Las Vegas Man Arrested For Allegedly Raping Teen Church Member
In March 2018, police in Las Vegas arrested 55-year-old Carlos Alfonso Perez based on allegations that he raped a teen girl who was a member of the same Jehovah’s Witness church. Perez was initially charged with three counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14 and two counts of sexual assault with a minor under 16. He was arrested on March 13 at his home in northeast Las Vegas.
Authorities have accused Perez of sexually assaulting a teenage girl several times between July 2012 and July 2014. The girl was 13 years old when the abuse allegedly began, according to a police report. Perez and the victim were members of the same Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses for over a decade and the girl saw the man multiple times per week at various church functions.
According to the police report, the girl eventually reported the abuse to church elders. Their solution was to have the girl confront Perez face-to-face. The report goes on to state that church members “decided that there was nothing they could do, since the stories were different.” This document makes no mention of church officials notifying police about these allegations. The document says that the girl reported Perez to the police herself last August.
Jehovah’s Witness Sex Abuse Coverup Allegations
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have come under fire in recent years after several former congregation members have accused church leaders of covering up reports of sexual assault made against clergy and congregation members. Leaked documents have revealed that the church has discouraged survivors of sexual abuse from reporting their abusers to law enforcement officials. Instead, the church pressures these survivors to allow church elders to handle the allegations internally.
In several cases, church members and leaders have been permitted to continue as active members of the community even after being accused of sexual misconduct allegations. This has allowed sexual predators to continue preying on new victims in the church.
According to a report by The Center for Investigative Reporting, the church has “systematically instructed leaders to keep sexual abuse secret from law enforcement.”
Several survivors have fought back against this culture of silence by filing lawsuits against the organization at both the national and local levels.
Can Religious Organizations Be Held Liable For Sexual Abuse?
Attorney contributor Brian Kent has a long track record of helping survivors of sexual violence find justice. Here is his perspective on how the legal system can help those who have been abused in the Jehovah’s Witness community:
Recent lawsuits reveal a pattern of sexual abuse cover-ups by officials in the Jehovah’s Witnesses church. The failure to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement is a criminal offense for religious clergy and in violation of mandatory reporting laws. Additionally, this failure constitutes negligence on the part of the church, as keeping allegations secret from law enforcement often allows sexual predators to commit further abuse.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a fellow Jehovah’s Witness congregation member or clergy member, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking to one of our dedicated sexual abuse survivor attorneys.
Location of Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Las Vegas