My name is Nick French and I was born in Glasgow in the early 70s. My mother and father divorced when I was young and my mother moved away with my sister and me to Cheshire in the late 70s. I do have some interesting DNA as a side note.

It was in Knutsford that my mum was contacted by Jehovah’s Witnesses (hereafter JWs) and she became one after I had started infant school. No doubt their belief that the end of the world is imminent (which has been taught by them since 1874 with numerous failed predictions) and a select few would survive into a Paradise without pain or suffering appealed to her. Not long after she met a JW named Gary Moscrop who was living in Brighton and they married. He is a paedophile and I was 7 years of age. I was subjected to emotional, physical and sexual abuse for the next 5 years.

At such a young age it is difficult to speak out, not only that but the fear of displeasing someone that beats you regularly makes it harder. I did complain to my mum about the beatings and she spoke with the JW elders. As it was my word against his nothing was done in accord with the two witness rule and him not admitting it. This allowed the severity to intensify.

Life as a JW is one of having to comply with the rules and show the outside world you are happy, and not to speak of anything that puts a fellow JW in a bad light. I had no friends and was not allowed to be in any extra curricular activities at school.

The final straw for me was being raped by him. My mum, brother and sister were out at the Kingdom Hall and I was kept at home in order for him to perform his criminal activity. In the morning I told my mum he had ‘touched’ me and he admitted to what I was saying, I did not disclose the full horror out of shame and abhorrence at what had happened. All I knew was that I had to say enough to get him away. Gary was also disfellowshipped as a JW.

It would be another 2 years before my mum called the police, this time because I suspected he had started abusing my brother (his biological son) as he had wanted access to see him at weekends. The police took statements however my mum asked that charges be dropped and Gary was cautioned.

I had no specialised support given, my mum believed that staying close to Jehovah and letting God see justice is done was the right thing to do. I was a very angry and sad teenager and saw all the happy people in the Kingdom Hall. I wanted to be part of a happy situation and dedicated myself as a JW aged 15. By 17 I was still unhappy and disillusioned, and frightened I would bump into my abuser at any time. I moved to Scotland to live with my father, despite the elders in Brighton telling me I shouldn’t go as it would be spiritually damaging to me.

Although he was not JW I remained one, after I was married and my first child was born all my childhood memories and flashbacks came back. It was at this time that Gary was also accepted back as a JW without any consultation with me and having had no apology from him. I also became an elder in the JWs with additional responsibility of helping my fellow members with their spiritual lives. I was kept very busy, too busy to question anything or have time to think for myself.

When my second child was born I became suicidal and for the first time in my life disclosed to my GP my CSA. I was treated with CBT. A few years later the flashbacks and mental pain was back and I was starting to doubt I would ever see justice leaving it in god’s hands. I was becoming unhappy with the information I was hearing at JW meetings and conventions. I started to wake up to the reality of it all and finally knew the real truth, I had been duped. I had been part of a community that polices itself and does not want the world outside or even their members to know what is really going on.

I spoke to the police briefly in 2011 about my case however it would take another year for me to get the courage to speak out. I went to the police in 2012 to give a statement of what Gary had really done to me. He was arrested and bailed. Six months later he asked to be re-interviewed as he said he needed to tell the police something important. In the interview he told them he had already been punished. When asked how Gary stated by being disfellowshipped for a period from the JWs. The police spoke with the elders who had heard his confession and judged him however they refused to cooperate with the police.

The Court hearing was in January 2015, he had been charged with 10 offenses against me, he was found guilty on all 10 and was sentenced to 10 years based on the offenses being carried out in the late 70s and early 80s. Had the sentencing been based on today’s laws it would have been a lot longer.

Prior to the hearing I discovered that having been lead to believe my case was a one off and not handled correctly by the JWs that this too was a lie and there is a huge problem within JWs in their handling of CSA. I therefore resigned as a JW, and as a result my JW family now shun me. I have had more therapy after another suicidal episode including CAT and have helped many people in similar situations to me who have been abused within the JWs.

Some of my achievements include being part of a team who delivered a petition to number 10 Downing Street (yes I knocked on the door of number 10!) which eventually resulted in the JWs being included in the IICSA Inquiry. We also have educated mental health professionals to help identify abuse survivors who are in or have left high control groups, and assisted in publishing a booklet available to Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) through Lime Culture. Additionally I have worked alongside many survivors to build peer to peer support groups, as well as protect children and vulnerable people. Work with the Safeguarding Alliance and some very brave people has resulted in legal loopholes being exposed where predators can disappear and we hope to close these in order to protect society at large.

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