Two More Jehovah’s Witnesses Charged With Child Rape

Pursuant to the recommendations of the 49th Investigating Grand Jury of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,  two (2) additional Jehovah's Witnesses have been arrested and charged on April 16, 2024 for the sexual assault, rape, corruption and exploitation of children. The offenses occurred during the years 1988 and 1992 to 1993.

Both male Jehovah's Witness offenders are in their late 60s at the time of arrest.

Both offenders used their religious community to gain access to their victims.

At the time of the offense, the ages of the victims range between 4 and 13.

These new arrests brings the total number of Jehovah's Witnesses charged thus far under Pennsylvania statutes to fourteen (15).

WARNING!!! This article contains explicit sexual content that is very disturbing and NSFW. Reader discretion is strongly advised.

Written by Lester Somrah and published on April 21, 2024

Pennsylvania, USA – On April 16, 2024 and under the supervision of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, criminal charges against two (2) individuals in Pennsylvania was laid for the sexual assault and exploitation of children. These two individuals are Ronald W. Mangone, 69, of Lower Burrell and Roger E. Zellars, 68, of Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood. 

Both men were members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion at the time of the sexual offences. Ronald W. Mangone may have held a position of trust and responsibility as a local congregation elder at the time of his arrest.

According to “Mangone is charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault, three misdemeanor counts of indecent assault and misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors…”

“Zellars…is charged with multiple counts of rape, statutory rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault.”

These latest arrests now bring the total number of Jehovah’s Witnesses arrested and charged for various sexual offences against minors, as a result of the investigations of the 49th Pennsylvania Grand Jury, to fifteen (15). Their names are:

  1. David Balosa 
  2. Errol William Hall 
  3. Shaun Sheffer 
  4. Terry Booth 
  5. Luis Manuel Ayala-Velasquez 
  6. Jesse Hill
  7. Jose Serrano
  8. Eric Eleam
  9. Marc Brown
  10.  Raymond Shultz
  11.  Abimael Valentin-Matos
  12.  Kevin Isovitsch
  13.  Norman Aviles
  14.  Ronald W. Mangone
  15.  Roger E. Zellars
  16.  Robert Ostrander (committed suicide in October 2022 when law enforcement attempted an arrest)

Ronald W. Mangone and his wife at Religious events of Jehovah's Witnesses

2024 Memorial 

2023 Convention - Coraopolis Assembly Hall Of Jehovah's Witnesses 

2018 Convention 

***BREAKING*** Authorities in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania have arrested Ronald W. Mangone, 69, on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from gross sexual abuse of at least two close family members. 

Mangone is a long-time Jehovah's Witness, who according to sources in Pennsylvania, may have served as a Church Elder during the time of the abuse. This is still under investigation.

The arrest comes as a result of the ongoing Pennsylvania Grand Jury Investigation into Jehovah's Witnesses, officially launched in 2019.

The Criminal Police Report indicates that two of Mangone's victims testified before the PA Grand Jury, but the crimes against the 2nd victim were past the Statute of Limitations, and could not be charged. However, the testimony of that 2nd victim provided background to the Grand Jurors that influenced their decision to recommend the criminal charges on behalf of the younger victim.

The police report states:

"[Victim #2] also recalled numerous times when [Mangone] would watch her change clothes or shower. On one occasion in particular in 1988 or 1989, [a close relative] observed Mangone watching [victim #2] as [victim #2] was showering. This prompted [victim #2] to disclose the other assaults to [a close relative], who then reported the abuse to the JW congregation elders at the New Kensington Kingdom Hall. [Victim #2] recalled meeting with the elders and being told that since there was no penetration, no abuse had occurred. Although Mangone cannot be charged with any criminal offenses pertaining to the abuse of [Victim #2] due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, the offenses demonstrate a common plan, scheme or design that corroborates the testimony of [Victim #1]."

There are no indications that the elders in the New Kensington Jehovah's Witness Congregation notified law enforcement of these crimes at any point.

Mangone was also associated with the West End French Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

More recently, both victims compared notes during a drive, causing [Victim #2] to pull their vehicle off the road in shock. [Victim #1] disclosed the abuse to a close relative, who then informed Congregation Elders. The police report continues:

"The Grand Jury obtained and reviewed records, including a two-page document entitled "DL/BC Interview 9/2/16," which appeared to be handwritten notes from an interview. While not all specifics were included, this record indicates that [Victim #1] stated that "Ron tickled her too much/rubbed belly and put his hand down her pants (one incident)." Although the document states that Mangone denied that this had occurred, the front page of the same document has a notation: "confessed to this action in the past.""

The information contained in the police report is too graphic to share. 

The Jehovah's Witnesses have been battling with the State of Pennsylvania for several years by filing a lawsuit against the Commonwealth to get the State to assert that JW Elders are members of the Clergy. By seeking this declaration, they hope to evade criminal prosecution of their elders for violation of the State's mandatory child abuse reporting laws. 

Pennsylvania's law requires church elders to report child abuse, but the Jehovah's Witnesses seek exemption from reporting by utilizing a loophole in the law that permits members of the clergy to keep "confidential communications" or "confessions" private. 

Those communications remain locked inside local and national filing cabinets and extensive databases containing volumes of criminal data. 

[Case Reference: Ivy Hill Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses versus the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - documents may be found on the JW Child Abuse dot org website.]

Mangone is currently free on $100,000 bail, awaiting his next court hearing." - Mark O' Donnell, former Jehovah's Witness.

Editor's Notes

In all the fifteen (15) cases without exception, all the defendants and their victims were members of Jehovah’s Witness congregations in Pennsylvania. In each case, all the defendants gained access to their victims through their religious faith and community.

There is no evidence that the parents of the victims made a police report. Nor are there any evidence that both the leadership of the local congregations in Pennsylvania as well as the United States leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses, had any moral fortitude to inform law enforcement. 

All these charges are based on documents that are in possession of bodies of elders of each congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the State of Pennsylvania. These documents are kept as part of their internal investigation into the religious offence in each cases.

These internal documents were obtained by the Grand Jury as a result of a subpoena and a litigation hold, to all bodies of elders of congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the state of Pennsylvania. These documents that contain evidence of criminal wrongdoing are generally kept a “church secret” by bodies of elders and Jehovah’s Witnesses have previously fought tooth and nail, moved heaven and earth, to prevent courts and law-enforcement agencies from having access to these documents.

These April 2024 criminal charges compound many unanswered questions as to the ability and reliability of Jehovah’s Witnesses and their Governing Body to protect children and reduce the risk of further sexual abuse of children in their community.

Anyone with information regarding child sexual abuse, especially in the above cases, should make a report to ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313, and anyone with additional information regarding these cases should make a report to the Office of Attorney General’s (Pennsylvania) hotline at 888-538-8541.

Related Media

Lower Burrell, Pittsburgh men charged in state probe of child sex abuse among Jehovah's Witnesses - 

*Westmoreland County man charged in latest Jehovah's Witness sex abuse case -

Two More Jehovah’s Witnesses in Pennsylvania Accused of Sexual Abuse - 

Confessions, Silence, and Child Abuse: Secrets of the Clergy | Fault Lines Documentary - YouTube 

*The Unified JUDICIAL SYSTEM of PENNSYLVANIA Web Portal - URL/link 

Docket Nos.  MJ-05003-CR-0001726-2024, CP-02-CR-0002600-2024, MJ-10105-CR-0000152-2024

*Note - If you are outside the United States or Canada, these websites require an enabled VPN on your web browser.

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Lester Somrah

Lester Somrah writes about the beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses on his social media platforms and was baptized as a member in 1998.

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