ Mrs B [no relation]

I covered the issue of Michaela Walczuk and the Jehovah's Witnesses in my 122-page article on Robert Murat: 'From Arguido to Applause', which I think is available elsewhere on the forum.

On re-reading my article, which was written back in 2010, it seems that there was a whole cluster of Jehovah's Witnesses connected either to Robert Murat or the Ocean Club.

On reflection I think it is probable that Michaela did not attend a JW's meeting on Thursday 3 May and was either badly mistaken, or lying about it.

Here are the relevant extracts from my article:

============      

Section J.  Other problems with Murat’s account of events

We have summarised the 17 changes of Murat’s story. Here we shall just pick out a few other queries raised by Murat’s two, highly contradictory accounts.

If one reads the police witness statement of Jorge da Silva (made on 16 May 2007, two days after Murat was pulled in for questioning) - the person whom Murat met several times on 1, 2 and 3 May - it is hard to get an accurate picture of what Murat, da Silva and his two sons were all talking about. True, it is said they discussed Murat’s proposed ‘Romigen’, but exactly what they discussed is not made clear. Murat claims that at around 4.00pm on 2 May he and his lawyer Francisco Pagarete met da Silva and one of his sons in a bar near the Marina - but da Silva does not confirm this.

One observer wrote: “Jorge da Silva’s statement reads to me as though he was bemused and bewildered by the attention he and his son were getting from Robert Murat and Michaela”. On one occasion he said Murat had asked him to attend a meeting, at the Golf Club, and then Murat didn’t offer to get him any food. It looks almost as if da Silva was being pressurised into attending those meetings with Murat and his lawyer. One suggestion advanced by some is that Murat’s real purpose was to meet a number of important people but wished to hide their identity; hence da Silva was ‘in tow’ so that Murat, if asked, could claim that he had only been meeting with da Silve to discuss ‘Romigen’.

Another curiosity is why the Portuguese Police did not apparently make enquires about the anonymous ‘builder from Lisbon’ who was supposed to attend the Golf Club meeting, but didn’t.

Another matter we need to note is that Murat and his girlfriend Michaela Walczuk both, separately, made statements to the Portuguese police on 14 May. Yet several days later, Walczuk went to the police station, apparently of her own free will, to make another statement, with various ‘corrections’ and ‘clarifications’ to her original statement. It would not be unfair to suggest the possibility that after they had made their respective statements, they met, conferred, and realised that in certain key respects, their stories did not tally.

Also, why did Murat first make the ridiculous claim that Dr Pagarete met him and Michaela sitting in his mother’s VW Transporter? He later had to replace that tale by stating that, instead, he had met members of the da Silvas family at that time.

Murat and Michaela Walczuk, indeed, had made a real hash of remembering what they were supposed to have done on the all-important date of Thursday 3 May. Murat says he went to Michaela’s and they had ‘talked in her apartment until noon’. But Walczuk said, instead, that a person called ‘Catia’ had been there, apparently to talk about a project called ‘Montinho da Ouro’, translated as ‘Gold Bunker’, and that then she and Murat had travelled to meet Malinka at Batista’s supermarket café.

Altogether, for example, there were three wholly different accounts of where Murat and Walczuk had lunch that day.

To the simple question: ‘Where did you have lunch that day?’, there were three different answers:

Murat said: ‘With Michaela at the Galp service station on the motorway’.

Michaela said: ‘We had lunch with the da Silvas at the Restaurant Antonio at Porto Mos’…

…while Jorge da Silva said: ‘They took me to a Golf Club for a meeting and I didn’t get any lunch at all’. 

In her second statement, Michaela told the police that she now remembered that she and Murat had had lunch at the Galp service station after all. She had fallen into line with Murat’s story.

Michaela Walczuk’s claim of attending a Jehovah’s Witness meeting on the evening of 3 May

At this point we will look briefly at one other controversial matter, namely Michaela Walczuk’s claim that on the evening of 3 May she was at a Jehovah’s Witness meeting.

Michaela Walczuk claimed that from around 6.30pm to 8.30pm on 3 May, she was attending a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) congregation in Lagos de Baia. She is careful, however, in her second statement to the police to make clear that whilst she attends the assemblies, she no longer takes part in what are called the ‘congregational classes’. She explained that because she had ‘betrayed’ her husband in her affair with Robert Murat, she had not been practising the religious principles of her faith.

She claimed that the JW meeting lasted from 6.30pm to nearly 8.30pm. She then goes on to say that she did not on this occasion stay behind to talk to other members as she usually did. She says she left ‘without speaking to anyone’. She said that the reason was because she had her young daughter with her and had to leave early because it was ‘a school night’. 

If it was an assembly [service] she attended and not a class, and if - as Michaela implies - she left without talking to anyone, it would be hard for the police to confirm whether Michaela was present or not.

In her second statement (but not her first), she told police: “For about three years, I attended the assemblies, but did not take part in the congregation, only because I had betrayed my husband, which is not compatible with the Biblical principles that I profess”. Michaela said that her husband Luis Antonio had also attended JW meetings in Lagos, along with Teofila and Marina Castel.

Michaela also pointed out that during Murat’s translation work at the Ocean Club, he met a couple called Teofilo and Marina Castela. Teofilo is the Administrative Services Manager at the Ocean Club. Both Murat and Michaela know the couple as they belong to the same JW group in Lagos. In her statement Michaela says she knows of other JWs working at the Ocean Club.

But Teofilo Castela, in November 2007, challenged parts of Michaela’s statement about attending the meeting. His account was reported in the Evening Standard. The report said that Castela had stated that Michaela Walczuk had been ‘thrown out of the congregation’, though he didn’t say why. He added that the police hadn’t interviewed him. Significantly, he added: “She was cast aside. It was before this year [2007]. The church has certain rules and they must not be broken”.

But, strangely, neither Teofila Castela nor his wife Marina (who was in charge of the Ocean Club’s Hygiene and Comfort Department) mentioned any of this in their original statements to police in May. Marina Castela’s duties included handling the keys to the apartments, including that of Apartment 5A where the McCanns were staying.  

Joao Olim Junior, who worked for Walczuk's husband Luis Antonio, made a statement to the police. He was in charge of a company vehicle on the night Madeleine disappeared. Olim was also a JW and said he attended the ‘Bible meeting’ on the evening of 3 May. He mentions Michaela several times by name in his statement but does not confirm that she was present that evening. Whether Michaela Walczuk did attend that meeting is still therefore very much in doubt. Was she somewhere else that evening?

The da Silvas

In view of the importance of the da Silva family in the various rounds of meetings Robert Murat had between Tuesday 1 May and Thursday 3 May, there has been interest in Murat’s connections with that family…




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"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" - Paul's first letter to his disciple Timothy,  1 Timothy 1 v 15

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Tony Bennett
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Re: BBC reports widespread, institutional child sexual abuse in the Jehovah's Witnesses Organisation. Let's not forget Brian Kennedy's JW connections

Post by Mrs B on 23.11.17 9:44

@ Tony. Thank you. Very interesting..
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