On Friday, following a multi-year investigation into s*xual abuse accusations inside the Jehovah’s Witness community, the attorney general of Pennsylvania filed charges of child s*xual assault against five members of Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations. Authorities said the alleged abusers acquired access to the victims and their trust since they were all members of Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations.
A 4-year-old youngster and a victim with developmental disabilities are both named as alleged s*xual abuse victims in these cases. Attorney General Michelle Henry of Pennsylvania filed s*xual abuse charges against David Balosa, 62, Errol William Hall, 50, Shaun Sheffer, 45, Terry Booth, 57, and Luis Manuel Ayala-Velasquez, 55, on Friday.
The Attorney General’s Office issued a press release stating that Balosa was 61 years old, however the Attorney General himself stated that Balosa was 62 at a news conference, and court documents indicate that Balosa will turn 62 this year.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Five members of Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations were charged with child s*xual abuse, following a yearslong investigation into allegations of s*xual abuse in the religious community. https://t.co/Ach9vUcZS6
— WPSD Local 6 (@WPSDLocal6) July 10, 2023
“The details of these crimes are sad and disturbing, facts which are made even more abhorrent because the defendants used their faith communities or their own families to gain access to victims,” Henry said in the news release.
“Our office will never stop working to seek justice for those who have been victimized, and we will continue to investigate and prosecute anyone who harms the most vulnerable in our society,” Henry said.
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Sheffer “adamantly denies the allegations and looks forward to the opportunity to set the record straight,” Benjamin Steinberg, Sheffer’s attorney, said in a written statement provided to CNN on Sunday. CNN is currently looking for lawyers to represent the remaining four defendants.
CNN has contacted the district attorneys and public defenders in the jurisdictions where the defendants were arrested and charged: Philadelphia, Delaware, Butler, Allegheny, and Northampton. According to the attorney general’s office and criminal court dockets for three of the defendants obtained by CNN, each of the five defendants has been charged and bail has been set.
If you’re looking for crime news from across the state or the country, go no farther than The California Examiner.