Officials announced that five members of Pennsylvania’s Jehovah’s Witness congregations were indicted on Monday by a grand jury for child sex assault charges.
Michelle Henry, Pennsylvania Acting Attorney General, stated that the five men targeted young people in their families and congregations.
Henry stated in a Monday statement that “The details these crimes were sad and disturbing, facts made more appalling by the defendants using their faith communities or their families to gain access victims.”
According to court filings, Marc Brown, 65, was a member of the Jehovah’s Witness congregation located in Allegheny County. He allegedly sexually assaulted 2 girls, for whom he was the legal Guardian, between 2004 and 2006.
He was charged with aggravated sexual assault, endangering children’s welfare, and corruption of minors.
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Abimael ValentinMatos (42), is charged with sexually assaulting a Lancaster County congregation member, 15, in a relationship.
According to court filings, the victim told the grand jury that Matos, who was thirty years old at that time and twice her age, promised that he would eventually wed her. They could also court under the supervision of a chaperone, as per the elders’ instructions.
Matos is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl during a 2004 meeting in a park.
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The child sex abuse allegations against three other men were also brought up by Raymond Shultz (74), Kevin Isovitsch (51), and Norman Aviles (44).
According to officials, four of the suspects were arrested while Aviles remains at large.
These indictments follow the charges of four other male Jehovah’s Witnesses with child sex abuse last October.
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Pennsylvania Governor. Josh Shapiro was the attorney general at that time and said that “these children deserved protection and to grow up in peace, rather than being preyed upon.”
Shapiro stated in October that “these cases are disturbing and the allegations difficult to imagine, but all share one connection.” Jehovah’s Witnesses members are both the 19 victims and four of those being accused of sexually violating them.