Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another Little Known Court Case Involving The Watchtower

TEXAS v. MAHLER, TEXAS v. HERMOSILLO, IN RE HERMOSILLO, TEXAS v. MAHLER, and possibly others, were related 1945-6 court cases involving an El Paso Jehovah's Witness "Company Servant" (then title for local JW leader), and his wife, and a 17 year-old minor, named Lilia Hermosillo. The months long "running battle" evidently included two separate sets of criminal charges of "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor" being file against the Jehovah's Witness couple, named Mr/Mrs Bernard Mahler.
Apparently, sometime in late 1944 or early 1945, Lilia Hermosillo, an obviously immature and unstable 16-17 year-old girl, came into contact with the Jehovah's Witnesses in El Paso, Texas. Lilia was attacted to their "Armageddon will be here any day now" teachings, and she began attending "meetings" at the local Kingdom Hall. Before long, Lilia was even distributing WatchTower literature on the sidewalks of El Paso. That greatly upset her parents, since the family was Catholic. Lilia's parents made it loud and clear to both their daughter and the local JWs that they did not want Lilia to have any contact with the JWs. Although the limited details are sketchy, it is apparent that both Lilia and the JWs ignored the parents wishes.
The situation came to a head, the first time, in July 1945, when Lilia left home on July 15, when the Mahlers picked her up in their auto. Lilia returned home on July 19, only after her parents filed some type of legal action. Not long thereafter, Lilia's parents filed "the first" criminal complaint against the Mahlers. Practically nothing is known about that first trial in which the Mahler's were charged with "Contributing", but apparently the charges were dismissed or they were found "not guilty". Shortly thereafter, a habeas corpus action was also brought by the Mahlers on Lilia's behalf in which it was claimed that Lilia's parents were violating her civil rights by restraining her activities with the JWs. That case was obviously dismissed.
Unfortunately, Lilia's father died on September 1, 1945; very possibly from the stress resulting from this mess. Lilia's mother testified at one of the several court hearings that around the time of the funeral that a JW came to her front door wanting to speak with Lilia, but that she also spotted two other JWs curiously in the backyard. Another person testified that Bernard Mahler was seen in the alley behind Lilia's house around this time.
Lilia again disappeared from home between October 19 and October 26, 1945. (Both the July and October dates would be consistent with times typically set for the summer and fall WatchTower conventions.) Lilia's mother contacted authorities, and the second set of criminal charges of "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor" were filed against Mr/Mrs Bernard Mahler, and five other local JW women were also named as defendants.
A hearing was held in which multiple JWs testifed that they did not know Lilia's whereabouts. Carmen Hermosillo testified that her daughter had left a note stating that she had gone to the Kingdom Hall. The mother also testified that Lilia had been saying, "I know that I've got to die. ... You won't be hurt." Carmen Hermosillo went to the Kingdom Hall looking for Lilia, but Bernard Mahler said that Lilia was not there. He also allegedly told the mother that if she dropped her latest lawsuit against him and his wife, and allowed Lilia to attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall, that Lilia would return home.
Interestingly, Lilia turned herself into "federal authorities" on October 25. On Friday, October 26, she even gave testimony at the continued proceedings. She never admitted being with any of the JWs, but she also refused to explain where she had been for the past week. She did state that she had seen and exchanged waves with Bernard Mahler as he drove past her one day. Interestingly, Mahler had stated under oath the previous day that he had not seen Lilia while she was missing.
On Sunday, October 28, 1945, Lilia again left home without permission. Carmen Hermosillo found her at the Kingdom Hall, but Lilia refused to leave with her. The mother was forced to call the Police and have Lilia arrested and put in jail. At the deliquency hearing the next day, Lilia stated that between October 19 and 25 that she had went to a stranger's house, somewhere that she couldn't remember in El Paso, and asked them to allow her to stay the week, and they did. Probation officers also testified that Lilia was continuing to say that she would soon die. When the court indicated a postponement to investigate "who" had been "contributing" to Lilia's "deliquency", the attorney for the JWs had the gall to state that the court should investigate whether her mother had violated any of Lilia's rights, and if so, that she be punished. Earlier, in chambers, Lilia's attorney had taken several "shots" at Lilia's mother; essentially calling the mother of four a "bad mother" because of how she was mistreating Lilia.
Interestingly, at a later hearing in November, Carmen Hermosillo testified that her husband had come home unexpectedly one day, and found Bernard Mahler there alone with Lilia. She also testified that she once saw the two together alone in Mahler's auto, and that Mahler had his arm around Lilia. She even testified that not only were her neighbors suspicious about the pair, but that even a couple of JWs had expressed concerns to her.
Interestingly, the Mahlers were each fined $50.00 at the initial November 1945 hearing at the request of their own attorney, who wanted to avoid another hearing involving lengthy testimony from many persons. Thereafter, an appellate trial was supposedly held on/about January-February 1946. I have not been able to locate info on such.
Carmen Hermosillo told reporters that the JWs were responsible for tearing apart the relationship that Lilia had with her, Lilia's siblings, and other family members. During the time Lilia had associated with the JWs, she had changed into a "dishonest" and "untruthful" person.

6 comments:

kimmy jo said...

Lets post some of the many pedophile cases that are public knowledge but kept hidden from the JW's.

Governing Body Letters said...

Thanks kimmyjo, Good idea.

Ronde said...

A 1945 court case.

Yawn.

Again, why should we care?

Tom Rook said...

Little known court case?

Not exactly the Zeppelin, Hindenburg exploding in a ball of flame in font of cameras and live radio commentators.

I am 62. This case was before I was born. Geeeee ... I musta missed it!

You go down any street in any city or subdivision, in any country in the world, and the stories of suchlike things will emanate from every fifth house.

Lets see...average of 4 billion (in 65 years) people ...assume 80% live in houses, one in every five houses have "problems", irregardless of religion ...why DATS a LOT!

The United States of America allowed slavery until the end of the civil war, and from sea to shining sea slaughtered a continent full of Indians.

At one time, the official policy of the United States of America was "The Only Good Indian is a Dead Indian". If the Indians had not shot back they would have been exterminated.

sheesh!

Get a life!

Tom Rook@Technik-SA.US

kimmy jo said...

Tommy, Tommy, Tommy,

Still writing poetry are you?

Governing Body Letters said...

Yes, Tom, you are correct. But none of the people you speak about were part of Jehovah's organization, his channel of commication, the only people on earth that he deals with personally. They are little known cases to most Jehovah's Witnesses and I thought they were interesting. I thought others would to. There is nothing profound attached to them other than the fact that they all involve the Watchtower.
I've got a life, thanks.
Sheesh! back at ya.