CHARGES AGAINST FOUR MEN FOR SEXUAL ABUSE WERE MEMBERS OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESS

(For Immediate Release October 27, 2022) 

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced criminal charges against four individuals in Pennsylvania, Jesse Hill, formerly of Berks County and now a resident of the state of Georgia, Jose Serrano of Lancaster County, Eric Eleam of Butler County, and Robert Ostrander, formerly of Cambria County and now a resident of New York, for the sexual assault and exploitation of children. In each case, all of the defendants’ victims were minors and members of Jehovah’s Witness congregations.

The details of these crimes are horrifying. Our hearts go out to the victims who bravely shared their truth, and we hope that they are receiving the support and professional assistance that they require. No child should ever experience the feeling of terror and fear, let alone sexual abuse.

 The 49th Investigating Grand Jury in Pennsylvania determined these charges and are brought by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office to be prosecuted by Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Dan Dye. The investigation found that these men sexually exploited and abused 19 minors with whom they had direct contact, which included their own children in some cases.

AG Shapiro and his team have been steadfast warriors on the side of victims. The OAG investigations of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania have been one of the most successful in the country in securing convictions. We hope AG Shapiro’s track record of arresting over 500 child predators will inspire anyone who suffered sexual abuse in any institution or religious denomination, to come forward and make a report using the AG’s confidential hotline at 888-538-8541.

We hope that today's announcement serves as another warning to anyone thinking of harming a child or covering up abuse, that they will face serious consequences. Every Jehovah's Witness official who knew about, suspected of or shielded these heinous crimes should be fired and charged with failing to report potential child sex crimes to law enforcement. That is how we will deter such callous disregard in the future as a society.

CONTACT: Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President, (814-341-8386, [email protected]) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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  • Michael Mcdonnell
    published this page in Media Statements 2022-10-27 12:18:06 -0500

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