Wisbech sex-attacker jailed after Jehovah Witnesses cover up assaults on young girl for 25 years

PUBLISHED: 17:28 15 December 2010

Anthony Burns

Anthony Burns

Archant

JEHOVAH Witnesses covered up a Wisbech sex attacker’s series of assaults on a young girl for 25 years.

Anthony Burns, 54, had been confronted about his crimes in the 1980s, but the Jehovah Witnesses took no action.

He had abused the girl from 1977 until 1984 in Northants and Eastbourne, Sussex, when she was aged between 9 and 16, Northampton crown court heard last week.

Jailing Burns for 11 years, Judge Charles Wide QC said he hoped the child protection procedures of Jehovah’s Witnesses had now been radically changed.

Burns, of Back Road, Murrow, near Wisbech, had pleaded not guilty to four charges of indecent assault, attempted rape and rape but was found guilty.

The judge told him: “The effects of the sexual abuse by you on her have been with her all of her life since and it is plain from the evidence she gave it blighted her relationships and two failed marriages. Much time has passed but that is hardly to your credit.

“It is very unfortunate that the Jehovah’s Witnesses community dealt with a complaint in 1984 in a wholly inappropriate way, seemingly more concerned with their own reputation than doing justice but I acknowledge they were very different times.

“I sincerely hope their processes have been changed radically since then.

“It is because of their involvement that these matters were not reported - you were challenged about the matter at the time by two witnesses and could have made a clean breast of it but you did not and during the course of the trial, you had the gall to accuse them of lying about it.”

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