Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'child abuse'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • English
  • Vancouver, WA's Cerveza Craft y Community!
  • Jewelry's Topics
  • Missing Persons's Topics
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses's Topics
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses's Weekly Study Materials
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses's Illustrations
  • Testigos de Jehová's Tema
  • Star Trek's Topics
  • Cadillac's Topics
  • Kitsap County, WA's Topics
  • Washington State's Topics
  • Cannabinoids's Topics
  • Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Facts, The Truth's Topics
  • Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Facts, The Truth's Topics
  • The English Language's Topics
  • Science and Faith's Topics
  • Peak Oil's Topics
  • Bitcoin Cryptocurrency and Blockchains's Topics
  • Jennifer Leann Carpenter's Topics
  • Consolidated Edison, Inc. Shareholders Club's Topics
  • Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc Shareholders's Topics
  • U.S. Veterans's Topics
  • Veeva Systems, Inc. Shareholders's Topics
  • Appian Shareholders's Topics
  • Chevrolet Volt's Topics
  • Nederlands's Topics
  • ελληνικά's Topics
  • Μάρτυρες του Ιεχωβά's Topics
  • Tieng Viet's Topics
  • русский's Topics
  • Свидетели Иеговы's Topics
  • Polski's Topics
  • Świadkowie Jehowy's Topics
  • Mga Saksi ni Jehova's Topics
  • Testemunhas de Jeová's Topics
  • Portugués's Topics
  • Testimoni di Geova's Topics
  • Deutsches Forum's Topics
  • Gesundheit und Medizin's Topics
  • Témoins de Jehovah's Topics
  • Nouvelles du Monde's Topics
  • Noticias Mundiales's Topics
  • Salud y Medicina's Topics
  • Arte y Cultura's Topics
  • Estilo y Moda's Topics
  • Alimentos y Bebidas's Topics
  • Conversación General's Temas
  • Catolicismo's Topics
  • Arqueología Bíblica's Topics
  • Catholicism's Topics
  • LDS's Topics
  • Judaism's Topics
  • Islam's Topics
  • Biblical Archaeology's Topics
  • Buddhism's Topics
  • Hinduism's Topics
  • Atheists's Topics
  • Scientology's Topics
  • Eastern Orthodoxy's Topics
  • Eastern Orthodoxy's Russian Orthodox
  • Eastern Orthodoxy's Greek Orthodox
  • Christians's Topics
  • Christians's Anglican Church
  • Christians's Seventh-Day Adventist
  • Christians's Baptist Church
  • Christians's Methodist Church
  • Korea 세계 포럼's Topics / 주제
  • Style & Fashion's Topics
  • The Faceberg's Topics
  • Amazon.com's Topics
  • Alphabet Inc.'s Topics
  • The Band Journey and Steve Perry's Topics
  • Airbnb's Topics
  • Luis Miguel's Topics
  • Tesla Motors's Topics
  • Climate Change's Topics
  • Doomsday Preppers's Topics
  • Architectural Intrigue's Topics
  • Health & Medicine's Topics
  • Automotive's Topics
  • Food & Drink's Topics
  • Arts & Culture's Topics
  • Creation of Jehovah God Truly Created in Wisdom!'s Topics
  • Real Estate's Topics
  • Real Estate's Listings
  • Aviation's Topics
  • I Grew Up in the 70's & 80's's Topics
  • Football's Topics
  • Space's Topics
  • Apple's Topics
  • Royalty's Topics
  • Nike's Topics
  • The Wonderful World of Disney's Topics
  • Candies Nancy's Topics
  • Portland, Oregon Metro Region (PDX)'s Topics
  • Nepal's Topics
  • China's Topics
  • Coca-Cola's Topics
  • India's Topics
  • Mexico's Topics
  • Christian Apologetics's Topics
  • Money & Business's Topics
  • Tiếng Việt's Chủ đề
  • Science and Technology's Topics


  • Files
  • Jewelry's Files
  • Support's Files
  • Missing Persons's Files
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses's Files
  • Testigos de Jehová's Archivos
  • Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Facts, The Truth's Files
  • Science and Faith's Files
  • Chevrolet Volt's Files
  • Nederlands's Files
  • Mga Saksi ni Jehova's Files
  • Testemunhas de Jeová's Files
  • The Faceberg's Files
  • JW Sisters's Files


  • Records
  • Food and Drink
  • Health and Medicine
  • Religion
  • Español


There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.


  • Community Calendar
  • Vancouver, WA's Event Calendar
  • Vancouver, WA's Events
  • Jewelry's Events
  • Missing Persons's Events
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses's Events
  • Testigos de Jehová's Calendario
  • Star Trek's Events
  • Cadillac's Events
  • Kitsap County, WA's Events
  • Washington State's Events
  • Cannabinoids's Events
  • Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses: The Facts, The Truth's Events
  • The English Language's Events
  • Science and Faith's Events
  • Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc Shareholders's Events
  • Veeva Systems, Inc. Shareholders's Events
  • Appian Shareholders's Events
  • Chevrolet Volt's Events
  • Nederlands's Events
  • ελληνικά's Events
  • Μάρτυρες του Ιεχωβά's Events
  • Μάρτυρες του Ιεχωβά's Events
  • Tieng Viet's Events
  • русский's Events
  • Свидетели Иеговы's Events
  • Polski's Events
  • Świadkowie Jehowy's Events
  • Mga Saksi ni Jehova's Events
  • Testemunhas de Jeová's Events
  • Portugués's Events
  • Testimoni di Geova's Events
  • Deutsches Forum's Events
  • Gesundheit und Medizin's Events
  • Témoins de Jehovah's Events
  • Noticias Mundiales's Events
  • Salud y Medicina's Events
  • Arte y Cultura's Events
  • Estilo y Moda's Events
  • Alimentos y Bebidas's Events
  • Conversación General's Eventos
  • Catolicismo's Events
  • Arqueología Bíblica's Events
  • Catholicism's Events
  • LDS's Events
  • Judaism's Events
  • Islam's Events
  • Biblical Archaeology's Events
  • Buddhism's Events
  • Hinduism's Events
  • Eastern Orthodoxy's Events
  • Christians's Events
  • The Faceberg's Events
  • Amazon.com's Events
  • Alphabet Inc.'s Events
  • The Band Journey and Steve Perry's Events
  • Airbnb's Events
  • Luis Miguel's Events
  • Tesla Motors's Events
  • Climate Change's Events
  • Doomsday Preppers's Events
  • Architectural Intrigue's Events
  • Health & Medicine's Events
  • Automotive's Events
  • Food & Drink's Events
  • Arts & Culture's Events
  • Real Estate's Events
  • Aviation's Events
  • I Grew Up in the 70's & 80's's Events
  • Football's Events
  • Space's Events
  • Apple's Events
  • Royalty's Events
  • Nike's Events
  • The Wonderful World of Disney's Events
  • Portland, Oregon Metro Region (PDX)'s Events
  • Nepal's Events
  • China's Events
  • Coca-Cola's Events
  • India's Events
  • Mexico's Events
  • Money & Business's Events
  • Science and Technology's Events

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start



About Me

Found 81 results

  1. By Trey Bundy / February 17, 2017 The Jehovah’s Witnesses settled a lawsuit this week brought by a Pennsylvania woman who says the religion’s leaders covered up sexual abuse she suffered as a teenager. The settlement came five days into a trial in which Stephanie Fessler, a former Jehovah’s Witness, claimed the religion’s parent corporation violated Pennsylvania’s child abuse reporting laws by instructing local leaders – known as elders – not to report her allegations to police. According to Fessler, a middle-aged Jehovah’s Witness woman, Terry Monheim, began sexually abusing her when she was 14. At 15, Fessler disclosed the abuse to her parents. Her father was an elder in their congregation. Fessler’s parents informed other congregation elders, who interrogated Fessler and Monheim but failed to report the abuse to police. As a result, Monheim continued to abuse Fessler for another year, according to court documents. In 2011, Fessler, then 22, reported Monheim to police. Monheim eventually pleaded guilty to indecent assault and corruption of a minor and was sentenced to between three and 23 months in prison and five years’ probation. Pennsylvania law mandates that anyone, including clergy, who comes into contact with children during the course of their work must report child abuse to authorities. Fessler’s attorney, Jeff Fritz, said that “out of an abundance of caution” regarding the settlement, he could not discuss details of the Pennsylvania case. “A matter with the Jehovah’s Witnesses has been resolved,” he said. Jehovah’s Witnesses generally are discouraged from interacting with government. But for more than 25 years, the religion’s headquarters – known as the Watchtower – has issued written policies directing congregation leaders not to report child sexual abuse to law enforcement, unless it’s required by state law, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting previously found. The Watchtower maintains a database of alleged child abusers in congregations across the U.S. going back two decades and has violated court orders in at least three California lawsuits to hand it over to the courts. It could provide a road map to thousands of accused child molesters living freely in communities across the country.
      Hello guest!
  2. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Source: @CARoyalComm/Twitter More than one in five members of the Christian Brothers order were alleged child sexual abuse perpetrators and 7% of Australian Catholic priests have allegedly perpetrated abuse since 1950, the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has been told. The commission reopened in Sydney today for its 50th case study, looking into the policies and procedures of Catholic church authorities. Six archbishops from across Australia have been called to give evidence in the coming weeks. It’s the 16th time the four-year-long inquiry has looked into the Catholic church and the first time figures have been released on abuse levels. Senior counsel assisting, Gail Furness SC, outlined shocking levels of child sexual abuse in her opening address, saying 4,444 people were allegedly abused between 1980 and 2015 in around 1000 different institutions. “Of priests from the 75 Catholic Church authorities with priest members surveyed, who ministered in Australia between 1950 and 2010, 7.9% of diocesan priests were alleged perpetrators and 5.7% of religious priests were alleged perpetrators,” Furness said. “Overall, 7% of priests were alleged perpetrators.” The average age of the victims was just 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys. On average, it took around 33 years from the incident before claims of abuse emerged. The widespread levels of abuse outlined by Furness over the last four decades include the Marist Brothers, which like the Christian Brothers, runs schools, and 20% of the order were perpetrators. The figure climbed to a staggering 40.4% in the St John of God Brothers order. Among the abusers, nearly 1,900 have been identified, but another 500 are still unknown. Among the perpetrators, 32% were religious brothers, 30% were priests, and 29% were lay people, with religious sisters at 5%. Data suggested 21.5% of priests from the Benedictine Community of New Norcia were alleged perpetrators. There were regional hotspots of abuse, most notably in Sale and Sandhurst in Victoria, with around 15% of priests allegedly responsible, followed by Port Pirie in South Australia, and Lismore and Wollongong in NSW. Nearly four in every 10 private sessions (37%) held with abuse survivors involved the Catholic church. Furness said accounts of abuse survivors “were depressingly similar”. “Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious (members) were moved,” she said. “The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past. Documents were not kept or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed as did cover ups. “Priests and religious (members) were not properly dealt with and outcomes were often not representative of their crimes. Many children suffered and continue as adults to suffer from their experiences in some Catholic institutions.” The abuse claims were made to 93 Catholic Church authorities and the Holy See blocked attempts by the royal commission to find out what action was taken by the church against priests suspected of abuse. Furness said Rome refused to release any documents on the issue, telling the commission in 2014 that it was “neither possible nor appropriate to provide the information requested”. The commission also sought documents on a named Australian priest but “was told that ‘to avoid compromising the integrity of the canonical proceeding’ it was not possible to provide all of the documents requested”. Today Furness revealed a number of senior Catholic officials who initially accepted invitations to appear before the commission have pulled out in recent weeks. Among them was the US head of child protection in the church, Deacon Bernard Nojadera, who subsequently refused to even provide a signed statement. The royal commission will spend the next three weeks on this final look at the Catholic church and its responses to abuse allegations before turning its attention to a range of other religious groups later this year, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Uniting and Anglican churches and Yeshivah Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi.
      Hello guest!
  3. Europa Press reports that AbusosTJ (JW Abuses), an activist group in Spain, plans to file a legal complaint against the Watchtower offices in Spain for refusing to release internal documents, files and other evidence involving dozens of child abuse cases within the Jehovah’s Witness religion. ------------------------------------- Jehovah’s Witness Members Will Report the (Watchtower) Organization for Failing to Provide Them with documents Regarding Child Abuse By EUROPA PRESS / lainformacion.com MADRID | 1/16/2017 – 3:00 p.m. [Revised Translation of Original Report] The AbusosTJ [JW Abuses] group, which represents ex-members of Jehovah’s Witnesses who report cases of sexual abuse in congregations, will file a complaint against the entity for not providing them with documents on cases of abuse that they requested and which [include] envelopes and secret files. According to them, in Spain they have been contacted by “dozens” of victims. The members of this collective [group], Miguel García López and Israel Florez, went to the national headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ajalvir (Madrid) on Monday, January 16, [2016] after having requested through a Burofax with certified content [sent] to the president of the National Board of Directors of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Spain [requesting] the delivery of “all the secret documents that the religion keeps on their cases of abuse of minors.” The group has indicated that they have received a negative response to their request and that they have not been approached by any executive or ecclesiastical officer of the religion, so they have informed the receptionist that they will file a complaint. Members of TJ Abuses call for “redress and justice,” the change of all “secret” protocols imposed by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and a clear indication to local elders that Police or Civil Guard [will be notified of] any evidence of child abuse. Last December, the group wrote an open letter to the National Board of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch Tower Bible [and Tract Society] in Brooklyn, New York, the legal entity that supports the work, where they complained that congregations hide sexual abuse and [they] demand justice. “To the demands in the United States will continue our commitment and defense of the rights of the children, in all the instances, and by [any] means of communication throughout Europe. Nothing will stop us in our personal commitment to achieving without hate or grudge, reparation and justice for ALL victims of child abuse within the cult of the Watch Tower,” the letter said. Specifically, they complained that when a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses is accused of sexual abuse, congregations have “secret” courts with internal rules that judge [the] cases and “silence the victims.” As they say, “thousands of children” have been victims.
  4. A man who fondled a young boy he came into contact with through his church has been jailed and threatened with deportation. Yesterday at Inverness Sheriff Court, 45-year-old Zbigniew Komorowski was sent to prison for 14 months by Sheriff David Sutherland, who also recommended he was returned to Poland. Komorowski, of Polvanie View, Inverness, was told: “The only appropriate sentence is one of prison. You will also be placed on the sex offender’s register for five years and I will recommend that you be deported.” Komorowski had pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the boy on one occasion between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 by touching him on the genital area on top of his clothing. He also admitted breaching a bail condition banning him from approaching unaccompanied children when he offered them drinks and biscuits outside his home while he was awaiting sentence. Fiscal depute Ross Carvel had told the court that Komorowski became friendly with the parents of the child as they were members of the same church and were Jehovah’s Witnesses. “They became concerned about the behaviour of Komorowski when their son’s behaviour changed. He had nightmares and on one occasion he took his mother’s hand and put it on his crotch area. “There was a confrontation with Komorowski who spoke with a number of elders at the church. He admitted the offence. Then the father told the police after Komorowski was expelled. “At the police interview, he said he knew what he had done was wrong but he did not know why he did it.” Mr Carvel added.
      Hello guest!
  5. A Jehovah’s Witness preacher and elder has been jailed for having sexual activity with a girl of 14. Family man Daniel Arthington, 46, of Llanddaniel, Anglesey, pleaded guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court and was sent to prison for two years and eight months. “I’m satisfied there was an element of grooming involved in your successful attempt in snaring your young prey,” Judge Huw Rees told him. “Your fall from grace is substantial but you have nobody to blame but yourself.’ Anna Pope, prosecuting, said the defendant had responsibilities which included being an elder, preacher and other duties. She described how a local builder had noticed a van parked on occasions on a remote lane near Bangor Rugby Club. He spotted it in the afternoon of October 17, with a male driver and a female sitting close to him. Becoming suspicious he told a friend who was a police officer who arrived and could hear voices from the back of the van, “with noises consistent with sexual activity.” Miss Pope added: “He waited for about 20 minutes during which he saw the van rocking from side to side, and the prosecution say this was the defendant involved in sexual activity with a child.” Arthington got back into the front of the van, appearing short of breath, and the policeman asked the passenger to get out. The court heard Arthington said to the girl: “Tell him you’re 19, I’ve already told him.” When asked for her date of birth the girl admitted she was 14 and on his way to the police station Arthington declared: “I’m dead.” Miss Pope said there was a mattress and sheet in the back of the van. In an impact statement the girl said she now felt sad and depressed, had lost weight and couldn’t sleep. Her family was now considering whether to move. Simon Rogers, defending, said his client’s family was standing by Arthington. “He’s deeply ashamed of what he has done and has let down himself and his family. “He’s been married 27 years with two children.” References described him as “hard working, kind and compassionate.” Judge Rees told Arthington he been greedy and lustful. He told him: “You made a sly attempt to prevent the police from seeing her and tried to hoodwink them that she was 19.” A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was imposed whose terms ban any contact with the girl and he must register indefinitely as a sexual offender. After the case Detective Sergeant Daf Curry of Caernarfon CID said, “The kind of acts this man perpetrated have caused his victim and her family huge damage. “By exploiting a position of trust, particularly towards a vulnerable child, he has betrayed them all and I hope they feel some sense of justice has been reached and they can attempt to rebuild their lives. “We welcome the sentence and I’d like to assure the communities of North Wales that we will treat every allegation of sexual abuse seriously and thoroughly pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice.” A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said that Arthington was sacked as an elder soon after his arrest. He said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family of the girl. We abhor any child abuse. “He was removed from a position of trust as soon as it became known.” The spokesman said that elders were a spiritual position and were chosen from within the congregation after many years service and study of the Bible. He added: “The elders are there to protect the welfare of the congregation. And I would like to repeat we detest this disgusting crime.”
      Hello guest!
  6. New documentary on pedophilia that aired December 1st, 2016 on Radio-Canada(CBC) in Quebec in french now with english subtitles. Note : activate subtitles on youtube. Enquête : Les «Sales» du Royaume (Translation)
  7. Radio-Canada's Enquête investigates allegations that the closed religious movement fails to protect children Mélanie Poirier was 10 when she started taking piano lessons and it would prove to be an experience that changed her life forever. At that very first lesson, she said, her piano teacher sexually assaulted her. It went on for five years. "Week after week, at every piano lesson, he would masturbate in front of me. And he would ask me to touch him," Poirier told Radio-Canada's investigative program, Enquête. Her father, Benoît Poirier, was in the next room waiting for her lesson to be over, completely unaware, she said. Poirier said she couldn't tell her father, who was a Jehovah's Witness elder, or anyone else what was happening because her piano teacher was also an elder in the congregation that her family belonged to in a Montreal suburb. "He was well-known, an elder, an example to follow," she said. The biggest obstacle, however, was the fact she didn't have a second witness to the alleged abuse — a key requirement of the church's internal judicial system. "If I told anyone, nothing would have happened. I wouldn't be believed. The elders wouldn't have even stopped to listen to me," Poirier said. Internal policies — and no police The Poiriers are among several former Jehovah's Witnesses in Quebec and the United States who spoke to Enquête about the church's policies for dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse and their failure to protect victims. Among those policies: complainants are made to answer inappropriate questions if they report an assault, and their stories must be corroborated by a second witness for a case to even be heard by an internal judicial committee. Until this past summer, accusers were also forced to confront their alleged abuser before a panel of elders. Radio-Canada also heard allegations that a five-year-old boy from a Quebec congregation was made to repeat his story in front of the man he said abused him. The boy's mother told Enquête the allegations were dismissed because the child did not have a second witness to the alleged assault. In its investigation, Radio-Canada obtained a questionnaire designed to guide Jehovah's Witness elders interviewing children alleging sexual abuse. It includes the question: "How many elders believe the victim is to blame or willingly participated in the act?" The questionnaire was drafted by the headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, in the state of New York. The Watchtower Society declined Enquête's request for an interview. Rules rooted in scripture The Watchtower Society's leadership bases its policies on a strict interpretation of biblical scripture. Its policy on making an accuser justify her or his allegations in the accused's presence, for example, is based on a line from the Book of Matthew: "If your brother commits a sin, go and reveal his fault between you and him alone." — Matthew 18:15 An elders' manual distributed to congregations cites the books of Deuteronomy and John as the basis for the two-witness policy. "There must be two or three eyewitnesses, not just people repeating hearsay." — Deut. 19:15 "No action can be taken if there is only one witness." — John 8:17 While the Watchtower tells elders it is the "absolute right" of members to report allegations of child abuse to police, doing so is effectively discouraged by an organizational emphasis on dealing with such matters internally and avoiding "unnecessary entanglement with secular authorities," as stated in an internal document from 2014. A recent royal commission in Australia found the Jehovah's Witness church there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members. Not one allegation was reported to authorities outside the church. Since 1997, the Watchtower leadership has required that every allegation of child sexual abuse brought to a congregation's attention be sent to the organization's national headquarters. Earlier this year, a California court ordered the Watchtower Society to submit a database of the alleged pedophiles among its ranks, but the society has yet to do so. 'Catastrophic' complaint process Mélanie Poirier kept her story of alleged weekly assaults by her childhood piano teacher to herself for 20 years, until she met another alleged victim of the same man. Together, they decided to bring their case to the congregation's elders. Both women were made to defend their allegations in a meeting at which their alleged abuser was present. "I thought it would be difficult, but it wasn't difficult — it was catastrophic," Poirier said. "He asked me questions. He said I was mistaken, my memories were wrong, why do I want to do this to him. I was revictimized that evening," Poirier said. Based on his alleged victims' testimony, a judicial committee composed of elders expelled Poirier's former piano teacher from the Jehovah's Witnesses. He appealed, however, twice — meaning Poirier and the other alleged victim were made to confront the man a total of three times. The story doesn't end there. Poirier's alleged abuser soon joined another Jehovah's Witness congregation, despite never having admitted to any wrongdoing or repented for the sin he was accused of committing — conditions set by the Watchtower Society for regaining membership. Enquête contacted Poirier's old teacher, who is still a Jehovah's Witness and doing door-to-door work. He denied the allegations and refused an interview. Poirier left the Jehovah's Witnesses soon after her ordeal, as did her father. Benoît Poirier said he's never recovered from seeing his daughter treated the way she was, and he's encouraging others to come forward with their stories. "You're not sullying the organization by speaking out," he said. "These people are traitors, abusers, criminals.… They're sullying the organization with their actions." Poirier has since taken her case to police in Laval, Que.
      Hello guest!
  8. TRACEY BLAIR Legal News Reporter Published: September 20, 2016 A Lorain County trial court erred when it ordered the West Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses to produce certain documents for discovery in a child molestation case. However, the trial court was correct in concluding the majority of documents that were compelled are not protected from disclosure via the clergy-penitent privilege or the First Amendment, according to a recent decision by the 9th District Court of Appeals. Former West Congregation member Elizabeth McFarland sued the Lorain-based church in 2013 for negligence, ratification and fraud by omission/concealment. According to case summary, McFarland was a member of West Congregation from 1997 to 2001, when she was 10 to 14 years old. McFarland’s parents told church elders that Scott Silvasy, a fellow member, had molested their daughter for several years. Silvasy died in 2003. McFarland claimed elders never disciplined him or reported the issue to their superiors, and discouraged her parents from doing so. In her suit, McFarland said church elders were aware Silvasy had previously molested a minor and was a danger to her. She sought compensatory and punitive damages. After discovery began, McFarland served Watchtower – which was responsible for disseminating literature to the Bodies of Elders at each local congregation – to produce certain documents, including: • A 1997 letter from Watchtower asking local elders to report any current or former members in a Society-appointed position with a known history of child molestation. Watchtower argued that Silvasy never served in a “Society-appointed position.” The trial court found McFarland’s request was overbroad, but that any reports that specifically mentioned Silvasy were relevant. • Any documents the West Congregation had relating to Silvasy and herself. The appellants cited clergy-penitent privilege, attorney-client privilege and the First Amendment. • All letters that Watchtower/Christian Congregation sent to the Bodies of Elders between Jan. 1, 1980 and Dec. 31, 2002. The court ordered appellants to produce 10 letters from the Service Department elders to the Bodies of Elders, plus 15 other letters and memos. Church officials filed an appeal over 19 of the documents they were ordered to produce. In a 3-0 opinion written by 9th District Judge Beth Whitmore, the panel found four of the documents were privileged because they were requests for spiritual guidance, so the church need not produce them. “The trial court did not err when it concluded that the remaining fifteen documents at issue here are not protected from disclosure by virtue of either the clergy-penitent privilege or the First Amendment,” Whitmore stated. Appellate judges Jennifer Hensal and Julie Schafer concurred. The case is cited McFarland v. W. Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lorain, Ohio Inc., 2016-Ohio-5462.
      Hello guest!
  9. After receiving dozens of complaints of child abuse, including whippings, beatings and forced underaged marriage, Guatemalan forces raid 'Lev Tahor' yard; Former cult member: 'They tried to break your independent thought.' Guatemalan authorities raided a yard belonging to a community of an extreme Haredi faction Tuesday “Lev Tahor” (Pure Heart) in the country’s capital Guatemala City after a number of serious child abuse complaints. Lev Tahor is an ultra-Orthodox sect comprised of predominantly Israeli Haredi extremists who leave their families behind in Israel as part of a wider boycott of Zionism. The group is widely considered to be a cult for its extreme conduct which adheres to the strict word of Jewish scripture. Raid in Guatemala The authorities arrested the leaders of the sect and also took dozens of Israeli children and babies in their possession. Since the raid, Israel has established contacts with Guatemala to coordinate the flight of the children back home. The cult, which is headed by Shlomo Erez Helbrans, who 10 years ago was recognized as a refugee in Canada, consists of 230 members, 150 of whom are children. Until 2013, they resided in the St. Agate province in Quebec but were forced to move to Ontario. Two-and-a-half years ago the Canadian authorities thwarted an attempt by the sect to send its adherents to Guatemala after the Canadian courts decreed that some of the children be transferred to foster families due to evidence proving that they were suffering serious abuse. Raid on Haredi extremist faction However, the sect succeeded in transferring a number of the children to Guatemala giving rise to a legal battle over the last few years to expel them back to Canada. According to social services in Quebec and Ontario, they have evidence of instances of abuse including beatings, child marriage and illegal education. One former member of the faction ‘A.’ described the prevailing culture of brainwashing by the leader. “People would follow us for him and report back to him. He would then take me and others for discussions which lasted for hours. The aim was to break your independent thought and to prove how big he was,” A. recalled. According to the Guatemalan authorities, “Lev Tahor” said that members of the cult were under national police surveillance. Raid Evaluations indicate that Helbrans made a decision to secretly transfer the cult to Guatemala after Canadian authorities began waging a legal battle against it and demanded that children be placed in the care of foster care. According to families in the cult in Israel, Helbrans abused the children with clubs, coat hangers and iron rods and would sometimes lock them in basements. Moreover, social services in Quebec received reports that the children were forced to marry as young as 14. The raid in the group’s yard came at the request of the Israeli government. According to a statement by the Guatemalan authorities, the evidence compiled showed cases of, among other things, of “marriage between children, physical and emotional abuse against members of the community and against children. This evidence raises concerns about the physical and emotional well being of dozens of Israeli children currently residing in Guatemala under the sponsorship of the community.“ The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Attorney’s Office, the Welfare Ministry and the Israel Police have been tracking the group’s development for a number of years and are all in contact with the relevant bodies, both in Canada and Guatemala. “I hope this will be the end of the nightmare for many people and children,” said A. He added that while he never witnessed any violence during his time in the cult, he heard about serious misdeeds. “I heard screaming from different houses of the cult members, and eventually I heard members telling about threatening acts such as humiliation, violence and whippings. One mother received orders to hit her child in the presence of others,” the former member recalled.
      Hello guest!
  10. Jehovah's Witnesses under pressure over handling of sexual abuse claims Organisation faces fight to prevent Charity Commission examining its records of abuse claims after supreme court rejects its attempt to block inquiry A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said: ‘We are in no position to, and neither would we wish to, force any victim of abuse to confront their attacker.’ Photograph: Fairfax Media via Getty Images The Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation is under increasing pressure to address its handling of sexual abuse allegations as it faces legal setbacks, bills of over £1m and a fight to prevent the Charity Commission examining its records of abuse claims. Last month a judge upheld a ruling against the UK’s leading Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Britain (WTBTS), that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had failed to protect a woman, known in proceedings as A, from sexual abuse starting when she was four years old. Now the supreme court has rejected a highly unusual attempt by the WTBTS to block a Charity Commission inquiry into how the Jehovah’s Witnesses charity handles allegations of abuse. The extent of the charity’s challenges and the length of time they have gone on for are unprecedented in recent times, a spokesman for the Charity Commission said. In A’s case the high court awarded damages and the WTBTS have been left facing legal fees totalling about £1m after attempting to appeal against the judgement three times. The decision in A’s case sets a precedent that could expose the organisation to further claims. It continues to fight Charity Commission orders to provide documents on sexual abuse allegations, as well as other aspects of the inquiry, in lower courts. Fay Maxted, chief executive of the Survivors Trust, a national sexual assault charity, said: “These are cases where someone has been sexually violated and had their whole trust in the safety of their religious community blown away. “It’s deeply disappointing that a faith-based organisation appears to be so determined to try and avoid answering questions about its own behaviour … “This is something the Catholics and Church of England have also had to deal with – these big institutions will fight and fight every step of the way.” The ways in which large institutions – from the BBC to the Church of England – respond to allegations of sexual abuse has been under intense scrutiny in recent years. But the governmental investigation into the issue, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), was thrown into turmoil following the unexpected resignation of its chair, Lowell Goddard, last week. The home secretary on Thursday appointed Prof Alexis Jay as the new chair. The Guardian understands that some survivors of sexual abuse by members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are considering making submissions to the inquiry’s truth project, a strand gathering survivors’ testimony. A, the woman at the centre of the civil case, was abused by a senior member of her congregation for five years from the age of four. It emerged during court proceedings that he had confessed to a different attack and was removed from a senior role, but had “repented” and was allowed to continue within the congregation. The police were not told and her mother said in court that she had no recollection of being warned about him. A said her mother told leading members, known as “elders”, about the abuse when she was about 14. Her attacker had been released from jail for other sex attacks and was asking to return to the congregation, she said. “All the while I had it hanging over my head that if I wanted to raise any allegations … I would be forced into a judicial committee, I would have to confront him face to face,” she told the Guardian. Although the church can “disfellowship” – expel – people for minor offences, A says her abuser was allowed to remain. “Had they discovered he was playing the lottery, he would have been disfellowshipped without question, but he admitted to them he had abused children, and he still wasn’t disfellowshipped,” A said. She finally reported the abuse to the police after the elders did nothing. “I came to the view that I would either try and kill myself again, run away or just go to the police.” He died before the police could question him about the allegation. The judge ruled the congregation was “either not warned at all or not adequately warned” about the risk posed by A’s abuser. A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said: “Anyone who commits the sin of child abuse faces expulsion from the congregation … Any suggestion that Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child abuse is absolutely false.” He added: “Congregation elders do not discourage [reports to the authorities] or shield abusers from the authorities or from the consequences of their actions.” Another woman, Jane*, who is also suing the organisation after she was raped by a member as an adult in 1990, said she was urged to face her rapist at a private hearing known as a judicial committee. It left her “completely traumatised” and led to the breakup of her marriage, she said. Her attacker was eventually jailed in 2014, and she decided to sue after watching elders on the witness stand. “I thought, nobody’s taken responsibility for this. You could have held up your hands and said, ‘I’m sorry, we were in the wrong’,” Jane said. The Charity Commission launched statutory inquiries into Jehovah’s Witnesses charities in May 2014. This was shortly after claims emerged that elders in the Manchester New Moston congregation held a meeting at which three adult survivors of child sex abuse were brought face to face with their abuser, shortly after his release from prison for their abuse. A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said: “We are in no position to, and neither would we wish to, force any victim of abuse to confront their attacker.” The commission, which has the power to investigate how charity trustees handle safeguarding, launched separate inquiries into the Manchester New Moston congregation and the WTBTS, which oversees the nation’s 1,500 congregations and is believed to play a significant role in handling allegations of abuse. The Jehovah’s Witnesses challenged both inquiries in the courts, arguing that they would breach the trustees’ human right to religious freedom. They also challenged orders to produce documents on how they had handled allegations of sexual abuse in recent years. Chris Willis Pickup, head of litigation at the Charity Commission, said: “Following two years of legal proceedings in five different courts and tribunals, the supreme court has finally brought Watch Tower’s challenge to our inquiry decision to an end.” The commission had received only “limited information” from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he said. The Charity Commission is encouraging anyone with similar complaints to come forward. While a small number of charities launch legal appeals against the commission’s decisions, the extent of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ challenges and the length of time they have gone on for are unprecedented in recent times, a spokesman for the Charity Commission confirmed. A’s solicitor, Thomas Beale, said: “Sadly, given our experience of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ approach to litigation in cases involving survivors of child abuse, it comes as no surprise that WTBTS has at every stage relentlessly challenged the legal basis and scope of the Charity Commission’s inquiry. “In our case … they adopted similar tactics, dragging our client through years of painful and distressing litigation … We have always maintained that this is a time for apologies, not appeals.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses said in a statement: “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse, a crime that sadly occurs in all sectors of society … We are committed to doing all we can to prevent child abuse and to provide spiritual comfort to any who have suffered from this terrible sin and crime. “We also see a need to protect the confidentiality of those who seek spiritual comfort. Nevertheless, we shall diligently abide by court judgments.” Name has been changed at the individual’s request -
      Hello guest!
  11. COLORADO SPRINGS - 66 year old Waymon Ivery is re-living a nightmare that happened more than two decades ago “I Had no idea ...no clue as to the effect that it would have." Sitting in the KOAA studio conference room,he admitted his regret. Ivery is regretful for his actions, and effects it would have on his then 9-year-old stepdaughter that he was convicted of molesting in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 1992. Years later, what has people up in arms, is that Jehova's Witnesses, knowing his past, allowed Ivery to go door to door on behalf of the group. His case came back to the forefront after a man named Roman Vargas approached Ivery with a video camera and surprised him with a question about a crime for which he served nearly a year in prison, after being sentenced to 10 years. But just hours after the video began to make the rounds on YouTube , Ivery was reliving what he thought was ancient history. Commenters on social media websites began to make their opinions public. One person wrote: “...this cult's days are numbered.?" Another wrote “JW’s and child protection issues just don't seem to mix well. What is the matter with them.” And that’s exactly why we posed the question to the religious group. Several calls and emails were made to the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witness in New York...They went unanswered. We also tried to contact several elders within the group locally. They initially said they would contact us back with more information. But that never happened. So we went in search of answers directly from the people who go door to door... We found them knocking on the doors of Lazy Lane Circle in northeast Colorado Springs. They were not too happy to see us, and told us that we should follow the instructions on their website. They slammed the mini van’s door on our camera’s. We decided to speak to a resident of the street who had been approached by a group of two women just moments before. Peter Conroy, a lawyer, said, ”Do I think such a person would drag off a minor member of my family? "I think it's highly unlikely..but it's always possible.” But later added that at some point after paying his debts to society and turning his life around...he should have a second chance. In fact Ivery did serve his time behind bars...and by all accounts has led a law abiding life ever since. However, the issue is with how Jehovah's Witnesses allow Ivery to freely go to the doors of stranger’s homes….yet keep it a distance when it comes to the church. For example: Ivery may not hold a position of leadership in his own church...like that of Elder….Or minister to children in the congregation. That’s what he told us was the procedure of the Witnesses. We wanted to know why Jehovah’s Witnesses would allow such a policy in which the church would allow a policy in which a convicted child molester would allow to a convicted criminal into your neighborhood. It’s a policy that many who commented on the video see as hypocritical.. But Ivery told us there’s a safety net in place that protects members of the church as well as the public. Roman Vargas confronted waymon ivery in a Colorado springs neighborhood First he confirmed that the man he was talking to was indeed Waymon Ivery. After Ivery confirmed his name, Vargas went on to question Ivery. At first Ivery denied the allegations which were made in full view of at least three other witnesses Ivery was with. Ivery then said Vargas should go. But instead enters the vehicle himself with the other Witnesses and leaves. We went to Mr. Ivery's home in the Springs. At first Ivery denied an interview. But two days later agreed to come to the KOAA studios where he sat down with the News 5 Investigative Team. He began the interview by saying he was doing this because he “felt like dirt,” and that his talking to us may help others abstain from acting on their urges. Those urges he said, were brought on by post traumatic stress disorder after serving tours in Vietnam and Desert Storm while serving in the Special Forces.. But after serving his time for the crime...And interestingly enough, seeing an episode on the Oprah Winfrey on child sex molestation...”A light went off in my head,” explaining that he now takes full responsibility..."What I did was extremely wrong." The Public Information Office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York never returned our emails or phone calls. But we asked Ivery why he thought Jehovah's Witnesses knowing about his past, allowed him to go door to door. His explanation: “They allow this because they have a safety net in place. I have not gone door to door by myself...It's a policy of the witnesses." In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses policy is that they never approach a home and knock without being in a group of at least two people. But our interview with Ivery raises more questions. Who could be knocking on your door next? Could it be someone with a questionable past? "Some people that have been committed (sic) of crimes that I committed have more restrictions on them than I do."
      Hello guest!
  12. A Catholic priest has confessed he sexually abused around 20 boys decades ago on the U.S. island of Guam - but was never prosecuted. Other Church members were aware of the situation, but only suggested the priest pray and repent for his sins.
  13. The court's ruling puts an end to attempts by the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society of Great Britain to block an investigation into how it handles child abuse allegations. The Supreme Court has issued a final ruling telling the Watch Tower and Bible Tract Society of Great Britain that it cannot stop the Charity Commission from opening a statutory inquiry into the charity. The Supreme Court represented the last chance for the Jehovah’s Witness charity to prevent the Charity Commission from investigating how it handles allegation of child abuse after the Court of Appeal also ruled in March that it could not appeal against the opening of an inquiry. The commission opened a statutory inquiry in May 2014 to examine WTBTSB’s safeguarding measures after a congregation member and child abuse survivor alleged the charity had not done enough to protect her from her abuser, who was also a member of the church. The Supreme Court ruling, handed down on 11 July, means WTBTSB cannot take its challenge any further within the British courts. Chris Willis Pickup, head of litigation at the commission, welcomed the ruling. "Following two years of legal proceedings in five different courts and tribunals, the Supreme Court has finally brought Watch Tower’s challenge to our inquiry decision to an end," he said. "In the two years since we opened our inquiry, we have received a number of statements and helpful evidence from variety of sources, but limited information from Watch Tower. "Watch Tower continues to challenge an order we made in 2014 seeking information and documents about its safeguarding practices. "Following the Supreme Court’s decision, we hope that the charity will now engage with our investigation constructively so that we are able to establish the facts and understand the charity’s safeguarding policy, procedures and practices in their full context." He said the commission would encourage anyone affected by safeguarding in congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses to contact the commission. A spokesman for WTBTS told Third Sector: "We are looking at the ruling carefully and we care evaluating where we can go next." In March, the WTBTS won the right to apply for a judicial review hearing against a commission order that it hand over sensitive documents as part of its statutory inquiry.
      Hello guest!
  14. BELLOWS FALLS >> Attorneys for the Bellows Falls Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses are asking the United States District Court for the District of Vermont to dismiss a lawsuit alleging a congregation member committed sexual abuse 25 years ago. The lawsuit, filed by Annessa Lewis, names congregation member Norton True and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York as co-defendants in the suit. The attorneys are asking that the congregation and Watchtower be dismissed from the suit. They do not represent True. The abuse is alleged to have occurred in the early 1990s at True's home in Rockingham, while his adult daughter was babysitting Lewis, who is now 29 and lives in Texas. True's daughter was a friend of Lewis' mother. "To be clear, the (Jehovah's Witnesses and Watchtower) do not concede that there was an incident of abuse," wrote attorneys from Downs Rachlin and Martin, which is representing the congregation and Watchtower. Attorneys for Lewis allege that when Lewis was 5 years old, True molested her. Lewis did not reveal the alleged abuse until 1996, when she told a family member about it. According to the motion for summary judgment, True was a "baptized publisher," but not an elder or a "ministerial servant" at the time of the alleged abuse, noted the attorneys. "Although True had served as a ministerial servant in the late 1970s (Lewis) filed suit on October 1, 2014 when she was 27 years old. The six-year statute of limitations on Plaintiff's claims stemming from childhood sexual abuse began to run on January 9, 2005. She filed this action well over nine years later." True's duties as a ministerial servant ended in 1986, a year before Lewis' family began attending the congregation in Bellows Falls. "As a matter of law, (Lewis) knew she had been abused and had connected her emotional injuries — depression, anxiety, flashbacks, etc. — to the abuse over a decade before she filed suit," noted the attorneys. "No reasonable jury could conclude that she was unaware of the connection until six years or less before filing suit on October 1, 2014. Accordingly, (Lewis') claims are legally barred by (Vermont statutes)." In 1996, after Lewis told her mother about the alleged assault, "In accordance with the practices of Jehovah's Witnesses," a meeting was arranged between True, Lewis' mother, and two elders of the congregation, during which True denied the allegations. "(N)o further religious action could be taken against Mr. True, because (1) there was no confession, and (2) Marina refused to allow the elders to speak with her daughters," wrote the congregation's attorneys. The allegations were also reported to the Vermont Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Social Services Division in 1997, and True submitted to a polygraph test administered by a detective from the Vermont State Police, which True passed. As a result, no charges were filed. "When Mr. True talked to the police in September 1996, he denied the abuse and told them that he was simply trying to get a bee out of Plaintiff's overalls," noted the attorneys. In her suit filed in 2014, Lewis contended the congregation had breached its duties to "warn, control and protect" and to supervise True. "With his trusted status, Defendant True was able to have access to congregation children and to molest them ..." contended Lewis' suit. But attorneys for the congregation and Watchtower noted that congregation leaders were not made aware of the babysitting arrangements, nor provided a reference for, sponsor or supervise the services. "This was an independent childcare arrangement between good friends ..." And to claim that the congregation was required to "monitor" interactions in private homes between individuals who are not engaged in any religious activity "is beyond the legal or feasible scope of any possible undertaking. Because the specific 'service' for which (Lewis) claims protection in this case is beyond the scope of any 'monitoring' service the (congregation) could possibly or legally provide, (Lewis') claim fails as a matter of law." The suit against the congregation and Watchtower should be dismissed, noted the attorneys, because "True was not an agent or employee of the (congregation) at the time of the abuse, (2) the abuse did not occur upon premises controlled by the (congregation); and (3) the abuse did not occur in connection with any religious activity or church-sanctioned event ..." Even if the court agrees the suit against the Bellows Falls congregation and Watchtower should be dismissed, the suit against True could still go forward. Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 160.
      Hello guest!
  15. 20160801E.pdf Here is the text of the new letter (hopefully available in original format soon) Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses The Ridgeway, London, NW7 1RN Telephone: 020 8906 2211 8/1/16-E August 1, 2016 TO ALL BODIES OF ELDERS Re: Protecting Minors From Abuse Table of Contents Legal Considerations ................................................................ Pars. 5-9 Congregation Considerations ...................................................... Par. 10 Providing Spiritual Assistance to Victims ............................ Pars. 11-12 Investigating Allegations ............................................................. Par. 13 Judicial Committee ...................................................................... Par. 14 Reinstatement Committee .................................................... Pars. 15-16 Restrictions ........................................................................... Pars. 17-19 Filing ............................................................................................ Par. 20 Moving to Another Congregation ........................................ Pars. 21-22 Notification by Secular Authorities ............................................. Par. 23 Sexual Misconduct Involving Only Minors ......................... Pars. 24-25 Notations in the Shepherding Textbook ...................................... Par. 26 Dear Brothers: 1. This letter replaces the letter dated October 1, 2012, to all bodies of elders regarding child abuse and has been added to the list of policy letters cited in Index to Letters for Bodies of Elders (S-22). Please carefully study the entire letter. While the following information refers to an accused in the masculine gender and to the victim in the feminine gender, it applies equally when the genders are different. Similarly, references to parents apply equally to legal guardians. 2. Child abuse includes the sexual or physical abuse of a minor. It would also include the extreme neglect of a minor by her parent. Child sexual abuse is a perversion and generally includes sexual intercourse with a minor; oral or anal sex with a minor; fondling the genitals, breasts, or buttocks of a minor; voyeurism of a minor; indecent exposure to a minor; or soliciting a minor for sexual conduct. Depending on the circumstances of the case, it may include involvement with child pornography or “sexting” with a minor. “Sexting” describes the sending of sexually explicit messages or images electronically. 3. From the Bible’s standpoint, child sexual abuse is a gross sin. (Deut. 23:17, 18; Gal. 5:19-21; ks10 chap. 5 par. 10; w97 2/1 p. 29; g93 10/8 p. 10, ftn.) Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child sexual abuse. (Rom. 12:9) Thus, the congregation will not shield any perpetrator of such repugnant acts from the consequences of his sin. 4. The Scriptures place the responsibility on parents for teaching and protecting their children. (Eph. 6:4) As spiritual shepherds, elders can help parents to shoulder their Scriptural responsibility. Our publications and website contain much helpful information to assist parents.—w10 11/1 p. 13; w08 10/1 p. 21; g 10/07 pp. 3-11; lr pp. 170-171; g99 4/8 pp. 8-11; g97 4/8 p. 14; w96 12/1 pp. 13-14 pars. 18-19; fy pp. 61-62 pars. 24-26; g93 10/8 pp. 5-13; g85 1/22 pp. 3-10. Re: Protecting Minors From Abuse August 1, 2016 Page 2 5. Legal Considerations: In some jurisdictions, individuals who learn of an allegation of child abuse may be obligated by law to report the allegation to the secular authorities. In all cases, the victim and her parents have the absolute right to report an allegation to the authorities.—Gal. 6:5; ks10 chap. 12 par. 19. 6. To ensure that elders comply with child-abuse reporting laws, two elders should immedi-ately call the Legal Department for legal advice when the elders learn of an accusation of child abuse. (Rom. 13:1-4) A call should be made even when both persons involved are minors. The elders should not ask an alleged victim, the accused person, or anyone else to call the Legal Department on the el-ders’ behalf. The elders should call the Legal Department even in the following situations: • The alleged abuse occurred many years ago. • The alleged abuse is based on the testimony of only one witness. • The alleged abuse is believed to be a repressed memory. • The alleged abuse involved perpetrators or victims who are deceased. • The alleged abuse is believed to have already been reported to the secular authorities. • The alleged perpetrator or victim is not a member of your congregation. • The alleged perpetrator is a non-Witness associating with the congregation. • The alleged abuse occurred before the alleged perpetrator or victim was baptized. • The alleged victim is now an adult. • The alleged abuse occurred in the past, and it is unclear whether your congregation elders ever called the Legal Department for direction. 7. The Legal Department will provide legal advice based on the facts and the applicable law. If the individual who is accused of the child abuse is associated with your congregation, the two elders calling should provide the Legal Department with the individual’s date of birth and, if applicable, his date of baptism. After speaking with the Legal Department, the call will be trans-ferred to the Service Department so that the elders can receive further assistance. 8. Two elders should immediately call the Legal Department regarding any prison inmate, baptized or unbaptized, who has been accused of child abuse and who is now associating with a congregation. This would include his attending congregation meetings held in the prison. In some cases, elders may not be permitted to inquire about the offense that an inmate may have committed. However, if the elders learn that the alleged offense has to do with child abuse, they should imme-diately call the Legal Department. 9. If the elders become aware of an adult associated with a congregation who has been in-volved with child pornography, two elders should immediately call the Legal Department. Likewise, if the elders become aware of an adult or a minor associated with a congregation who is “sexting” with a minor, the Legal Department should be called immediately. The Legal Department does not need to be called when the elders receive reports of adults “sexting” one another. 10. Congregation Considerations: When discussing child sexual abuse from a congrega-tion standpoint, we are not discussing a situation in which a minor who is a willing participant and who is approaching adulthood is involved in sexual activity with an adult who is a few years older than the minor. Nor, generally speaking, are we discussing situations in which only minors are in-volved. (See paragraphs 24-25.) Rather, we are referring to an adult guilty of sexually abusing a minor who is a young child, or an adult guilty of sexual involvement with a minor who is approaching adulthood but was not a willing participant. Re: Protecting Minors From Abuse August 1, 2016 Page 3 11. Providing Spiritual Assistance to Victims: As elders provide ongoing spiritual shep-herding, it is especially important that they demonstrate empathy and compassion to victims of child sexual abuse and their families. (Isa. 32:1, 2) Helpful suggestions and guidelines can be found in the Shepherding textbook, chapter 4, paragraphs 21-28. The elders should carefully review this material when helping victims of child sexual abuse. In the case of any discussion with a child abuse victim who is still a minor, an elder should never meet alone with the minor but should al-ways involve another elder and another adult member of the congregation, preferably the minor’s parent(s). If it is not possible to include the parent (for example, if the parent is the accused), then another adult member of the congregation who is a confidant of the victim should be included. In addition to the spiritual shepherding provided by the elders, the victim or her family may desire other assistance. For example, the victim or her family may decide to consult a mental-health pro-fessional. This would be a personal decision for them to make. 12. When an elder is approached by an adult who is concerned or distraught about past abuse, he should “speak consolingly” to the person. (1 Thess. 5:14) Elders should manifest an em-pathetic, compassionate, patient, and supportive response to those approaching them about such matters. An elder must never meet alone with or become the sole confidant of a sister to whom he is not closely related. 13. Investigating Allegations: The elders may learn of an allegation of child sexual abuse directly from the victim, through her parents, or through a trusted confidant of the victim. After re-ceiving assistance from the branch office, the body of elders will appoint two elders to conduct a Scriptural investigation of every allegation of child sexual abuse. These elders should carefully fol-low Scriptural procedures and the Bible-based direction outlined in this letter and in the Shepherd-ing textbook, particularly chapter 5. Elders should remember that during the investigation process and during the judicial committee process, a victim of child sexual abuse is not required to make her allegation in the presence of the alleged abuser. In the exceptional event that the two elders believe it is necessary to interview a minor who is a victim of child sexual abuse, the elders should first con-tact the Service Department. 14. Judicial Committee: If the body of elders concludes that there is sufficient Scriptural evidence to warrant the formation of a congregation judicial committee on the grounds of child sex-ual abuse, the coordinator of the body of elders should first contact the circuit overseer. (ks10 chap. 5 par. 37; chap. 6 pars. 1-2) The circuit overseer will designate an experienced elder to serve as chairman of the judicial committee and, if needed, the appeal committee. If wrongdoing is estab-lished and the wrongdoer is not repentant, he should be disfellowshipped. (ks10 chap. 7 par. 26) On the other hand, if the wrongdoer is repentant and is reproved, the reproof should be announced to the congregation. (ks10 chap. 7 pars. 20-21) This announcement will serve as a protection for the congregation. 15. Reinstatement Committee: If a person who has been disfellowshipped for child sexu-al abuse applies for reinstatement, the coordinator of the body of elders should contact his circuit overseer and provide the names of those who served on the original committee. The circuit overseer will designate an experienced elder to serve as chairman of the reinstatement committee. If the deci-sion is to reinstate, two elders should immediately call the Service Department. This call must be made before the reinstatement is announced to the congregation.—ks10 chap. 11 pars. 1-6, 11-15. 16. If a person who has been disfellowshipped for child sexual abuse has moved and applies for reinstatement in a different congregation, the coordinator of the body of elders of the new con-gregation should contact his circuit overseer. The circuit overseer of the new congregation will desig- Re: Protecting Minors From Abuse August 1, 2016 Page 4 nate an experienced elder to serve as chairman of the reinstatement committee in the new congrega-tion. If that committee recommends that the person be reinstated, the committee should contact the coordinator of the body of elders of the original congregation, who should then contact his circuit overseer and provide the names of those who served on the original judicial committee. That circuit overseer will designate an experienced elder to serve as chairman of the reinstatement committee in the original congregation. If that committee agrees to reinstate, two elders from each congregation should immediately call the Service Department. These calls must be made before the reinstatement is announced in both congregations.—ks10 chap. 11 pars. 7-10, 13. 17. Restrictions: The elders should carefully adhere to all direction provided by the Ser-vice Department regarding reasonable steps that should be taken to protect minors from one who has engaged in child sexual abuse. For example, the Service Department will provide direction when (1) a congregation judicial committee determines that one guilty of child sexual abuse is re-pentant and will remain in the congregation, (2) one disfellowshipped for child sexual abuse is rein-stated, (3) when an unbaptized publisher or a baptized member of the congregation who denies an accusation of child sexual abuse is convicted by the secular authorities, or (4) one viewed as a child molester by the community or the congregation becomes a publisher or becomes a baptized member of the congregation. 18. Direction from the Service Department to the elders will include restrictions imposed on an individual’s activities within the congregation, on his participation in the field ministry, and on his interaction with minors. The elders will be directed to caution the individual never to be alone with a minor, not to cultivate friendships with minors, not to display affection for minors, and so forth. In some cases, the Service Department may specifically direct elders to inform parents of minors within the congregation of the need to monitor their children’s interaction with an individu-al. If the body of elders has questions about a past case, two elders should be assigned to call the Service Department for direction. The coordinator of the body of elders should ensure that newly appointed elders and elders who move into the congregation are made aware of the Service De-partment’s direction regarding such individuals. 19. One who has engaged in child sexual abuse does not qualify to receive any privileges in the congregation for many years, if ever. This includes seemingly minor privileges. Elders should keep in mind what is stated in the January 1, 1997, Watchtower article “Let Us Abhor What Is Wick-ed,” page 29, paragraph 2: “Child sexual abuse reveals an unnatural fleshly weakness. Experience has shown that such an adult may well molest other children. True, not every child molester repeats the sin, but many do. And the congregation cannot read hearts to tell who is and who is not liable to mo-lest children again. (Jeremiah 17:9) Hence, Paul’s counsel to Timothy applies with special force in the case of baptized adults who have molested children: ‘Never lay your hands hastily upon any man; nei-ther be a sharer in the sins of others.’ (1 Timothy 5:22).” Therefore, if the body of elders believes that one who has engaged in child sexual abuse decades ago may now qualify for minor privileges, such as carrying or adjusting microphones, operating audio/video equipment, or assisting with accounts, liter-ature, magazines, or territories, they should assign two elders to call the Service Department. The as-signed elders should call the Service Department before any congregation privileges are extended. 20. Filing: Information concerning individuals associated with the congregation and ac-cused of child sexual abuse (established or not), including letters of introduction, should be placed in an envelope labeled with the individual’s name and marked “Do Not Destroy.” This envelope should be kept indefinitely in the congregation’s confidential file. This would include Notification of Disfellowshipping or Disassociation (S-77) forms on individuals who have committed child sex-ual abuse, even if later reinstated. Re: Protecting Minors From Abuse August 1, 2016 Page 5 21. Moving to Another Congregation: When an individual who has been accused of child sexual abuse (established or not) moves to another congregation, two elders from the congregation the individual moves from should immediately call the Legal Department. The elders should be prepared to provide the name of the new congregation, if known. This should be done even if the individual is disfellowshipped or is in prison and is transferred to another facility or is released. The Congregation Service Committee should not send any information to the new congregation until after receiving le-gal advice from the Legal Department and direction from the Service Department. 22. When the elders are informed that an individual who has been accused of child sexual abuse (established or not) has moved into the congregation, two elders should immediately call the Legal Department. This should be done even if the individual is disfellowshipped or is in prison and has transferred from another facility or is released. If the individual is disfellowshipped and living within the congregation’s territory, the elders should list that address on the appropriate congrega-tion territory card as a “Do Not Call.” 23. Notification by Secular Authorities: From time to time, secular authorities may in-form the elders that a sex offender is living in the area. The notice may provide the address of the individual and may state the nature of his criminal activity. In such a case, the elders should list that address on the appropriate congregation territory card as a “Do Not Call.” 24. Sexual Misconduct Involving Only Minors: What steps should elders take when mi-nors engage in sexual misconduct with one another? As stated in paragraph 6, two elders should immediately call the Legal Department even when both persons are minors. Minors who engage in sexual misconduct with one another are not generally considered by the congregation as having en-gaged in child sexual abuse. However, regardless of the ages of those involved, such misconduct is serious and may even warrant congregation judicial action. The body of elders should work with the parents to ensure that the minors receive spiritual assistance. If elders have questions regarding a specific case, they should call the Service Department.—ks10 chap. 5 par. 61; chap. 6 par. 14. 25. The potential serious consequences associated with “sexting” highlight the importance of Christian parents supervising their children’s use of electronic devices. When baptized minors become involved in “sexting,” the elders must use good judgment in determining whether the wrongdoing has escalated to a point warranting congregation judicial action. Helpful information can be found in “Questions From Readers” in the July 15, 2006, issue of The Watchtower. Please review this material carefully before concluding that a baptized minor is guilty of gross uncleanness or brazen conduct. (ks10 chap. 5 par. 9) If the baptized minor has been previously counseled and persists in the wrong course, in most cases, congregation judicial action is taken. Each case must be evaluated on its own merit. In all cases, the body of elders should work with the parents to ensure that the minors receive spiritual assistance. (ks10 chap. 6 par. 14) If elders have questions regarding a specific case, they should call the Service Department. 26. Notations in the Shepherding Textbook: In view of the foregoing, each elder should make the following notation next to chapter 3, paragraph 20; chapter 5, paragraph 10, second bullet; chapter 7, paragraph 20, second bullet; chapter 10, paragraph 2; and chapter 12, paragraph 18, of the Shepherding textbook: “See letter dated August 1, 2016, to all bodies of elders.” In addition, each elder should cross out chapter 12, paragraphs 20-21. 27. It is imperative to adhere to the direction in this letter each time a matter involving child abuse comes to your attention. This will serve to uphold the sanctity of Jehovah’s name and to protect minors. (1 Pet. 2:12) Your full cooperation with this direction is appreciated. May Jehovah Re: Protecting Minors From Abuse August 1, 2016 Page 6 grant you knowledge, wisdom, and discernment as you care for this and other weighty matters in connection with the flock of God entrusted to your care.—Prov. 2:6; 1 Pet. 5:2, 3. Your brothers, c: Circuit overseers
  16. A disgraced Jehovah's Witness elder has been jailed for eight years for sexually abusing a girl. Martyn Barron (55) pleaded guilty to four counts of sexually assaulting a child under 13, more than 10 years ago. The victim, now an adult, said the abuse had devastated her life. Leicester Crown Court was told Barron, of Walton Street,Belgrave, Leicester, sought to blame the child for his wrongdoing in a pre-sentence report. He has been disfellowed by his Jehovah's Witness community – where he formerly held a senior position as an elder figure, similar to that of a pastor. Sentencing, Recorder Adrian Reynolds said: "How can a man who professes to have a belief in God have acted in the way you did? "The effect upon her has been devastating. "For a moments fleeting sexual pleasure, for you, there's a lifetime of sexual trauma for a victim who can't understand why someone should behave in such a way. "It was abuse by someone who was thoroughly respected within your religious community. "Although you pleaded guilty, the admissions you made were loaded with self-justification – and despite what your advocate has said, it's very telling in the pre-sentence report that you believe this was all her fault. "You're mired in the kind of self-justification that is the hallmark for dyed-in-the-wool paedophiles." Steven Taylor, prosecuting, said the victim was 10 or 11 when the defendant touched her intimately. The victim confided in someone years later and her parents then learnt about what had happened. When confronted about the abuse, the defendant admitted wrongdoing but claimed he thought she was nearer 15. Mr Taylor said: "He was interviewed by the police in August last year and acknowledged there had been a number of sexual incidents, then saying he thought the victim was about 13." The defendant tried suggesting to the police the youngster encouraged him which was not accepted by the complainant. Michael Garvey, mitigating, said Barron had no previous convictions. He said: "He'd been an elder for some time, helping people with their problems, trying to assist and listening – it was something that played upon him. "It was one of the factors that led him to behave in this way at other times." He said the defendant no longer stood by criticism of the victim in his pre-sentence report and accepted harm caused to her was inevitable. Mr Taylor said: "He's no longer entitled to play a full part within the church. "He gave up his engineering job as it would occasionally involve him going into schools and thought it would be impractical to explain his whereabouts to the police and explain the situation to his boss. "There are fewer people available for him to contact now or have any sort of relationship with in the future. "His wife has a disability and he was her carer; life will be much harder for her while he's incarcerated. "He's willing to cooperate with any rehabilitation." Barron was made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order banning unsupervised contact with under 16s and will remain on a sex offender register for life.
      Hello guest!
  17. Dale Standridge's preliminary hearing was scheduled for this morning. Instead, the case was dismissed against him because of "insufficient admissible evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt," according to Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads. The victim and her father made two powerful and emotional statements as is their right under Marcy's law. The victims said in court, "The worst thing is that I cannot get up in court and tell him." She said she wanted Standridge to know she was not scared. Standridge's court appointed public defender, Ms. Kelly Neel, at the end, made the statement sayin the case against her client was dismissed and yet he had to sit in court and "have his character assassinated" without a chance to respond. Jun 20, 2016 New information in case against local Jehovah elder; Judge Feeney denies modification of protective order A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dale Standridge on June 20 at 8:30 a.m. Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads prosecuting the case. Public Defender Kelly Neal has been appointed to represent Standridge. The People requested a continuance. The defense did not oppose that motion. Judge John Feeney found "good cause" and granted the continuance after hearing from DDA Stacey Eads. "This morning, the People received relevant information; it needs further investigation," said Ms. Eads. New preliminary hearing date is July 21 at 8:30 a.m. Intervention is on July 20 at 3 p.m. Two witnesses expected to testify today were HCSO deputies Dustin Del Biaggio and David Brooks. Judge Feeney denied a motion filed today by the defense to modify the protective order, for a limited purpose, so Standridge could attend his local church and an upcoming convention. The modification was to reduce the 100 feet stay away to 20 feet. Ms. Neel added that "Mr. Standridge has no intention of contact with the minor" and has not contacted the minor since the filing of the case. DDA Stacey Eads said she briefly spoke with the alleged victim's parents. "They are opposed to any modification. They intend to go the convention. Any encounter with Mr. Standridge is traumatic to the child." About 8 people were at the Courthouse with Standridge. The alleged minor victim's parents were in the courtroom, they were escorted in and out by DA Investigator Martin Morris. Ms. Neel spoke with Standridge before the hearing, then she met with Ms. Eads. Apr 27, 2016 Local Jehovah's witness elder's preliminary hearing continued due to "ongoing investigation" A preliminary hearing for Dale Standridge was scheduled for today. The People requested a continuance, defense did not object. Judge Timothy Cissna granted the continuance. "Ongoing investigation" was one of the reasons given by Deputy District Attorney Stacey Ead's. Intervention is June 8. Preliminary hearing is June 20. Feb 24, 2016 Preliminary hearing for Dale Standridge, local Jehovah Witnesses elder, charged with recurring sexual conduct of a minor child Dale Standridge's case was scheduled for disposition and reset this afternoon. His preliminary hearing for February 3 was continued at the request of the defense. Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads is prosecuting this case for the People. Public Defender Ms. Kelly Neel has been appointed to represent Standridge. Preliminary hearing scheduled for April 27. Nov 16, 2015 $100,000 bail for Dale Standridge charged with recurring sexual conduct of a child under age 14 Dale Standridge who had bail set for $100,000, posted bail and appeared out of custody for his arraignment this afternoon for the felony charge if PC 288.5 a. It is alleged in the complaint filed by the District Attorney's office that in Count 1 covering the period "from June 23, 2007 to June 23, 2013,"Standridge engaged in "three or more lewd and lascivious acts with Jane Doe," who is under the age of 14, while residing with the child. According to one source, Standridge, who is 48 years old, is the owner of Sharp Auto graphics in Eureka. At first, Mr. Greg Rael, a private attorney was going to make a special appearance, then the Public Defender's office was appointed for Standridge who indicated he could not afford a private attorney. Standridge entered pleas of not guilty, waived time. Intervention is set for January 20 at 3 p.m. Preliminary hearing is set for February 3 at 8:30. 288.5. (a) Any person who either resides in the same home with the minor child or has recurring access to the child, who over a period of time, not less than three months in duration, engages in three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct with a child under the age of 14 years at the time of the commission of the offense
      Hello guest!
  18. The Jehovah's Witnesses face a million-pound legal bill after a young girl was sexually abused by one of its members. The victim, now aged in her 20s, was molested by an elder, or "ministerial servant'', Peter Stewart, over a five-year period in Loughborough in the 1980s and '90s, London's High Court heard. Last year, a judge ordered the organisation to pay £275,000 compensation to the victim or failing to protect her or to warn other parents about Stewart. The church appealed the decision. But this week an Appeal Court judge rejected the appeal and said the church should pay Stewart's victim £275,000 compensation and the massive legal costs of the case, which have been estimated at around £1 million. Stewart, who carried out bible study sessions and door-to-door evangelical rounds, molested the girl, who can not be named for legal reasons, on a weekly basis. The trauma she suffered derailed her education and career, and led to harrowing nightmares and recurring thoughts of suicide. Matters came to a head when she "passed out on her bed next to a pile of paracetamol" while on holiday with her husband, "having left him a suicide note". The woman told her mother what he had done to her in 2000 when she learned he was about to be released from prison. She reported the abuse to police but Stewart died in 2001, aged 72, before he could be brought to justice. However, Stewart had been convicted in 1995 of sexually abusing a schoolgirl and a young boy who was also part of the Jehovah's Witness congregation. The church denied that it could be held responsible for the behaviour of "ministerial servant", Peter Stewart. It said he was not an employee, acted as "little more than a tidier-upper" after church gatherings and had no responsibility at all for child welfare, its lawyers argued. Rejecting the appeal, however, Lord Justice Floyd said it was not just a case of opportunistic sex abuse. Stewart's relationship with the church was "akin to employment" and his role as a ministerial servant put him in a position of trust. His official status gave him "ostensible authority to have unaccompanied access to children". And, had it not been for that, the girl's mother would never have accepted him into her home. Church elders had also failed to take reasonable steps to protect children in the congregation in 1990, after suspicions were raised that Stewart had abused another girl. Lord Justice Floyd said it was "fair just and reasonable" to order the church's governing body to pay compensation. Source:
      Hello guest!
  19. A Jehovah's Witness strangled girls for sexual gratification - but his crimes were "swept under the carpet" for more than two decades Ian Pheasey first attacked a seven-year-old girl while he was working as a volunteer librarian Photo: SWNS By Agency Reporter 3:51PM GMT 29 Dec 2015 A Jehovah's Witness who strangled young girls for sexual gratification has finally been jailed after his crimes were covered up by the congregation at his church for more than two decades. Ian Pheasey, 54, went unpunished for more than 25 years after his activities were "swept under the rug" by the church he attended. A court heard that Pheasey first attacked a seven-year-old girl while he was working as a volunteer librarian at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, in Warwick, in the 1990s. Pheasey was eventually caught after another of his victims went to the police after learning Pheasey was working at a hospice. Pheasey was arrested in October 2014 and charged with offences between 1989 and 1994. "Sadly her parents chose to conceal the sexual nature of the incident and told her not to say anything about it. They continued to understate the seriousness of the assault, and the matter was swept under the carpet by the church." Nicholas Taplow, prosecuting Ian Pheasey Last Wednesday, Pheasey was jailed for five years after he pleaded guilty to assaulting one girl causing her actual bodily harm and indecently assaulting two others. Sentencing at Warwick Crown Court, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said: "You obtain sexual gratification from the idea of strangling children. "That is a hideous and discomfiting fantasy, and one which has given me some concern when I come to sentence you. "One of the most serious features is that strangulation creates a risk of causing very serious injury and death. "So it's not simply a matter of it being frightening and disgusting that small children have been made to suffer in this way, it's the risk they would suffer something even more catastrophic." "He was a man who had a particular sexual fascination with the act of strangulation. He derived sexual gratification from strangling children, and many children were strangled in this way by him during what he described as 'horseplay'." Nicholas Taplow, prosecutor Prosecutor, Nicholas Taplow told the court that Pheasey first struck when a young girl went to get a book from the Kingdom Hall library. His second victim was a 14-year-old girl who he grabbed around the neck and threw to the floor where he straddled her and squeezed her neck. The court heard she fell into unconsciousness, came round but then passed out again before coming round for a second time and crying out: "Jehovah help me!" He calmly told her that he would kill her if she told anyone, adding that if she grew up and had daughters he would rape them as well. She ran home screaming and crying and told her mother what happened - only to be told to clean herself up before she was taken to hospital for the bruising to her neck. Mr Taplow added: "Sadly her parents chose to conceal the sexual nature of the incident and told her not to say anything about it. "They continued to understate the seriousness of the assault, and the matter was swept under the carpet by the church." Pheasey's third victim was just six when he was carrying out some work at her parents' home. The court heard as she sat in his van, he got in and began to tickle her before moving his hand up under her skirt - but stopped when she kicked out and screamed. Following his arrest Pheasey said he could not remember the incident in the library, but admitted he had put his hands round the girl's neck on more than one occasion. He confessed to fantasising about strangling the 14-year-old, and had lured her over with the intention of strangling her and becoming sexually aroused. Mr Taplow said: "He was a man who had a particular sexual fascination with the act of strangulation. "He derived sexual gratification from strangling children, and many children were strangled in this way by him during what he described as 'horseplay'." Nick Devine, defending, said: "The inevitable lengthy sentence of imprisonment will have devastating consequences for him, going to prison at his age for an offence of this nature. "It may be that, while the congregation of the Jehovah's Witnesses can be criticised for how they dealt with it, it has at least acted on him in part to prevent a return to acting out the fantasies he had." Pheasey, of Warwick, was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life and given a sexual harm prevention order restricting his contact with children. A spokesman for the Jehovah's Witnesses said the church deplored Pheasey's behaviour and denied it was involved in a cover up of his crimes. The spokesman said: "Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse, and view it as a heinous crime and sin. The safety of our children is of the utmost importance. "Any suggestion that Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child abuse is absolutely false. We are committed to doing all we can to prevent child abuse and to provide spiritual comfort to any who have suffered from this terrible sin and crime."
      Hello guest!
  20. SAN DIEGO — An appeals court throw out a $13.5 million judgment against the governing body of the Jehovah’s Witness church Thursday in a lawsuit that accuses the organization of covering up years of sexual abuse by a local church leader. The ruling by the state Fourth District Court of Appeal hits the reset button on the case, potentially leading to another trial but with one major caveat — that documents concerning past sexual abuse cases in the church should be turned over. The church’s hierarchical body, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, has remained defiant in refusing a court order to produce such documentation, and the ruling gives the organization another chance to comply. If the organization doesn’t acquiesce, the case could potentially end the same way it did the first time, with a multi-million dollar judgment against it. The lawsuit was filed in 2012 in San Diego Superior Court by Jose Lopez, who claimed he was molested at the age of 7 by a leader in the church’s Linda Vista congregation in 1986. His lawsuit says church elders recommended the leader, Gonzalo Campos, to Lopez’s mom as someone who would be a good mentor to teach the boy Bible lessons. But the elders knew Campos had molested a boy as early as 1982, according to evidence revealed in the case, and did nothing about it, continuing to put children at risk, the lawsuit claims. Lopez said Campos spent months grooming him and then assaulted him at Campos’ La Jolla home one day. The boy told his mother, who reported it immediately to the church leadership. The elders told her they’d handle the situation and discouraged her from calling law enforcement, the lawsuit says. She and her son left the church. Evidence presented in the trial showed the church monitored Campos for nine months, and in the following years he rose through the ranks in the church, continuing to teach children. He moved to a Spanish-language Kingdom Hall in La Jolla at one point but was kicked out in 1995 after another victim reported being abused. He was reinstated in the church in 2000. In a previous statement to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Watchtower denied that Campos was in a leadership position in the church when he was teaching Lopez and that “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts.” Campos later confessed to abusing at least eight children between 1982 and 1995. He fled to Mexico around 2010 after San Diego police were notified and is believed to still be there, said Lopez’s lawyer, Irwin Zalkin. Six other men and one woman who sued Watchtower claiming they were victims of Campos’ settled their cases out of court. The road to trial in Lopez’s case was long. In putting together his case, Zalkin asked for any reports of Campos’ abuse, as well as abuse by other church leaders dating back to 1979 and records of how the church dealt with those incidents. Watchtower fought back, claiming the documents would be “impossible” to retrieve, would violate rights, and that the request was over-burdensome, with the church’s 1.2 million members in more than 13,000 congregations nationwide. After much consideration, Superior Court Judge Joan Lewis ordered the documents produced. They weren’t. Lopez’s lawyers also traveled to New York to depose Gerrit Losch, a longstanding member of the governing body, on the court’s orders, but he didn’t show up. The judge, citing the refusal to comply with releasing the documents and Losch’s no-show, decided to issue the ultimate sanction against Watchtower: terminate its right to be heard in the case going forward. Lopez’s lawyers put on a six-day trial in front of the judge, without Watchtower’s lawyers there to offer a defense. In the end, Judge Lewis handed down a default judgment of $10.5 million in punitive damages and $3 million in compensatory damages against Watchtower. Watchtower also had to pay more than $37,000 in sanctions, mostly to cover the travel costs for the deposition that never happened. Watchtower appealed. The appeals court gave a mixed-bag opinion Thursday. The three-judge panel rejected Watchtower’s claims that the prior abuse documents shouldn’t have to be turned over. However, the appeals court disagreed with the judge’s order for Losch’s deposition, saying Lopez’s lawyers did not prove that he was key to the case as a leader in the governing body. The court also took issue with how quickly Lewis terminated Watchtower from the court proceedings, saying she should have first tried less-punitive sanctions to see if the church would comply with her orders. The case will now go back to Lewis to give Watchtower another chance to turn over the requested abuse documents. If, after further warnings and lower-grade sanctions, the church still doesn’t comply, the case could end again the same way. Attorneys for Watchtower did not return requests for an interview Thursday. Lopez’s lawyer, Zalkin, said Thursday that the court’s opinion could have a big impact on his case and other similar lawsuits against Watchtower being fought in California and around the country. “From our perspective, this has always been about getting the documents,” he said. He added that Watchtower has produced some prior abuse documents in other lawsuits, but they have been heavily redacted and of little use. “They don’t want the world to know what they’ve known about child sex abuse within their organization for decades and they’ve been trying desperately to keep that covered up,” Zalkin said. Last April, an appeals court overturned an $8.6 million punitive award against Watchtower in a similar 2012 lawsuit filed in Alameda County by a woman who was molested by a church member. The court ruled that the church had no obligation to warn the congregation that the member had admitted to previously molesting his stepdaughter. The court did uphold $2.8 million in compensatory damages in the case. Source:
      Hello guest!
  21. Imposes $4000-a-day penalty for not producing documents in sex-abuse case By Dorian Hargrove, June 24, 2016 A San Diego Superior Court judge has ordered the Church of Jehovah's Witnesses, also known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, to pay $4000 a day for every day that it fails to produce documents requested in a civil lawsuit brought by former parishioner, Osbaldo Padron, who claims a church elder sexually abused him when he was seven years old. In a June 23 ruling, expected to be made final today, judge Richard Strauss admonished the church for willfully ignoring a court order to produce all documents associated with a 1997 Body of Elders letter that church leaders sent to parishes around the world in a quest to learn about sexual abuse of children by church leaders. Over the course of the past year, the Watchtower Society and its lawyers have fought hard to keep the letter confidential, claiming that turning over the documents would infringe on the privacy of those mentioned in the letter that were not associated with the case. In March 2015, the church turned over a heavily redacted version of the letter. Opposing attorneys called the redactions excessive, rendering the document illegible. Judge Strauss then assigned a discovery referee to sit with the two sides. But having a referee involved didn't solve matters. Repeatedly, the Watchtower Society has stated that it will not comply with the order. "By the time of the hearing on the motion for sanctions, it will have been over a year since the initial order and almost three months since the [referee's recommendation] was adopted," reads Strauss's ruling. "In the period since...Watchtower has shown no effort or willingness to comply with the discovery order. "Based upon the history in this case and Watchtower's statements...the court finds that Watchtower's failure to comply is willful...Watchtower clearly has control over the documents it has already produced and could revise the redactions with regard to those documents. This is obviously and clearly within the scope of Watchtower's powers which it chooses not to exercise. Continuing to repeat its prior unsuccessful arguments in opposition to the discovery order further illustrates Watchtower's obstinacy in compliance."
      Hello guest!
  22. Jehovah's Witnesses against Child Abuse. Official Announcement.
  23. Tough to build Jehovah's Witness sex-abuse case Without documents, says plaintiff, he can’t get justice By Dorian Hargrove, April 24, 2016 On Friday, April 29, an attorney for Osbaldo Padron will ask a judge to impose severe sanctions on the Jehovah's Witness Church for refusing to turn over documents. The documents allegedly show the church was aware of sexual abuse committed over decades by a San Diego–based church leader on young boys, such as Padron. The request for sanctions is the latest development in a childhood sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the church in several countries in recent years. In San Diego, the case is the ninth against church leader Gonzalo Campos; seven settled out of court. In 2013, according to a 2014 article in the Union-Tribune, a judge ordered the Jehovah's Witness Church, also known as the Watchtower, to pay José Lopez $13.5 million for covering up sexual abuse he suffered at the hands Campos. In Lopez’s case, he was seven years old in 1986 when Campos sexually abused him in a bathroom during a Bible-study outing. Campos’s history of molestation of young boys went beyond the eight victims, according to Padron's 2013 lawsuit. In 1982, then–18-year-old Campos allegedly tried to have sex with his 12-year-old roommate. The boy fought back, hitting Campos multiple times with a bat. The boy told church leaders and they promised to investigate. Four years later, Campos was again accused of molesting children, including Lopez and the other seven people who later filed lawsuits. In 1987, Campos joined the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation of the Jehovah's Witness Church. According to the lawsuit, leaders of the congregation were aware of the accusations against Campos. Despite this, he was continually promoted to a leadership role for the congregation. In 1994, several more complaints surfaced against Campos. In April of that year, an alleged victim’s parents wrote to church leaders asking for an investigation. Months later the letter was forwarded to church officials at Watchtower headquarters in New York. It was at that time that Campos was allegedly molesting then-seven-year-old Padron. Padron filed his lawsuit in September 2013. Since filing, says the recent request for sanctions, church officials and their attorneys have stonewalled in turning over documents, despite a March 2015 court order requiring them to do so. Among the documents requested is a March 14, 1997, "Body of Elders" letter that was sent to congregations throughout the world requesting detailed information on alleged sexual abuse by church leaders. The letter, and subsequent responses generated during the following years, would show that leaders at the New York headquarters and throughout the church were aware of childhood sex abuse by church elders. But the church has refused to comply. And even when doing so they have turned over heavily redacted documents. "...Watchtower produced documents that redacted the names of victims, elders, perpetrators, congregations (as well as the addresses and contact information of the congregation), towns where abuse occurred, law enforcement agencies that investigated claims, and other material," reads a newly filed court document. "The redactions are so extreme that Plaintiff cannot make use of them. Plaintiff submitted a sampling of these redacted documents to the discovery referee and this Court, who each agreed that the redactions are so broad as to undermine Plaintiff's ability to use them. "This court determined the requested documents were relevant, unprivileged, and that production would not be overly burdensome. This court also specifically addressed third party privacy, stating: ‘all personal, identifying information pertaining to any third party/victim should be redacted from the documents to address any privacy concerns.’” In a court motion, Padron's attorney, Irwin Zalkin, says the court must get tough with the church and issue terminating sanctions compelling church leaders and their attorneys to follow orders. If granted, terminating sanctions would impose fines on the church for each day it fails to turn over the documents. If the documents are still not produced after a reasonable amount of time, the judge could order dismissal of the case and render judgment against the Watchtower, the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation, and Campos. The motion, as well as a request from the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation for summary judgement, will be heard in department 75 at 9 a.m. on Friday, inside the San Diego Superior Court building downtown.
      Hello guest!
    Osbaldo Padron is also being represented by Irwin Zalkin. Case Number: 37-2013-00067529-CU-PO-CTL 9:00 a.m. 2016-04-29 330 West Broadway ,San Diego,CA,92101 Dept.C-75: Judge: STRAUSS, RICHARD E. L.
      Hello guest!
  24. SAN DIEGO (CN) — The national Jehovah's Witnesses organization must produce any documents in its possession relating to perpetrators of child sexual abuse, a California appeals court ruled. Jose Lopez sued Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York and the Linda Vista Spanish Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in June of 2012 for the sexual abuse he allegedly suffered when he was seven years old at the hands of his Bible instructor Gonzales Campos. In 1986, Lopez's mother allowed Campos to give her son bible study lessons after an elder from her congregation recommended him because he was "good very good with children." According to the complaint, after Campos had given Lopez several lessons, he sexually molested him. The abuse was reported to an elder of the church after Lopez told his mother, but nothing was done after the elders spoke to Lopez about where he was touched. This was not the first time there had been allegations Campos had sexually abused young boys. Another boy from the same congregation accused Campos of sexually molesting him four years earlier. Campos admitted to acting inappropriately, but the elders continued to allow him to be around children, and even continued to recommend him as a Bible instructor. Lopez and his mother left the congregation shortly after the alleged abuse, but Campos continued to rise within the congregation over the next several years, eventually serving as an elder and being placed on the congregation's governing service committee. Yet, according to the Lopez's complaint, between 1982 and 1995, Campos sexually abused at least eight other children. Neither Watchtower nor the congregation ever reported the incidents to law enforcement officers, the complaint said. With more than 1.2 million members and 13,777 congregations across the United States, the Jehovah's Witness religion's practices, policies and administrative duties were supervised by Watchtower during the relevant time period, including congregation elders who served as its agents. Watchtower challenged two discovery orders -- one requesting the church produce documents concerning the sexual abuse of other victims; the other seeking to compel the disposition of an individual believed to be the managing agent of Watchtower at the time. The organization also requested that an order, compelling it to pay nearly $38,000 in monetary sanctions, be terminated. In addition to rejecting claims the document request was overly broad and violated attorney-client privilege, a three-judge panel with California's Fourth Appellate District also found that, although unusual, the 27-year post-incident request "is partly a function of the permissive limitations statutes governing child sexual abuse under which Lopez was seeking to recover for an alleged wrongful act committed almost three decades earlier." Watchtower's claim that the document request was overly oppressive because it would take years to comply was also rejected by the panel, which pointed out the church's computer system had a search function that could easily identify information within the scanned documents. The panel also shot down Watchtower's First Amendment objection by citing relevant cases, including a decade old case in which the court held it did not violate constitutional religious freedom when an archdiocese was order to product documents about priests who were indicted for sexually abusing children. While the three-judge panel upheld the discovery order, it found the disposition order was not supportable because there was no evidence that the named individual was a managing agent at the time Lopez was abused. Judge Judith Haller, writing for panel, concluded the ruling by finding the sanctions order needed to be vacated. "There was no question Watchtower willfully failed to comply with the document production order." Judge Haller wrote. "The fundamental flaw with the court's approach is there is no basis in the record showing the court could not have obtained Watchtowers' compliance with lesser sanctions." D066388.pdf
      Hello guest!

  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Service Confirmation Terms of Use Privacy Policy Guidelines We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.