High court to hear religious man’s child abuse case
Stephen Herzog, News-Leader September 28, 2014
Missouri’s Supreme Court will hear arguments this week regarding whether a Springfield man who practiced a certain type of Christianity is guilty of abusing his children.
Peter D. Hansen, 50, was convicted by a jury in 2011 of abusing one of his children by locking him in a bathroom “for days at a time” and restricting what the child could eat. Judge Dan Conklin suspended a three-year prison sentence and placed Hansen on five years probation with 100 days in the Greene County Jail.
Hansen, who is a Seventh Day Adventist, argues that his religion encourages vegetarianism and that the punishment of his children does not constitute child abuse....
Prosecutors say there is sufficient evidence to prove Hansen “inflicted cruel and inhuman punishment by locking the minors in a small, dark and cold bathroom for days at a time.” Prosecutors also say Hansen’s withholding of food was a cruel and inhuman punishment.
Hansen says the state’s evidence failed to prove either of those convictions....
Hansen said the children were bad and had bad attitudes and were being punished.
At that time, the children were taken into protective custody and the parents were arrested, according to court records.
The children were taken to the hospital where a doctor determined the children were “receiving inadequate calories for appropriate weight gain and growth.”
A nurse noted the boy’s ribs and shoulder blades were “visibly prominent,” according to court records....
Jehovah's Witness congregation sued for alleged child abuse Two Vt. sisters claim repeated molestation in the 1990s By Stewart Ledbetter Sep 30, 2014
BURLINGTON, Vt. —Two women filed lawsuits Tuesday in state and federal courts alleging they were sexually abused as youngsters by an authority figure at their Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Bellows Falls in the mid-1990s, and claiming church elders did nothing to stop it.
The litigation, announced in Burlington, involves sisters Miranda and Annessa Lewis....
Lewis said she was 4 years old when she was first molested and fondled by...a "ministerial servant" in the congregation. Zalkin said that position is one approved by church elders.
She said her sister, Annessa, who now lives in Texas, was similarly assaulted....
“The Jehovah's Witnesses have a policy - a policy that is grounded in a code of silence,” Zalkin said, describing a secretive organization that regards protecting its own image as paramount even to protecting its children.
When the girls’ mother says she confronted church leaders with abuse allegations, in 1995 or 1996, they were called liars. Mauvoleon-Folsom said the family immediately left the congregation.
Miranda Lewis said the abuse has caused ongoing anxiety, depression, and a range of other psychological issues. She now lives in Chester with her mother.
The Lewis sisters are seeking compensatory and punitive damages from..., the Bellows Falls congregation and from the national parent organization called the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, based in Brooklyn, N.Y....
Zalkin said his investigators have uncovered indications that the Lewis girls were not....first victims.