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DATELINE, 0CTOBER 8, 2019 SUPREME COURT REJECTS WATCHTOWER APPEAL ON SEX ABUSE CASE


James Thomas Rook Jr.
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The Supreme Court Rejected a Case About the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Sex Abuse

Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced that it would not take up a wild case concerning the organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We can breathe a huge sigh of relief that the case won’t be overturned. (In that link, it’s case 19-40 on page 42.)

 

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The case, which involved child molestation and religious secrecy, centered around an incident that took place on July 15, 2006.

J.W., a nine-year-old girl with Jehovah’s Witness parents, was invited to her first slumber party at the home of Gilbert Simental. He had a daughter her age, so that wasn’t too weird. Two other girls (sisters) were also at the party. These families all knew and trusted Simental because, while he was no longer a local Witness leader, he had spent more than a decade as an elder in the faith. He was a religious leader who stepped down, he said, to spend more time with his son. They believed him. They all respected him. It’s why they allowed their girls into his home.

During that party, everyone got into a pool in the backyard… including Simental. And he proceeded to molest J.W. and the sisters. He did it again later that night. The sisters eventually told their parents, who reported Simental to local Witness elders (which is what they’re taught to do in these situations).

Simental confessed to some of the allegations, and the elders basically gave him a faith-based slap on the wrist: a reprimand that had no meaning outside church circles.

Things changed only when the sisters’ school principal learned about what happened and, as required by law, reported the abuse to local law enforcement. Police soon contacted J.W.’s family asking for their story, but after consulting with the Witnesses, her father chose not to speak with the cops.

It was a year later when J.W., then 10 years old, told her parents what Simental did to her in the pool. It infuriated them, and they told the Witness elders that they wanted a restraining order against him. The elders told him not to do that since it would require informing the police about what Simental did — and they preferred to keep his actions private.

Here’s the bigger problem: There’s reason to believe the Witnesses were aware that Simental was a child molester… and they kept it from the families. Simental was allowed to be a religious leader — earning respect from the community — even though higher-ups in the religion knew that he shouldn’t be around children.

It raised an important question: How much blame did the Witnesses deserve for what happened at that pool party?

J.W.’s family eventually filed a criminal lawsuit against Simental and a separate civil suit against the Watchtower Society (the Witnesses’ governing organization). They basically said the Witnesses should have informed congregation members about Simental and stopped him from being around children. They never should have allowed him to be a religious leader.

The Watchtower Society’s argument? They didn’t know Simental was a child molester, and the pool party occurred after he was no longer a religious leader, and the slumber party wasn’t a church-sponsored event, so leave them out of this.

(To be clear, I’m simplifying the details of this case and the legal journey quite a bit.)

When this case went to trial in California, J.W.’s family demanded that the Watchtower Society produce documents relating to what they knew about child molesters within the faith. The Witnesses had already admitted to keeping lists of problematic leaders along with their specific “crimes” — similar to the Catholic Church. If Simental was on that list — from 1997, nearly a decade before the pool incident — it would essentially be a smoking gun showing the Witnesses knew he was a threat to kids but did nothing about it.

But the Witnesses refused to hand over that material. They treated it like Catholics treat confession: It’s private information, they argued, and to reveal what was said internally would violate their religious beliefs.

J.W.’s family didn’t buy that argument. The information they wanted wasn’t bound by clergy-penitent confessional privilege. It’s not like Simental told the elders what he had done in order to confess his sins. He was caught. The Witnesses were merely shielding him from legal punishment.

In the criminal trial, Witnesses elders were forced to admit their practices and that the private discussions they had about abusive clergy members were not considered confidential under the law.

Mark O’Donnell, writing at JWSurvey, explained what happened next:

Gilbert Simental was found guilty of three counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 14. In 2008 he was sentenced to 45 years to life for his crimes. At his sentencing hearing, a sizable group of Jehovah’s Witnesses demonstrated solidarity with Simental, appealing for a more lenient sentence. JW and her parents were treated as if they broke the congregation code of silence.

 

Simental’s appeal got him nowhere. He’s in prison today. But there were still so many questions about what responsibility the Witnesses had in this whole matter.

 

J.W.’s family wanted to know why Simental, a known pedophile, was promoted within the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why did they allow him to be around children? Why didn’t they warn families? Why did they just give him a slap on the wrist?

In 2013, the civil trial began against the Watchtower Society, but again, the Witnesses didn’t want to provide necessary documents. They eventually lost the case. In 2015, the Riverside Superior Court of California awarded J.W. a judgment of $4,016,152.39. This past December, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in California upheld that decision.

The plaintiff [J.W.] contended that the 1997 documents [the internal ones about known molesters in the church] were needed both [to] show negligence and basis for punitive damages. Under Code of Civil Procedure §425.14, a claim against a religious corporation for punitive damages requires leave from the trial court, and such leave may be granted only upon an affidavit showing clear and convincing evidence establishing such damages.

[A judge] found unavailing Watchtower’s argument that it would take 19 years to sort through them, and also rejected the notion that they were covered by the clergy-penitent privilege. Despite the court’s order, Watchtower continuously ignored meet-and-confer requests by the plaintiff.

J.W. asked the court for terminating sanctions, which Riverside Superior Court Judge Raquel A. Marquez granted after giving the church another four days to produce the documents, which it declined to do.

You get the idea: The Witnesses refused to hand over internal data, presumably because it would’ve been like handing over a loaded gun. So the courts had no choice but to assume the plaintiff was telling the truth and the Watchtower Society was negligent in their handling of Simental.

Earlier this year, in a Hail Mary attempt to reverse their punishment, the Watchtower Society appealed to the Supreme Court. They wanted the justices to say that documents relating to child abuse within a religious group can be kept confidential.

Here’s how the Witnesses’ attorney introduced his case to the justices. (You don’t need a law degree to see how he just completely dismissed the molestation.)

Here, Petitioner Watchtower sought to protect confidential, intra-faith communications among clergy (elders) regarding Bible-based religious appointment processes, some of which included congregants’ penitential confessions and all of which impacted privacy rights of non-parties. California targeted the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses and impermissibly intruded upon matters of church governance, religious doctrine, and religious practice when it ordered Watchtower to produce these intra-faith communications. Without a trial, California imposed on Watchtower an unprecedented theory of liability for a congregant’s criminal conduct during nonchurch activity (a Saturday afternoon pool party at a private home).

Watchtower attorney Paul Polidoro said the Supreme Court needed to consider whether California violated the Constitution when it held the Jehovah’s Witnesses responsible for what Simental did “during non-church activity,” forced them to hand over internal communications, and punished them for protecting everyone’s “privacy rights.”

J.W.’s attorney responded to that brief asking the Court to flat-out reject this case.

Given Watchtower’s disrespect for the legal system, penchant for violating court orders and habitual disregard for the rules of the court from which it is begging for mercy, it is not the litigant to champion any allegedly important issue before this Court. This is not a case that warrants this Court’s time.

Indeed, that’s what the Court decided. When the first set of orders in the new term was released yesterday, there was this case among many many others, in the list of those which would not get heard this term.

 

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It was the right move. There’s nothing further to debate here. Finally, this case has been put to rest.

(Image via Shutterstock. Large portions of this article were published earlier)

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The Supreme Court Rejected a Case About the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Sex Abuse By Hemant Mehta October 8, 2019

I have been married to my wife for 40 years, less one. (39). She is 4 years older than I am, which means that there was a time when she was 8 and I was only 4! The shame!!

divergenceKO: Apparently the fat lady has sang, and for the corrupt Watchtower Lawyers who care ONLY about their client's monetary interest (... as they are actually legally responsible to do ...

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I see you like sniffing through other peoples garbage.

Technical denial. Most likely the petition was entered too late for a writ. 90 days from the California Supreme Court denied.

How about learning the laws. Oral argument will decide. The higher court can descend to have it reconsidered by the appellate court after the Supreme Court returns it for review. Depending on how busy the US Supreme Court is to hear oral argument.

Until the fat lady sings. Meantime, cheering for apostates to win, is bad Christian Conduct. Why are you still a witness? You have lost favor from God long ago. Listen to witness, maybe the conversion will give you better legitimacy to hate the Org like them.

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divergenceKO:

Apparently the fat lady has sang, and for the corrupt Watchtower Lawyers who care ONLY about their client's monetary interest (... as they are actually legally responsible to do ...), and NOTHING about Truth and Justice, and Righteousness, the metal Opera helmet with the horns is theirs to wear.

The California Appellate Court has already spoken, to wit:

6 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Given Watchtower’s disrespect for the legal system, penchant for violating court orders and habitual disregard for the rules of the court from which it is begging for mercy, it is not the litigant to champion any allegedly important issue before this Court. This is not a case that warrants this Court’s time.

Indeed, that’s what the Court decided. ....

What they did in Delaware by trying to delay Justice in a CSA case by TRYING to change the venue to a court more distant and seriously overloaded was crafty, brilliant .... and despicable.

Your opinions have a complete disregard for facts, which is why you never provide any ... just agenda driven fantasies, like the Nazi who actually believes in his heart of hearts that World War II was about the Third Reich bringing the wonders of German civilization and progress to improve the rest of the world.

59 minutes ago, divergenceKO said:

Technical denial. Most likely the petition was entered too late for a writ. 90 days from the California Supreme Court denied.

Most Likely?

MOST LIKELY?

THAT IS COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS, because it is ONLY your agenda driven hope, and not based on any facts.

Without facts your opinions have no value whatsoever. 

Zip, Zero, Nada, Goose Eggs!

Remember the old TV dairy commercial of yesteryear .. "Got Milk?"

Well...

Got Facts?

...so far you have none, whatsoever.

Only your demented, delusional fantasy, supported and enconced by a great pantheon of additional delusional fantasys, completely integrated into your Watchtower Derangement Syndrome world view.

 

 

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58 minutes ago, divergenceKO said:

other peoples garbage.

???? 

When children suffer, you have brave to call that as a "garbage"?

Maneuvers made by JW lawyers under WT Society commands and directives is attempt to defending International  Conglomerate Company with "religious" based "garbage" argumentation. 

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38 minutes ago, Srecko Sostar said:

When children suffer, you have brave to call that as a "garbage"?

Well ... according to the DCC (Demented Criteria Council), it IS brave.

The reason people "sift through other peoples' garbage". is that they are starving for real , honest, verifiable Truth.

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8 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Apparently the fat lady has sang, and for the corrupt Watchtower Lawyers who care ONLY about their client's monetary interest (... as they are actually legally responsible to do ...), and NOTHING about Truth and Justice, and Righteousness, the metal Opera helmet with the horns is theirs to wear.

That is what your naive assessment is. There are still certain steps to go before the fat lady sings. Your apostate friends just happen to apply one.

Of course the California Supreme Court and the Appellate Courts have spoken. That doesn't mean the US supreme court can't send it back to the lower courts for further review. That doesn't mean the Org can't ask for an oral argument for the highest court.

More hot air coming from an uneducated person.

7 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

When children suffer, you have brave to call that as a "garbage"?

Maneuvers made by JW lawyers under WT Society commands and directives is attempt to defending International  Conglomerate Company with "religious" based "garbage" argumentation. 

Srecko, try learning something for a change. It's not about maneuvers, it's about the US process of the law. If you don't understand our laws, keep your opinion to yourself. Every topic you think you know, you just keep embarrassing yourself even further. Stick to up voting your apostate friend JTR post. That's a safer bet on how to support ignorance.

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52 minutes ago, divergenceKO said:

Of course the California Supreme Court and the Appellate Courts have spoken. That doesn't mean the US supreme court can't send it back to the lower courts for further review. That doesn't mean the Org can't ask for an oral argument for the highest court.

IT COULD be that there is a market for making edible kites from waffles or pancakes ... but until I see them successfully marketed, that is NOT the case, and your hopeful fantasy is ONLY a hopeful fantasy.

Ignorance, if present, can be corrected in the natural course of events, by mere observation.

There is NOTHING that can be done for your agenda driven faith in delusional fantasy,and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, for which there is no cure.

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52 minutes ago, divergenceKO said:

Of course the California Supreme Court and the Appellate Courts have spoken. That doesn't mean the US supreme court can't send it back to the lower courts for further review. That doesn't mean the Org can't ask for an oral argument for the highest court.

Got facts?

(... of course not ...)

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/19/2019 at 7:50 PM, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

The Witnesses had already admitted to keeping lists of problematic leaders along with their specific “crimes”

This is factually wrong on one very significant point.

It is not the “leaders” that were being kept track of. It is members in general. Later, the writer inadvertently admits this

On 10/19/2019 at 7:50 PM, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

The plaintiff [J.W.] contended that the 1997 documents [the internal ones about known molesters in the church] were needed 

Here leaders are not mentioned. It is anyone within the church.

The reason behind repackaging the second statement into the first is to blacken as much as possible the reputation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Without such repackaging, the picture that presents itself is that leaders who are molesters among Witnesses are extraordinarily rare, whereas in most other organizations it is the pattern. Be it Church, Scouts, the UN, private schools, foster care agencies, even the US gymnastics Olympic team, it is the leaders. With Witnesses, it is almost always the members. Indeed, there is no mechanism to track molesters in the general population of these other organizations. The reason that there is with Witnesses is that they track wrongdoing of all sorts, in the spirit of Romans 2:21-23.

“Do you, however, the one teaching someone else, not teach yourself? You, the one preaching, “Do not steal,” do you steal?  You, the one saying, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You, the one abhorring idols, do you rob temples?  You who take pride in law, do you dishonor God by your transgressing of the Law?” 

They don’t want to dishonor God, so they keep track of all forms of wrongdoing and, the discipline meted out in an attempt to correct persons. This will strike more people than not, I suspect, as a responsible thing to do—so it must be repackaged into a wicked scheme to cover up. What is at root a proactive and responsible action is being distorted as being evil.

For a writer who is normally clear, this article is decidedly muddled in places—seemingly to obscure the fact that the deviant now in prison was not a leader. At one time he had been an elder, but that was ten years prior to the event being tried. A lot of degradation can happen in ten years

All this does not necessarily mean that there is not a CSA scandal among Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, it does mean that the scandal is unlike that of the others in which leadership itself produces the molesters. If confined to just this criteria, Jehovah’s Witnesses rise head and shoulders among anyone else, for it is only the Bible standards they adhere to that succeeds in producing such upright leadership.

If not confined to just this criteria (of upright leadership) then it is very difficult to portray Witnesses as public enemy #1–which is the goal of its most determined opposers. If not confined to this criteria of upright leadership, then Jehovah’s Witnesses simply fall back into the ranks of everyone else who also did not rush to expose their dirty laundry before the world. 

It may be that it will be to JW’s everlasting shame that they relied upon affected parties to report, and did not override in cases where they did not—cases that proved to be very numerous, since many proved loathe to “bring reproach on God’s name.” That is why a study article of May, 2019, is so appropriate:

https://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2019/02/the-reproach-of-child-sexual-abuse-falls-on-the-abu.html

Time will tell. Such are the issues being litigated these day. For now, I point out that the current challenge is to find an outfit NOT being sued over CSA, and in nearly all cases, it is the leaders COMMITTING the abuse—something very rare with Witnesses. With them, it is members committing it and leaders criticized for not forwarding the information.

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16 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

All this does not necessarily mean that there is not a CSA scandal among Jehovah’s Witnesses.

this is pretty much all you needed to say. We all know there is a problem and the article points out a reason why it is a problem. Doesn't matter if it is leaders or regular joes committing the crimes, it is the leaders who are covering it up. 

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19 minutes ago, Shiwiii said:

this is pretty much all you needed to say. We all know there is a problem and the article points out a reason why it is a problem. Doesn't matter if it is leaders or regular joes committing the crimes, it is the leaders who are covering it up. 

All the rest needed saying too. 

There was a time during which putting things in context was thought a responsible  thing to do. Today it is raising a straw man, not to be tolerated by single-issue people.

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1 minute ago, TrueTomHarley said:

All the rest needed saying too. 

There was a time during which putting things in context was thought a responsible  thing to do. Today it is raising a straw man, not to be tolerated by single-issue people.

Well there really is no straw man when the fact still remains that the leaders are covering up CSA within the wt. 

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