Jehovah's Witness preacher and ministerial servant Dennis Atwell (58) was convicted
of child abuse at Bristol Grown Court on 21st. March 1997. Father of six, Atwell, married to wife Betty for 37 years, was
a respected member of the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Burnham-on-Sea, West Somerset.
He admitted to 12 counts of indecent assault, indecency with a child, buggery and incest. The selected representative incidents
cited took place between 1968 and 1982.
Ian Pringle, prosecuting, told the court: "This indictment represents a long
history of sexual abuse against children." David Osbourne, defending, said "He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and
made it clear he would confess to everything the victims alleged - this has spared them the ordeal of reliving a very traumatic
experience." (Following interviews with the police and counselling by social workers the three Atwell children, Kathy, Annette
and William - all now adults with children of their own - had made written statements which were presented to the court in
the form of Affidavits.)
Awaiting trial, Atwell was secretly relocated by the Watchtower leadership to the nearby
town of Weston-Super-Mare where he attended meetings at a Kingdom Hall and mingled freely with
other unsuspecting sect members including children. He was also `assigned territory` where he could continue his 'full
time ministry', termed 'pioneering', selling Watchtower literature door to door - usually alone.
He was never 'disfellowshipped' or excommunicated.
The Atwell family members who have found the courage to speak out against their wicked father also feel that they
have been emotionally abused by the Watchtower Society. They want to expose it for what it is.
They all agree to the widest coverage of their plight and want the world to know their story. Watchtower
officials think differently of course, and would like the whole thing to go away. They reason that the less people know the