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Jehovah's Witness Arrested For Kidnapping & Raping 12 Year Old Girl

Judge Orders Blood Test Despite Accused's Religious Claim 

A federal judge has ordered the collection of blood from a man who said he is Jehovah's Witness and it would violate the tenets of his religion.

Brian Brown, 31, of Holton, Kan., is accused of kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old girl from Hutchison, Kan., taking her to Texas with him as part of his trucking route. Brown had permission from the girl's parents to take her on a two-day trip on Oct. 8, but Brown did not return the child.

He was arrested by Little River Sheriff's deputies when his truck was seen parked at the landing of the Little River off of U.S. Highway 71.

A federal grand jury in Fort Smith, Ark., indicted Brown on Dec. 6. They asked for blood samples from Brown on Dec. 18 for DNA sampling because semen was found at the crime scene.

A warrant was issued on Jan. 7, authorizing the collection of Brown's blood to compare with the semen found on the girl's clothing. Brown and his lawyer, Craig Henry, objected to this.

Brown argues he subscribes to the tenets of the Jehovah's Witnesses religion, which forbids intrusive medical procedures. He said taking his blood would violate his religion and First Amendment rights.

Prosecutors and Brown took their arguments to U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes in a hearing. Barnes issued his ruling last week.

"At the hearing, (Brown) testified that he has been a studying member of the Jehovah's Witness faith for approximately one year. He is not, however, a member of a Jehovah's Witness congregation. He testified that he believes it to be against the tenets of the Jehovah's Witness faith for blood to be given or received by an individual. His understanding is that this concept is based upon Old Testament scripture which instructs that blood which is shed should be 'dropped on the ground and not picked up,'" Barnes wrote.

Brown was willing to submit saliva or hair but federal prosecutors say there was too much room for error.

Prosecutors called area Jehovah's Witnesses who told Barnes that the drawing of blood samples for testing is allowable under the Jehovah's Witnesses tenets.

"The Witnesses agreed that under Jehovah's Witness doctrine, it is the receiving of blood transfusions and the giving of blood for reintroduction into one's body or introduction into the body of another, which is prohibited," according to Barnes' order.

Barnes found Brown did not sincerely hold the belief that donating a blood sample for DNA analysis violated the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witness religion. He ordered Brown to submit to the collection of his blood for the testing.

Source: Texarkana Gazette - January 21, 2002