Jehovah’s Witnesses face Pennsylvania grand jury investigation

A copy of the subpoena Mark O


The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office reportedly is investigating whether the Jehovah’s Witnesses repeatedly failed to report child sexual abuse allegations to authorities in what is believed to be the first wide-scale examination by a U.S. law enforcement agency.

The attorney general’s office told USA TODAY it “cannot confirm or deny the existence of investigations.”

But Mark O’Donnell, a former Jehovah’s Witness who left the religion when he was 46, said the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office interviewed him last summer at his home in Baltimore. Then he was subpoenaed to testify before a statewide investigating grand jury in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

O’Donnell provided USA TODAY a copy of his subpoena.

A copy of the subpoena Mark O'Donnell said he received from the statewide investigating grand jury.

O’Donnell said he first testified before the grand jury for more than two hours on Aug. 22 about his experiences as a Jehovah’s Witness and the structure of the governing body and congregation.

A former Jehovah’s Witness elder testified next, O’Donnell said. O’Donnell said he testified again in December. He also outlined the chain of events in a new post he wrote Saturday for JW Survey, a website critical of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.


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