By Associated Press
July 26, 2002, 6:27 AM EDT
DRAFFENVILLE, Ky. — A lifelong Jehovah’s Witness said he was expelled from the tight-knit religious group after publicly criticizing the church’s handling of allegations of child sex abuse.
William Bowen, a former church elder, said he was excommunicated — or disfellowshipped, as the denomination calls it — after a brief hearing Wednesday.
Bowen complains that child-sex allegations are generally not reported to secular authorities by the Jehovah’s Witnesses because of the church’s closed nature and its insistence on handling problems internally.
Bowen said he plans to appeal the decision, which was made at a closed hearing where he was not present.
Being disfellowshipped requires members to shun the person who has been expelled. Bowen is the fourth Jehovah’s Witness disfellowshipped this year for speaking out on the issue.
On the Net:
Abuse victims: www.silentlambs.org