Not Just Catholics—Jehovah’s Witnesses Ordered to Pay $35 Million for Covering Up Child Sexual Abuse

Sunday, September 30, 2018
By Paul Martin

A court found the Jehova’s Witnesses guilty of covering up child sexual abuse within the church, explicitly denying the involvement of police.

By Jack Burns
September 30, 2018

The ultra secretive church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, have been ordered by a jury to pay $35 million dollars to the survivor of child sexual abuse. The church (better recognized in communities as the ones who always seem to knock on your doors) peddles the writings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York. The jury determined the organization ordered Montana church leaders not to report child sexual abuse one of its members perpetrated against one of three young girls.

The church plans to appeal the verdict but the girl, who is now 21-years-old, considers the ruling a powerful victory. Her attorney, Neil Smith, told reporters:

Hopefully that message is loud enough that this will cause the organization to change its priorities in a way that they will begin prioritizing the safety of children so that other children aren’t abused in the future.

Churches, church leaders, counselors, doctors, teachers and others are considered, in most states, “mandatory reporters” and are required by law to inform authorities when and if child abuse of any kind is suspected. Smith’s case against the church contended the church not only failed to report but encouraged other mandatory reporters not to file a police report, and as a result, severely injured his client. The jury agreed, leveling a massive settlement against the church for protecting a pedophile.

The JW’s Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters of Jehova’s Witnesses responded to the verdict with the following statement which reads in part:

Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts. Watchtower is pursuing appellate review.

The girl was one of three family members who claim to have been abused by the same man. According to the lawsuit, the man was reported to the church and the church responded with explicit instructions not to involve law enforcement. Smith said:

Their national headquarters, called Watchtower, they control when and if anyone within their organization reports child abuse…Watchtower instructed everyone involved that they were not to report the matter to authorities.

In the Montana case, the jury took the victim’s pain and suffering into consideration but also issued punitive damages for the church’s lack of action in protecting its flock of children. According to NBC News, the settlement contained several penalties.

The Rest…HERE

One Response to “Not Just Catholics—Jehovah’s Witnesses Ordered to Pay $35 Million for Covering Up Child Sexual Abuse”

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