Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Watchtower Sex Scandal As Reported In The New York Times

Headquarters careers wrecked: Court hears how thousands of child abuse cases were covered up to keep the religion's name from becoming tarnished in the public eye
George Jefferson
New York Times, Wednesday, December 31, 2003
BROOKLYN - Members of the Watchtower Society's Governing Body had a reputation as the most important spiritual leaders in the entire world. They were at the pinnacle of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization. In a matter of a few short years they were scheduled to lead the worldwide association into a new world where paradise conditions would replace the present system of things.
But instead of occupying lavish offices in Brooklyn and Patterson, New York, all members of the Governing Body have spent the past month in the courthouse four blocks away, fighting a legal battle to salvage a name and a reputation that seem to have been irrevocably tarnished during the past few years.
The trial has laid bare a scandal in which, as a Brooklyn Superior Court Justice observed yesterday, "everyone loses." The Watchtower Society's lucrative assets, used mainly to promote the interests of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect worldwide, have evaporated. The Governing Body has seen their corporation and authority dissolve in disgrace after 125 years of existence. Jehovah's Witnesses around the world, whose faith in the organization has disintegrated, are trying to re-establish themselves in their families and communities in order to start life all over again.
All Governing Body members remain tormented by the events of 2001 to 2003, when many members of their organization began stepping forward to reveal how they were sexually abused as children and received no help at all from the elders to whom they reported such cruel and inhumane treatment. In fact, it has been learned that the elders covered over such incidents with the full endorsement of the Governing Body. The purpose was to shield the organization from bad publicity. Victims were discouraged, even forbidden, from reporting the abuse to proper law enforcement authorities.
Rarely has the media paid great attention to the inner workings of the Governing Body of the Witnesses, but this case is so sad and despicable that it has become irresistible. We can expect this case to make front-page headlines around the world for weeks to come and no doubt much longer.

29 comments:

JoePublish said...

That article was well written... thanks for sharing!

chocolatepuddingeyes said...

A common tactic of the elders is to tell the victim and/or the parents that reporting abuse to the police would bring reproach on Jehovah's name. This is how they have kept victims of abuse silenced for decades.

The truth of the matter is that the perpetrator of the abuse has already brought reproach on Jehovah's name. When a baptized person commits a crime, they are the one who has brought shame on the congregation, not the victim.

The elders are victimizing the victims a second time around by using this tactic to silence them. If a sister goes to the police, she is severely chastized by the elders, and labeled as being rebellious against the headship arrangement (her husband, the congregation, Jesus, and Jehovah). This is an abuse of the elders' authority and has contributed to the breakdown of many marriages.

Divorce rates in the congregations are soaring because legitimate complaints are being ignored and immoral behavior is being covered up and condoned.

May Jehovah comfort all the victims of abuse and victims of unjust elders.

(Micah 3:1-4) . . .And I proceeded to say: “Hear, please, YOU heads of Jacob and YOU commanders of the house of Israel. Is it not YOUR business to know justice? 2 YOU haters of what is good and lovers of badness, tearing off their skin from people and their organism from off their bones; 3 YOU the ones who have also eaten the organism of my people, and have stripped their very skin from off them, and smashed to pieces their very bones, and crushed [them] to pieces like what is in a widemouthed pot and like flesh in the midst of a cooking pot. 4 At that time they will call to Jehovah for aid, but he will not answer them. And he will conceal his face from them in that time, according as they committed badness in their dealings.

JHK said...

Thank you very much for your post. I translated in Spanish:

http://johnhenrykurtz.blogspot.com/

JHK said...

Thank you very much for your post. I translated in Spanish:

http://johnhenrykurtz.blogspot.com/

passwordprotected said...

where's ronde???

kimmy jo said...

chocolatepuddingeyes,
Good contribution! Thanks.

quote from article,

"The Watchtower Society's lucrative assets, used mainly to promote the interests of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect worldwide, have evaporated. The Governing Body has seen their corporation and authority dissolve in disgrace after 125 years of existence."

This is the GOOD NEWS, yes, they WILL FALL.

JoePublish said...

Yes, Kimmy Jo. That statement really caught my eye and heart, too. I do feel for the many faithful members who had "no idea" of the sad state of affairs occurring at the very highest level within this organization concerning this mishandling of pedophilia.

I do believe that the full consequences of their behavior have not yet mushroomed. As this information gets out to the rank and file and after they take the time to read and understand exactly what went on, they will be so shocked, and many will leave this organization in disgust – some quickly, some over time. For most remaining, their faith will never be the same.

I know many will look back in time and wonder how the WTS could contain articles on other religions with their pedophile problems and wonder, “How can you point a finger at other religions – giving everyone inside the organization the notion that we don’t have this problem in God’s clean organization – when in fact you had a worse problem?!?”

kimmy jo said...

When it does fall it will be shock and awe for all those defending this sect and a relief to all it's victims. Justis will be served.

Anonymous said...

This "article" is a hoax. Do a search of the NYT archives.

There is NO article by 'George Jefferson' on Wednesday, December 31, 2003.

Besides, if there was, then why wasn't the accusation picked up and publicized like the fictional "article" says will happen?

frank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
frank said...

The court dismiss the case of Barbara Anderson. that should make think of her credibility.

Disfellowship because she went on TV to Reveal the Watchtower is hiding Child molesters, if it was really for that she got disfellowship, don't you think the court will look to it?

the court will also be guilty, don't you think?

use your brain.

frank said...

yes you can say it again Jehovah Witnesses God clean organization,
and that might be the reason why you are here talking craps about the witnesses.
Because we don't tolerate wickedness.
like God did not tolerate satan and his demons who rebelled against him kick them out of heavens it is the same for Jehovah Witnesses we don't tolerate anyone who acts badly.
go investigate for yourself. stop believing in craps.

JoePublish said...

One thing is for sure: Jehovah God and His Holy Spirit doesn't appoint a "known" and/or "admitted" Pedophile to the position of authority because pedophilia is non-treatable and pedophiles always re-offend (it's what makes them SO dangerous.)

However, JW's believe all oppointments to the servant body is approved by God's Holy Spirit.

Check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Enw2miiuX_k

Ronde said...

"George Jefferson"

What does Weezy say about this?

And did this blog became the National Enquirer?

Ronde said...

What does any of this have to do with me?

And thus what does any of this have to do with Jehovah's Witnesses?

Nada

JoePublish said...

Not at all Frank... Regarding Barbara's case, the court has to see if there was any law of the land broken and it can't make decisions that are governed by religions - have you never heard of the separation of state and church (religion)?

This separation was frutility used by the JW's legal dept. to try and ward off any attempts to obtain its very revealing records and d/b.

The reason why the argument didn't work in the pedophile case is because the judge said that when children are involved, then the court can intercede religious control for the safety of the children. (Barbara Anderson wasn't a minor and so their hands were tied.)

You really don't want to think about the other side of this story, do you? You're so bent on trying to prove that JW's organization didn't fail the children through their policies. They did - and the leaders knew it (that's why they settled and put a gag order on it. It's another way of saying we screwed up royally, but please accept this money in recompense but PLEASE don't tell anyone the details - yes, the DEVIL is in the details).

I quickly looked at some of your responses and could see another JW apologists twisting the facts and timelines. Goodness. Why can't you feel for these victims?

You are bent or re-victimizing them over and over and over again. JW apologists don't understand that they are "sharing the sins of these predators" by pushing the blame to anyone but those who were in a position to do something about it.

frank said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
frank said...

The Whole Boering Truth
Read and try to understand before you say any craps

In Canada, Vicki Boer brought a civil lawsuit against the elders of her former congregation and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society asking for $700,000 concerning her child abuse at the hands of her father who was one of Jehovah's Witnesses claiming they were negligent, breached their duty, advised her against contacting the authorities, and against seeking professional help. What did the court find?

Presiding Judge Anne Molloy ruled that the Watchtower Society and elders were not at fault and did not contribute to or promote in any way the child abuse that took place. The court said, "There is no foundation on the facts to support an award for punitive damages. Most of the allegations against the defendants have not been established on the facts. The defendants who interacted with the plaintiff did not bear ill will toward her. They accepted the veracity of her account, were sympathetic to her situation and meant her no harm. The claim for punitive damages is dismissed."

As respects her findings as to whether the elders advised Boer not to tell the authorities and not to seek professional help the judge stated very clearly her findings: "The defendants did not instruct the plaintiff not to get medical help. She chose not to seek professional help herself against the advice of the elders and Mr. Mott-Trille. The defendants did not instruct the plaintiff that her father’s abuse should not be reported. On the contrary, the defendants directed Mr. Palmer (the abuser) to report himself to the C.A.S. and then followed up directly to ensure he had done so."

In fact, did you know that the elders had Mr. Palmer report himself not just once, but twice. When the doctor he first reported to failed to report it to the Children's Aid Society (C.A.S.), the elders then insisted that he personally report it to the C.A.S. himself. Notice this from the court transcripts of Judge Molloy's ruling: "[73] ... both Mary and Gower Palmer had gone to the doctor on January 29, 1990. Mr. Cairns(an elder on the case) reported to the Watch Tower head office that Mr. Palmer had talked to a docor that day but that the doctor had indicated she was unsure whether there was an obligation to report to C.A.S. in this situation (presumably because the complainant was no longer a child).

[74] A few days later Mr. Cairns and Mr. Didur (Bethel elder) spoke again by phone. Mr Cairns testified that Mr. Didur instructed him to ensure a report was made to the Childrens Aid Society since it was unclear whether the Palmers’ doctor would be reporting. Mr. Cairns therefore called Mr. Palmer and told him that he should personally report himself to the C.A.S. Mr. Palmer reported back to the elders that he had taken his wife and two youngest children with him to the Children’s Aid Society and reported the matter to them. Mr. Brown testified, and I accept, that he personally called the C.A.S. office immediately thereafter to confirm the report had been made. The plaintiff acknowledges Mr. Palmer did in fact report himself to the Children’s Aid Society."

Furthermore Judge Molloy clearly ruled that Vicki Boer's 'memory' of what occurred did not coincide with the facts when she later stated in her ruling: "I have already ruled that I do not accept Ms. Boer's evidence that the elders told her not to seek medical assistance and not to report the abuse to the authorities. These were important points about which she was certain in her own mind. Her memory on those was inaccurate."

Judge Molloy also examined similar cases from the United States and candidly stated in her ruling: "I conclude that had Ms. Boer’s action been brought in the United States, it would likely be subject to summary dismissal based on these cases."

However, even though Judge Molloy also stated in her ruling concerning the elders that "They were sympathetic to the plaintiff. She understood they believed her story..... It was reasonable, and indeed appropriate in the circumstances for them to ensure that the plaintiff's voice was heard and that they not rely solely on Mr. Palmer's version of the events..." she still awarded Boer $5,000 for the trauma caused her in confronting her father at an investigative meeting with the elders stating, "There was, however, psychological harm to the plaintiff as a result of the December 29, 1989 meeting. She was in a very vulnerable state at the time as she had just begun to deal with the effects of her father’s abuse. I accept the evidence of the various experts, including Dr. Awad, that this confrontation made things worse for the plaintiff."

But the flip side of the ruling is that the same court ordered Vicki Boer to pay the Watchtower Society $142,000 in legal fees. Thus netting the Watchtower Society a sum total of $137,000 as a result of the civil suit brought against them. It seems the Canadian courts do not take lightly cases based on "frivolous charges" and forcing someone to defend themselves "against false or unprovable charges."

How much do you suppose that the Boer's spiritual counselor, Bill Bowen and his Silent Lambs organization, was willing to contribute to help the Boer's pay their own legal fees of over $90,000 that were incurred as well as the $137,000 that they were ordered to pay to the Watchtower Society? Apparently whatever they contributed, if anything, was not nearly enough because Vicki's husband, Scott Boer commented, "We've pretty much exhausted our finances pursuing the case this far, and now we're to the point where we simply couldn't afford an appeal. We going to simply have to accept the judgment and if we have to declare bankruptcy for a victory, then we have to declare bankruptcy."

It seems that Silent Lambs by encouraging such lawsuits are contributing to further financial victimizing of the already abused victims. We have to wonder if it is concern for the abused victims that motivates Bowen's organization or their obvious agenda to discredit the Watchtower Society that motivates and consumes them.

The self proclaimed E-watchman, Robert King, in his attempt at painting the Watchtower Society as a greedy, money-loving corporation,commented: "They do not have to impose the court's ruling upon her. Apparently, though, the Watchtower has every intention of collecting, down to the last penny of the court ordered judgment."

However, it should be noted that in contrast to Robert King's premature judgment, showing no ill will or lust for revenge the Watchtower Society agreed to generously call it even and did not insist that Vicki Boer pay the $137,000 awarded to them by the court. It seems that in the end the Watchtower Society actually helped out the Boer's financially more than the Silent Lambs organization.

Why Awarded $5000?

In view of the judge's ruling given above just why exactly would the judge award Boer the initial $5000. Here were her reasons given:

"I will deal first with the first meeting on December 29, 1989. (This was the confrontational meeting). The plaintiffs position is that she only attended this meeting because she was advised by Sheldon Longworth that she was required to do so as part of the application of Matthew 18. Although Mr. Longworth is not named as a defendant, the plaintiff argues that the defendants Watch Tower and/or John Didur (Bethel elder) are responsible for the conduct of Mr. Longworth. I have found as a fact that Mr. Longworth told the plaintiff she was required to apply Matthew 18 in this situation. I have also found that Mr. Longworth’s advice in this regard would appear to be contrary to the official position of the church which is that Matthew 18 has no appplication to this type of sin.

John Didur (Bethel elder) is a personal defendant. He testified at trial that Matthew 18: 15-18 has no application to this type of situatuion and that he would never have told this to Sheldon Longworth. Mr. Longworth’s notes of one of his conversations with Mr. Didur indicate that Mr. Didur told him that Matthew 18 applied. It is also apparent from his notes that Mr. Longworth spoke to other advisers at head office and that at least one other elder told him Matthew 18 applied. Mr. Longworth’s specific memory of which elders provided which advice is not reliable, as he candidly acknowledged in his testimony. It is possible Mr. Didur gave such advice without fully appreciating the background circumstances. It is also possible Mr. Longworth was confused about the advice he received from Mr. Didur or that he inaccurately recorded the discussion as having been with Mr. Didur when it was in fact with someone else. I found Mr. Didur to be a convincing witness. I am not able to say on a balance of probabilities that he was the one who told Mr. Longworth to apply Matthew 18: 15-18. Therefore he is not personally liable in damages to the plaintiff in respect of the December 29, 1989 meeting.

( 1 ) The Defendant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Canada

[181] Sheldon Longworth is not named as a personal defendant. However, Ms Boer contacted Mr . Longworth in his capacity as an elder of the church. Mr. Longworth consulted throughout with more senior advisers at the Jehovah’s Witness head office and passed on their advice to the plaintiff. He acted at all times as an agent of the defendant Watch Tower. The defendant Watch Tower did not seek to distance itself from the conduct of Longworth and the other elders who provided advice to Ms. Boer in Toronto or to disclaim any responsibility for their actions. Although the statement of claim could be clearer on this point, I believe that on a fair reading of the pleading and subsesquently delivered particulars, there is an allegation that Watch Tower is responsible for the harm suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the direction given to her to apply Matthew 18:15-18. Accordingly I find the defendant Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada liable to the plaintiff for the harm she sustained as a result of attending the Decemer 29, 1989 meeting."

In short, if Sheldon Longworth had followed the correct Watchtower policy, Vicki Boer would not have even received that $5000. It was his failure to follow the Watchtower policy that caused the judge to rule the way she did. And even though it was not proven that anyone at the Watchtower headquarters gave Brother Longworth that bad advice she still determined that the Watchtower Society should pay $5000 in that regard because the they did not distance themselves from Sheldon Longworth and his advice to Vicki Boer. So the $5000 was awarded because of the emotional suffering caused to Vicki Boer in confronting her father at the advise of brother Longworth.

Now ask yourself: Does this sound like some evil scheme or evil policy by the Watchtower Society or just a mistake by an imperfect human being trying his best to honestly and sincerely perform his duties as an elder in the best interest of others?

The Judge's View of Boer's Treatment

In awarding Vicki Boer the initial $5000 did the judge in the case feel that the elders had been harsh and unloving to Boer that they did not have Vicki Boer's best interest at heart? Please take note of these comments from the judge in her ruling:

"However Mr. Longworth (an elder) was sympathetic to the plaintiff and did not act out of any self interest.

...there is no evidence that the people at head office (WT) advising Mr Longworth with anything but the best of intentions.

They (the elders) were sympathetic to her during the meeting.

They believed they were doing the right thing and they did not simply ignore the plaintiffs (Boer's) intersts. For example, in the second meeting, although they did review the allegations of abuse with the plaintifff, they did not require her to go through that exercise with her father present. Likewise the head office personnal advising the local elders did nothing that could be characterized as disloyalty or bad faith.

There is no evidence that they shunned the plaintiff nor that they instructed others to do so. Therefore even if the perception of others within the congregation was as Ms. Boer describes (which also is not proven), there is no basis for placing any blame for that at the feet of these defendants.

I do find as a fact that none of the personal defendants was motivated by any ill will towards the plaintiff nor bias in favour of her father. They acted sincerely and honestly in carrying our their tasks as elders of the congregation. There was no element of bad faith."

The judge did not believe at all that the elders or the Watchtower Society had been unloving or harsh to Vicki Boer.

An Honest Mistake

One opposer of the child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses who calls himself the E-Watchman had this to say on the case: "However, when Vicki went to the elders, which is what every good JW is supposed to do to report gross sin, the elders told Vicki that she had to take along two elders to confront her father, again. Obviously, the elders had had it drummed into their head by the WT that that was the proceedure...Matthew 18

But, alas, the elders were evidently on the wrong page of the elders' manual, as it should be apparent to anyone with common sense that the only reason Jesus advised a brother to take along one or two others was if the offender refused to listen to the offended. That wasn't the case with Vicki's father. He admitted his guilt and apologized. There was absolutely no justification for the elders to insist that Vicki confront him, especially because she told the elders how terrifying the prospect of confronting him again would be. The elders sould have simply confronted him with the knowledge that he had already confessed."

But the truth is that it is not the policy of the Watchtower Society that a victim should confront the perpetrater face to face. This is not a page from the elders manual. Contradicting what is alledged by King, the November 1, 1995 Watchtower even when discussing accusing one who has not admitted child abuse, clearly states: "If the accuser is not emotionally able to do this face-to-face, it can be done by telephone or perhaps by writing a letter."

So while King slyly attempts to deceive his readers, in one regard he is correct and it is true that there was absolutely no reason for the elders to insist that Vicki confront her father and the Watchtower publications agree with this assessment. However King deceitfully mischaracterizes and slyly twists the Watchtower policy to suit his agenda of discrediting Jehovah's Witnesses. And it was not the elders that insisted that Vicki Boer should confront her father nor was it the policy of the Watchtower Society, it was one elder that advised her she should confront her father. In fact, notice this from the judge:

"The defendants Steve Brown and Brian Cairns (elders at the investigative meeting in question) were completely unaware of the subject matter of the December 29, 1989 meeting prior to actually hearing it from Mr. Palmer and the plaintiff. They heard from the family members present, made some inquiries to satisfy themselves that the younger children were not in danger, and told the Palmers they would get back to them about what needed to be done. Neither Mr. Brown nor Mr. Cairns was responsible for the structure of the meeting. They had no knowledge that Matthew 18 was being applied. The plaintiff did not tell them that she did not want to be there and she did not ask, nor attempt, to leave. Under these circumstances neither Mr. Brown nor Mr. Cairns is responsible for any harm suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the meeting. I have already determined that there is no liability arising from any of their conduct subsquent to the December 29 meeting."

So you see according to the judge it was the one elder, Sheldon Longworth, who told Vicki Boer that she should confront her father face to face in the presence of the two elders. The elder made an honest mistake. There was no ill intentions involved, nothing evil or sinister about it. Although that is not what apostates like Robert King will lead you to believe.

What About that Out of Court Settlement Offer?

Didn't the Watchtower Society offer Vicki Boer $50,000 to settle out of court prior to going to trial? And doesn't that in itself prove the Watchtower Society knew that the elders were wrong and that they were guilty of covering up the child molesting? And then they spent over $100,000 in legal expenses on the case. Wouldn't the Watchtower Society have much better spent their money by compensating a victim of child abuse rather than trying to bribe Mrs Boer into silence with a gag order, attempting to pay to shove aside the legal claim of a lowly victim?

Lets consider this reasoning in light of the truth. The Watchtower Society knew that the elders had seen to it that the proper authorities had been informed because no doubt there was a record of it at the Children's Aid Society since it had been reported there. The Watchtower Society knew that the elders had not told her not to seek professional help because the father of her close friend, Jonathan Mott Trill, was an elder and told her to seek professional help even setting up an appointment for her. No doubt that appointment was on record. Notice that the judge agreed with this assessment. She stated in her ruling:

"[10] Ms. Boer also testified that she discussed her distress with the situation with a long-time childhood friend, Jonathan Mott-Trille. His family were members of the Shelburne Jehovah’s Witness congregation. She said she was crying and hysterical as she told her friend Jonathon about having to confront and accuse her father. Jonathan told her he thought the confronation was wrong and promised he would discuss the matter with his father Frank Mott-Trille, who was a lawyer and also an elder in the Shelbourne congregation.

[11] The next day, Ms. Boer met with Jonathan and Frank Mott-Trille at their home in Toronto. Frank Mott-Trille told her there was no requirement that she confront her father. He also advised her that she should report the abuse to the Children’s Aid Society (“ C. A. S.” ) and recommended that she see a psychiatrist. Frank Mott-Trille actually arranged an appointment for Ms. Boer with Dr. Kaplan, a psychiatrist recommended to him by his daughter ( who is herself a doctor).

[12] In the meantime, Ms. Boer received a telephone call from her father stating that a meeting had been arranged for December 29, 1989 at the Palmer family home in Shelburne and that two Shelburne elders , Steve Brown and Brian Cairns would be attending. Ms. Boer testified at trial that she went to the meeting because Mr. Longworth had directed that she must attend and she had no choice but to obey the elders....

[14] Ms. Boer did not contact the C.A.S. and did not keep the appointment with the psychiatrist which Frank Mott-Trille had arranged for her. She testified at trial that she knew she needed help but did not seek it out because she had been told not to by the elders."

The point is this assuming that it is true that the Watchtower Society offered a settlement of $50,000: Contrary to what opposers may assume, the Watchtower's settlement offer of $50,000 was not made because they knew they were in the wrong. The money was no doubt offered because they knew that it would cost more than that to go to trial. And why shouldn't they insist on a gag order since they knew that Vicki Boer was making false accusations? Should they have simply forked over money thus allowing Vicki Boer to make claims that the Watchtower Society knew they were wrong and that is why they paid her money? Of course not. They were simply trying to offer a settlement as a way of curtailing expenses for a long drawn out court case. Not only that but Vicki Boer as a child abuse victim could have benefitted from that $50,000. But alas the greedy apostates were out to simply discredit Jehovah's Witnesses at the expense of Vicki Boer, encouraging her to continue her lawsuit. They apparently could care less about her situation.

Rather than being lambasted for their offer, the Watchtower Society should be praised for their generosity in helping a child abuse victim, even though she was making false accusations against them. As Jesus said, 'if your enemy slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek'. That is what the Watchtower Society attempted to do. But the spiritual advisors of Vicki Boer would stop at nothing short in their attempt at discrediting Jehovah's Witnesses. Who cares about Vicki Boer's plight, lets bring down the Watchtower!

But doesn't this show that some of the money donated by the brothers and sisters in their congregations for the world wide work is being used for paying legal expenses? If so, is this not a misuse of funds and perhaps even a breach of trust?

Well, lets take the example of Vicki Boer Vs. Watchtower. It was shown in court and the judge agreed that Vicki Boer made false allegations against the Watchtower Society or as the judge put it her 'memory' was 'inaccurate'. In view of her false allegations, what was the Watchtower supposed to do? Were they wrong to defend themselves? Should they have just given her the $700,000 that she wanted? To those who object to the Watchtower using donated funds to defend themselves, what is the alternative? Open up the bank accounts to one and all who have a dispute or who claim abuse? Is that being responsible with donations?

The truth of the matter is that settlement money does not come from donations made to the worldwide work. Such donations are strictly used for the furtherance of the good news of the Kingdom. Since the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is a huge corportation, overseeing thousands of Kingdom Halls and other assets, they must quite naturally purchase insurance as any corporation must do. Thus the Watchtower Society has created a fund just for that purpose called the Kingdom Hall Assistance Arrangement. Money is donated specifically to that account by the congregations.

For example, in the United States an average of less than 40 cents per publisher is donated each month to that insurance fund. When claims of negligence, for any reason, made against the Watchtower Society, congregations, or elders and ministerial servants performing assigned duties for the congregations or Society are upheld and/or settlements are reached to curtail expenses, their insurance would pay. Of course, there may be a deductible to pay in which case the Watchtower Society would pay that out of the excess funds in the Kingdom Hall Assistance Arrangement account.

The Real Agenda

What was Vicki Boer's real agenda in bringing the lawsuit against the Watchtower Society? Was she really traumatized by the meeting where her father was present? Did being around her father cause her great emotional pain?

Interesting note from the court transcripts about Vicki Boer. "After the Judicial Committee meeting Ms. Boer returned to Toronto to her live-in nanny job. However, she was having such a difficult time emotionally that she resigned. Unemployed, and without housing or any source of income, she eventually returned to live with her PARENTS in Shelburne."

So heres the timeline.

Early 1980s: Vicki was molested by father.
1989--Vicki moved out.
Dec, 1989--Vicki faces father in meeting.
Early 1990s-- Went to Toronto for a job.
Shortly thereafter--resigns from job and returns to live with her parents.
Some ten years later--Brings lawsuit against Watchtower Society.
Isn't that amazing that she returned to live with the one who had molested her not long after her meeting with the elders in his presence. Doesn't it seem like she would have been too traumatized to move back into the same house where the molester lived? And then, years later she files lawsuit claiming she was traumatized at committee meetings in 1989/90. Something is wrong with this picture. Which would be more traumatizing: to face the molester one night at a hearing or to face him everyday at home? It surely makes a person wonder why she would sue the Watchtower Society for putting her in the presence of her molester once or twice as she claims, when she chose to put herself in his presence on a regular basis by living in the same house. And it surely makes a person wonder if this was more of a case about money rather than being about truth.

A Victory for Victoria?

Bill Bowen and his silentlambs organization, Robert King, and other opposers have tried to use the Vicki Boer case as an example to discredit Jehovah's Witnesses, even claiming victory for Vicki Boer. But a closer examination of the case and what actually transpired shows that it is just the opposite. It has exploded in their face. It has backfired against them. It is clear that Vicki Boer did not consider it a victory. She said the following on a well known site, "Why the judge did not see......I have no clue.... We have 1 week to make submissions to the judge or appeal and no one has been able to come up with a plan that can work." We have to wonder: if Boer won this case then why would she, as the victor, need to appeal it? The answer is obvious. She did not win, which is why she further stated, "FIRST MY FATHER RAPES ME,...AND NOW THE JUDGE BELIEVES THEM,AND REVICTIMIZES ME."

And rather than the case discrediting Jehovah's Witnesses or the Watchtower Society, it has proven that Jehovah's Witnesses child abuse policy is excellent and that it does indeed work. The facts show that it clearly worked in the Vicki Boer case. We have to wonder, how many other cases against the Watchtower Society are mere fabrications just like the Vicki Boer case. But didn't the Watchtower Society settle other cases out of court? And doesn't this prove that they knew they were in the wrong and would lose thus they chose to settle?

read more

frank said...

Deal or No Deal
Six cases against the Watchtower Society involving 10 alleged victims brought before civil courts in California were reportedly settled (the court documents show they were 'dismissed with prejudice') on February 13, 2007. "Spearheading the lawsuits is Texas law firm Love and Norris, which initially approached Nolen Saul Brelsford about the California cases," according to an article by journalist Joy Lanzendorfer. Apparently such lawsuits were the result of a 2003 or 2004 law enacted in California that extended the statute of limitations which allowed cases that happened as far back as the 1970's to be filed.

Originally, Brelsford brought 17 cases against Jehovah's Witnesses throughout California but 11 cases were dropped or dismissed leaving the remaining six lawsuits. At some point the law firm of Love and Norris had jumped on board and the six remaining lawsuits were subsequently lumped together into one large lawsuit in Napa Valley. It is most interesting that you often read about these lawsuits being filed at sites such a Silentlambs but you rarely hear about it when they are dismissed or dropped as in the case of 11 out of the 17 cases filed by Brelsford.

Gerard, a poster at the site known as JWD, who claims to be a friend and supporter of attorney Kimberlee Norris of Love and Norris, reports that she said she would never settle these cases. Here are his exact words: "... I am extremely disapointed on Kimberly Norris, their attorney. I asked her a couple of years ago in this list and she said she would never settle. I guess everyone has a price...lawyers standing on the sidelines are not an exception. A lawyer needs more abuses in the future to keep settling them out of court. Why kill the hen that lays gold eggs?" Later he reiterated, "For the record: Kim told me she would not settle, so that was disapointing and caused me anger as I felt she lied."

Assuming that he is not lying (why would he since he is a supporter of Norris against the Watchtower Society) and assuming the cases were settled out of court, then we have to wonder why did she settle out of court when she claimed she never would? Indeed why did all 10 persons involved in the 6 cases choose to settle with a confidentiality agreement or gag order as some call it?

Usually an ambulance chaser, like Kim Norris, pursues these cases with no money being fronted by the plaintiffs, meaning they volunteer their time, but collect 40% of the resulting judgment or settlement. If they discover their case is weak, they can put a lot of pressure on the plaintiffs to settle, otherwise the plaintiffs would have to pay out of their own pockets to continue pursuing the case. Most cannot afford to do so, so they must accept the advice of their attorney. Hence you have 10 out of 10 settling their cases and not one holding out to prove their case. It is also most revealing that shortly thereafter, three other cases involving six other alleged victims in Texas, Oregon, and San Diego were likewise settled with the same 'gag order' agreement.

You may have heard that the settlements involved MILLIONS of dollars. Those who make such claims really have no idea of the amount. They are merely guessing and it is a baseless guess. Innocent defendants oftentimes offer settlements to end cases and if we look at history of the Watchtower Society we will see that they almost always do the same. This is no indication of guilt on the part of the defendant. While there is no way of knowing how much was offered in these 9 cases involving 16 alleged victims, there are two cases we know details about that we can look at as a barometer.

First lets examine an abuse case brought against the Mormon Church because of John Charles Blome. Quoting from one source we read: "This civil case was filed in Montgomery County, Texas and went to jury trial. The case settled for $4 Million after the Mormons were found negligent. A 13 year old boy who was molested by a Mormon Church youth leader in Magnolia Ward was awarded more than his own lawyers sought October 8, 1998. Blome molested many other boys from the same area and in other areas. Sheriff's deputies were upset that the Mormon Bishop tipped Blome to the pending investigation, and he burned evidence before it could be seized. In an earlier case against Blome the Mormon Church was also found negligent."

As you see this case went before the jury and the Mormon Church was found negligent. Then what happened? It was settled for 4 million dollars. And as you see this was the SECOND time the Church had been found negligent because of this man. We can certainly realize that this is one of the worse cases of negligence that could possibly happen. Now, when considering the above case, does it seem plausible to believe that the Watchtower Society would make a settlement offer of 3 or 4 million dollars per case BEFORE the trials, equaling what the Mormons paid AFTER being found negligent in court, not once but twice, in addition to being found guilty of burning evidence? Why, before the trial even began, would the Watchtower Society offer as much as they would stand to lose even if they were found negligent as a result of the trial? Millions of dollars offered by the Watchtower Society pre-trial? Highly unlikely!

The second case is the Vicki Boer case. How much was Vicki Boer offered? Millions? Hundreds of thousands? According to Vicki Boer herself she was offered $50,000 dollars if she would agree not to talk about the case. Opposers would like us to believe that the Watchtower Society went from offering someone $50,000 dollars in one case to offering 3 or 4 million dollars per case as in the California lawsuits. As for Boer, she declined the offer because she said it wasn't about money but rather justice for the children. Reminescent of the game show, Deal or No Deal, she risked the $50,000 dollars and wound up with nothing. No, even worse than that! She wound up owing her lawyers $90,000 and the Watchtower Society $137,000.

Kimberly Norris and the 16 persons in the cases recently settled faced a similar situation. Would they risk the money offered and possibly wind up in the same situation as Vicki Boer? Did they have such confidence in their case that they would not think twice about taking the money because the Watchtower Society needed to be exposed? The facts speak for themselves. They took the money and agreed to the gag order.

Bill Bowen of SilentLambs commented about the settlement: "On one hand, we're glad a few victims are finally getting some financial help. On the other hand, we're sad and worried because they've essentially been forced to give up their right to protect others by speaking out about their abuse to the public." But were they really 'forced to give up their right to protect others by speaking out'? No, they were not forced into secrecy. No one put a gun to their head. They could reject the settlement offer if they wanted to, and proceed with the trial. Of their own free will they CHOSE to sign on the dotted line and thus AGREED to the gag order.

The fact that they settled leaves us with only 3 possibilities:
1. Their case was weak and they doubted they would win so they took the offer.
2. Kimberly Norris insisted on the settlement or else she was pulling out because the money in hand outweighed the risk.
3. The money, for whatever reasons, was more important than exposing the Watchtower Society.

I know if I had irrefutable proof that the elders covered up child abuse, knowingly appointed a pedophile to a position of leadership or transferred him to another congregation as an elder, and as a result the pedophile elder molested more children, I would NEVER settle. However if I had a weak case with little hope of winning, I would settle in a heart beat, even if it required a gag order. Can you imagine this prayer being offered up? 'Dear Lord, I really wanted to expose the bad old Satanic Watchtower organization and their pedophile paradise but money was just more important. I mean er... They twisted my arm and forced me into silence.'

Where does this settlement money come from? Isn't it true that some of the money donated by the brothers and sisters for the worldwide work is being used for paying legal expenses? And since this is the case, is this not a misuse of funds and perhaps even a breach of trust?

Well truth be known, settlement money does not come from donations made to the worldwide work. Such donations are strictly used for the furtherance of the good news of the Kingdom. Since the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is a huge corportation, overseeing thousands of Kingdom Halls and other assets, they must quite naturally purchase insurance as any corporation must do. Thus the Watchtower Society has created a fund just for that purpose called the Kingdom Hall Assistance Arrangement. Money is donated specifically to that account by the congregations.

For example, in the United States an average of less than 40 cents per publisher is donated each month to that insurance fund. When claims of negligence, for any reason, made against the Watchtower Society, congregations, or elders and ministerial servants performing assigned duties for the congregations or Society are upheld and/or settlements are reached to curtail expenses, their insurance would pay. Of course, there may be a deductible to pay in which case the Watchtower Society would pay that out of the excess funds in the Kingdom Hall Assistance Arrangement account.

To those who object to the Watchtower Society using donated funds to defend themselves, what is the alternative? Open up the bank accounts to one and all who have a dispute or who claim abuse? Is that being responsible with donations?

But still, doesn't the settlement prove that the Watchtower Society was in the wrong? The fact is, if you examine the documents of dismissal you will see that all the cases were 'dismissed with prejudice'. 'Dismissed with prejudice' means that the court has dismissed the case and plaintiffs cannot bring the case to court again. Cases are often times 'dismissed with prejudice' if the plaintiff has shown bad faith, misled the court, persisted in filing frivolous lawsuits, or settled out of court. You will find this at http://www.answers.com/topic/prejudice-law. It is not a court judgment against the defendant and there is no admission of guilt at all by the Watchtower Society if indeed the cases were settled out of court as assumed.

Opposers say that the Watchtower Society knew they were in the wrong and so they offered a settlement. But lets consider this reasoning in light of the truth about the Boer case. The Watchtower Society knew that all the facts were in their favor. They knew that it was on record that the elders had seen to it that her father reported himself and that elders had even made an appointment for her to meet with a therapist. And yet the Watchtower Society offered a settlement. Why?

Contrary to what opposers may assume, the Watchtower's reported settlement offer of $50,000 was not made to Boer because they knew they were in the wrong and neither was the settlement offer involving the 16 persons made for that reason. The money was no doubt offered because they knew that it would cost more than that to go to trial and that it would be very time consuming. They were simply trying to offer a settlement as a way of curtailing expenses ffor a long drawn out court case. Not only that but Vicki Boer as a child abuse victim could have benefitted from that $50,000. But you have to wonder why the plaintiffs would take the offer along with the gag order? If they had such a strong case, why not go for more money and expose the Watchtower Society?

So then who really was the victor in the settlement? Well, consider this. If it had went to court and the Watchtower Society been found libel or guilty they would have definitely been the loser. They would have paid out millions of dollars as ordered by the court. But since it did not go to court the Watchtower Society was not found libel. The Watchtower Society was not found guilty of promoting child abuse. In short, the Watchtower Society did NOT lose. Those who were out to 'expose the evil Watchtower' failed in their mission. Kimberlee Norris supporter Gerard mentioned earlier even lamented, "...with a gag order, no reporter will want to touch it and the WT is winning." Yes, the truth still remains that the Watchtower Society has never lost not one single child abuse case brought against them in a court of law. This attest to the strength of their child abuse policy, a child abuse policy 'unequaled in the religious community'.

After Kimberlee Norris read much of what is written here she responded. Please continue.


more you ask for it

frank said...

Faith, Hope, Love and Norris
Many opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses have placed their faith in the law firm of Love and Norris hoping they can win a big judgment against the Watchtower Society in the courts of the land and thus hoping to discredit the Watchtower's child abuse policy. So far, they have been unsuccessful. After Kimberlee Norris read much of the information presented in the previous chapter called Deal or No Deal, she felt the need to respond and did so on the site known as Topix. She stated:

"I find it interesting that current WTS apologists voice very strong (and uninformed)opinions about the 'strength' of past cases against Watchtower with little if any ACTUAL information about the ongoing litigation between Watchtower and abuse victims. Settlements occur for various reasons. The emotional health of the litigant is one consideration.

In any case, 3rd witness is CLUELESS about actual settlement value. We don't pursue cases wherein we cannot prevail; not good for client, and not good business. In general, I can't spend what it takes to pursue abuse cases without significant return.

BTW, it is lunacy for any attorney to ever say she/he WILL NOT SETTLE, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. The best interest of a client is often served by settling a case, whether because of passing time, health needs or emotional strain. Kimberlee D. Norris attorney at law"

"WTS apologists" responded with evidence and documentation and difficult questions left unanswered by Ms. Norris.

Thirdwitness responded: "Assuming you are really Kimberlee D. Norris, first I would like to thank you for your reply. I certainly realize that you would want to recoup the money spent plus a little pocket change for yourself and those you represent. But by saying that '3rd witness is CLUELESS about actual settlement value', are you saying that the settlement was indeed for MILLIONS of dollars? I suspect that would be highly unlikely at this stage of the trial. Here is why.

Take a look at the abuse case brought against the Mormons because of John Charles Blome. Quoting from one source we read: "This civil case was filed in Montgomery County, Texas and went to jury trial. The case settled for $4 Million after the Mormons were found negligent. A 13 year old boy who was molested by a Mormon Church youth leader in Magnolia Ward was awarded more than his own lawyers sought October 8, 1998. Blome molested many other boys from the same area and in other areas. Sheriff's deputies were upset that the Mormon Bishop tipped Blome to the pending investigation, and he burned evidence before it could be seized. In an earlier case against Blome the Mormon Church was also found negligent."

As you see this case went before the jury and the Mormon Church was found negligent. Then what happened? It was settled for 4 million dollars. As you see this was the SECOND time the Church had been found negligent because of this man. You must surely realize that this is one of the worse cases of negligence that could possibly happen.

Now, when considering the above case, do you actually expect us to believe that the WTS would make a settlement offer of 3 or 4 million dollars per case equaling what the Mormons paid after being found negligent in court, not once but twice, in addition to burning evidence? Do you expect us to believe that the WTS offered 3 or 4 million per case when the cases had not even went to trial yet. And not only that, the WTS had not already previously been found negligent because of abusers in any of these cases nor had they been found guilty of burning evidence as the Mormon church had been? Millions of dollars offered by the WTS pre-trial?

Are you telling us that?

Additionally you say: "The emotional health of the litigant is one consideration." It would be quite a huge coincidence if all 16 cases were settled for that reason. Is that what you are trying to tell us?

Looking forward to your reply."

When met with the evidence and documentation how would she respond? Would she respond with a clear presentation of the facts to prove her position? Take note of how in her response she put forth no evidence and actually got off topic stating:

"The amount of settlement cannot be communicated on a public forum, due to confidentiality agreements.

You apparently know little of the facts of the cases brought against WTS. What you are describing is referred to as 'notice', and necessary to hold any defendant responsible for the actions of its agents, employees or volunteers, at least in this context.

You are welcome, for the response.

Kimberlee D. Norris"

Diogenes then asked: "How exactly did you prevail? I noticed all your cases were dismissed with prejudice. That doesn't sound like winning to me. And why did you advise all your clients to agree to a settlement with a gag attached? Could it be that during discovery you found out that your cases weren't as rock solid as you thought?

You have been actively soliciting to JW abuse victims (just like the ambulance chasers you see on TV) for quite some time now. After all the years just exactly how many cases have you won? By my count it’s still stuck on 0."

Thirdwitness also again responded: "Ms Norris, And just for the record it is one of your friends at JWD named Gerard who said:

"On the other hand, I am extremely disapointed on Kimberly Norris, their attorney. I asked her a couple of years ago in this list and she said she would never settle. I guess everyone has a price...lawyers standing on the sidelines are not exeption. A lawyer needs more abuses in the future to keep settling them out of court. Why kill the hen that lays gold eggs?"

I suppose he could be lying. But it seems very unlikely since he is a supporter of you. Later after being reprimanded by some for his friends at JWD for his comment he said:

"For the record: Kim told me she would not setle, so that was disapointing and caused me anger as I felt she lied. Actually, Kim, you are the only one that has brought the WT to their knees. Your work is amazing and my opinion on your change of tactics should have been kept private, after all, I am not a victim but an observer.

I am very happy these victims got closure and substancial settlement. The root of my frustration (that I took on Kim) are the dozens or hundreds of children that are and will become victims of sexual abuse.... We must find a way that this settlement will help them too, but with a gag order, no reporter will want to touch it and the WT is winning."

Unfortunately, some of your posts at JWD have mysteriously been wiped clean and we can no longer verify what Gerard said.

Just wondering if you could tell us if those you represented were 'forced' to sign the confidentiality agreements as claimed by Bowen and others. Also please enlighten me about the cases if you can since I 'know little of the facts'. I would be happy to look at any information or court transcripts or depositions that you could provide for us. Thanks again for taking the time to reply."

The replies of the 'WTS apologists' were met with silence from Kimberlee Norris. We have to wonder why she even responded in the first place. Was it merely an attempt to belittle 'WTS apologists' by using bullying tactics to show her superior knowledge of the cases and legalities involved? When getting off topic was it just to show all that the 'WTS apologists' were out of her league when it came to understanding legal terms or expressions. She certainly presented absolutely no evidence to support her position. Using the same ploy that opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses often use, she merely tossed out meaningless phrases meant to belittle and prejudice readers against the 'WTS apologists'. Notice some of those phrases: "WTS apologists voice very strong (and uninformed)opinions...with little if any ACTUAL information...3rd witness is CLUELESS...You apparently know little of the facts "

In reality, we surely must feel bad for Ms. Norris because she has been misinformed and misled about the true child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses. Notice, according to law.com, where Norris received much of her information about the child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses. It says of Norris: "...she searched the Web site www.silentlambs.org, a group that assists the survivors of alleged JW abuse. She then contacted silentlambs' founder, Bill Bowen, a former church elder. Bowen says that the religion's organizational structure is so intricate, its apocalyptic vision so unconventional, "it takes up to six months to get a lawyer up to speed." In Norris, a self-described "preacher's kid" who had briefly attended Bible study sessions with Jehovah's Witnesses as a teenager, Bowen found someone ahead of the curve. With Bowen tutoring her, sadly, she was apparently duped into believing in Bowen's invented mythical Watchtower child abuse policy that has never existed.

Thus you will find that what Kim Norris says often sounds like quotes from Bill Bowen. Notice this from the law.com article quoted from earlier: "Moreno says, ... "Victims and their families also have the absolute right to report abuse to the authorities." Norris counters that church practice is just the opposite. In each of the JW suits, her clients allege that Watchtower defendants enforce an "organization-wide policy preventing the reporting of child sexual abuse to law enforcement." And notice this article by Jennifer Rouse of the Mid-Valley Sunday: "Kimberlee Norris, one of the Texas lawyers filing cases against Jehovah's Witnesses, contends that church policies create an opportunity for abuse to occur. One policy, she says, tells church members to report problems involving other believers to church leaders instead of police. Another requires two eyewitnesses to an incident before the accused person can be punished."

Of course, we have previously shown those statements to be in direct conflict with the Watchtower's policy and practice as shown by this 1992 letter from the Watchtower Society which clearly states: "It is also a personal decision if the alleged victim chooses to report such accusations to the secular authorities....all in the Christian congregation would want to consider their personal and moral responsibility to alert the appropriate authorities in cases where there has been committed or there exists a risk that there might be committed a serious criminal offence of this type..." And this statement from the Watchtower policy found at their website: "However, if two persons are witnesses to separate incidents of the same kind of wrongdoing, their testimony may be deemed sufficient to take action."

It would be our hope that Ms. Norris would read the information presented here and realize that Bill Bowen and company have invented a child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses that does not exist. The real child abuse policy is presented in these writings with detailed documentation and instructions from the Watchtower Society. In time, we would hope that Ms. Norris would come to see that rather than being a pedophile paradise, the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is just the opposite, a pedophile's nightmare. We would hope that Ms. Norris would see that her time, money, and efforts could be better spent pursuing organizations that do not disfellowship and shun practicing pedophiles, that do not keep a database to ensure that no former molesters are given responsible positions, that really try to hide pedophiles by simply moving them to another church to continue serving. And we would hope that Ms. Norris would see the truth, that she is pursuing a religious organization that has a child abuse policy 'unequaled in the religious community'. But somehow Ms. Norris is probably finding that out case by case!

During the discovery phase of the California lawsuits a child abuse telememo was submitted by the Watchtower Society as evidence. Opposers claim this telememo was damaging to the Watchtower Society. We will examine it next.

Ronde said...

Joepub:

"Not at all Frank... Regarding Barbara's case, the court has to see if there was any law of the land broken and it can't make decisions that are governed by religions - have you never heard of the separation of state and church (religion)?"

It is called the Ecclesiastical Abstinence Doctrine. It means that civil law or courts can not tell religions what to do.

Barbra Anderson was disfellowshipped, and rightly so.

But it is not a religious decision as who would want to fellowship with such a wench?

frank said...

More for you
The Tell-Tale Telememo
During the court cases that were recently dismissed with prejudice in Napa Valley, California, a form printed by the Watchtower Society, entitled Child Abuse Telememo, was brought forth in the discovery phase. The Child Abuse Telememo was a form filled out by a member of the Society's Legal Department when elders phoned in to the headquarters reporting child abuse. Since it is a form that only persons at the Watchtower headquarters would have access to, then surely it must provide us with the true instructions given by the Watchtower Society to the elders. And surely then, it would provide damning evidence against the Watchtower Society that contradicts what they have published in writing about their child abuse policy. That is what opposers would like for you to believe.

To give the impression that the telememo contained pivotal evidence against the Watchtower, opposers will oftentimes lead you to believe that the Watchtower Society fought vehemently to keep the telememo out of court. In actuality, blank telememo forms were submitted early on in the discovery phase. The plaintiffs suing the Watchtower, however, wanted the specific telememos that were filled out for each case involved in the suits. The court ruled that such completed telememos were confidential and were protected under the attorney-client privilege. Notice this from the court ruling of the hearing conducted October 13, 2006:

"Plaintiffs subsequently noticed a PMK deposition to inquire into (1) the organiztiion, staffing and operation of the Legal Department; (2) the Legal Departments role in responding to and investigating child sexual abuse allegations within the organization; (3) the development and use of "Child Abuse Telememos" which were forms developed to obtain and record information concerning reports of abuse (blank forms were produced in discovery); (4) records kept by or under the direction of the Legal Department concerning allegations of abuse; and (5) answers given to "survey questions" contained on one of the Telememos....

The court agrees that items 1, 2 and 4 which seek general structural, policy and organizational information concerning the Legal Department, implicate neither the attorney-client nor the work product privileges. Item 3 and 5 on the other hand, seek protected information. As set forth in the declaration of the Church’s associate general council, the Telememo forms are completed by attorneys or legal assistants based upon information provided them by congregation elders, and are used to assist in giving legal advice to the elders, as clients of the Legal Department. Similarly, any compilation of information, as from the “survey questions” constitutes attorney work product and is not discoverable. For these reasons, the court will GRANT the motion as to the items 1, 2, and 4 and will DENY the motion as to items 3 and 5."

The Child Abuse Telememo forms submitted in the discovery phase were dated between the years of 1989 and 1994. They were all basically the same, with some having slightly different wording. The telememo ask for specific information about the abuser, the victim, the congregations involved, the elders calling the Society, the person receiving the call, the action taken against the abuser, as well as other pertinent information. Also included is information under Reporting or Nonreporting in which one box was to be checked to indicate if the state required mandatory reporting or not.

What is interesting and gets to the crux of the matter is what is then stated under each category. Under Nonreporting it is stated: "Elders have no duty to report child abuse under the __________ child abuse reporting law. Whether others who have knowledge makes a report or pursue the matter legally is a personal decision." It further states: "Encourage parties not to involve the congregation if authorities investigate." It asks elders to review previous publications from the Society in giving appropriate spiritual asistance to the family, handle the matter judicially as a serious wrongdoing, and then states: "Positive steps should be taken to prevent further abuse. The elders should monitor the situation carefully for the protection of other potential victims."

Under the Reporting column it is stated: "The elders have a duty to report child abuse under the_________ child abuse reporting law. They should speak to the offender directly and find out if he is willing to turn himself in. If he is unwilling, there may be someone else who has knowledge of the abuse who will make a report. If no one who has knowledge of the abuse is willing to make a report, two elders should make an anonymous phone report from a neutral location, such as a phone booth." Then the elders are instructed to record pertinent information as to who the elders were that called the authorities, who they reported to, time, date, etc. They are further told to review articles to assist the family, handle the matter judicially, and then it makes the same statement as stated under nonreporting: "Positive steps should be taken to prevent further abuse. The elders should monitor the situation carefully for the protection of other potential victims."

Now after examining these statements in the telememo what do you conclude? Does it support the claims of opposers that the elders are instructed by the Society to threaten anyone who reports abuse to the police with discipline in the congregation? Did the Watchtower give instructions to the elders to shield the offender rather than protecting the victim or other children?

It is really just the opposite. The telememo clearly states, "Whether others who have knowledge makes a report or pursue the matter legally is a personal decision." There was absolutely no instructions to discourage reporting the crime. But what about this statement: "Encourage parties not to involve the congregation if authorities investigate."? This actually provides further proof as the elders are made well aware that an investigation by the authorities may very well take place if the victim's family pursues the matter legally. Nowhere in the telememo are elders instructed to make threats of discipline toward any who report the abuse. And nowhere in the telememo are elders given instructions to discourage the victim from reporting the crime. In fact, in mandatory reporting states elders are even instructed to encourage the victim to report it to the police.

What about the protection of the children? According to the telememo, were the responsibilities of the elders completed after they had handled the matter judicially in the congregation and/or seen to it that the crime was reported to the authorities? No, elders are told to take steps 'to prevent further abuse' and to 'monitor the situation carefully for the protection of other potential victims'.

But why does the telememo tell elders to make an 'anonymous phone report' to the authorities? Please consider. First the offender is asked by the elders to report himself. His failure to willingly comply and take responsibility for his actions, thus showing a lack of repentance, would without a doubt ensure his disfellowshipping. If he is unwilling to report himself the elders asked the victim, victim's family, or someone with knowledge of the abuse to report it to the authorities. If they likewise refuse to cooperate then the elders are placed in a precarious situation. They must go against the wishes of the victim and their family and report the abuse themselves. Reporting anonymously not only satisfies the law, but also provides protection for the elders should those involved try to sue the elders for breach of confidentiality.

Opposers make the claim that anonymously reporting somehow proves that the Watchtower Society and the elders refuse to cooperate with the authorities and that they are essentially protecting and shielding pedophiles by reporting the crime in this manner. But is this really the case? Let us reason on the matter.

By reporting the abuse, even though anonymously, the criminal matter is put squarely in the hands of the authorities to investigate and in the hands of the victim and family to cooperate so that the abuser can be brought to justice. The authorities will then question the victim and the family of the victim. If they still refuse to cooperate with the police, as with the elders previously, then it goes on record that they did not want the authorities involved. What more can the elders do? They have disfellowshipped the offender, reported the matter, offered spiritual assistance to the family, taken steps to prevent further abuse, and they will continue to carefully monitor the situation as instructed by the Watchtower Society.

There is one question on the telememo that is asked that on the surface may seem inappropriate. Under the Survey Questions, question 9 reads, "How many elders feel the victim was somewhat at fault or willingly participated in the act?"

'How calloused!' cry opposers. They claim it shows a lack of concern and understanding for victims and minimizes the wrongdoing by the offender. Imagine putting part of the blame on a little child as a willing participant in child molesting. How could they possibly asked such an inappropriate question? Again, lets reason on the matter.

All child molesting, as defined by the law of the land, does not involve an older man with a small child as is commonly assumed when discussing child molesting. In some states, consensual sex between a person just past the age of consent and a person near the age of consent is considered rape or child abuse. So for example, if a 20 year old had consensual sex with a 17 year old this might be considered child abuse according to the law in some states. Now we see that the question is not so farfetched after all. Surely the 20 year old in this instance should not be labeled a pedophile or rapist for the rest of his life. The question is both reasonable and appropriate in this case. And that is why the question is there.

Now after closely examining the telememo what can we conclude? Rather than supporting the claims of opposers and apostates it in reality serves as documented evidence in favor of the Watchtower Society. The instructions on the telememo are in harmony with all the letters and other publications written by the Society telling elders to report abuse when mandatory, never discourage or threaten with congregational discipline anyone reporting abuse, take steps to protect the victim, and to carefully monitor the situation to make sure all other children are protected.

In fact, one question asked on the telememo to ensure elders are following these guidelines set forth by the Society is question 3: "Have the elders reviewed the letters of July 1, 1989, March 23, 1992, February 3, 1993?" A review of those letters, which we have quoted from extensively on this site, clearly shows that the claims by opposers about the child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses is patently false and that their claims about the Child Abuse Telememo is nothing but the usual apostate exaggerations and twisting of facts.

Such exaggerations, twisting of facts, deceitfulness, and outright lies are common tactics of critics of the child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses.

kimmy jo said...

I am not throwing my pearls to swine.

frank deserves to have his say, be it right or wrong. Even if it is lame defense against absolute proof. He is trained that Satan is trying to turn him away from serving his god. So he would respond like this. I am sad for you that your loyalties are so misplaced. You put your faith in a human corporation calling itself acceptable and approved by the True God! The watchtower society guides you all the way with it's teachings.

In the end of the matter justice will be done.

Iceguy said...

Kimmy Jo
Frank can have his say but all he is doing is cut and pasting from 3rdwitness website...which by the way the WTS condiders an apostate.

It is sad that they can't feel sorry for the victims and then blame boe's instead of the Org. If the Org had a clear cut policy on child molestation mistakes by boe's would not happen.

Ronde said...

iceguy said:

"Frank can have his say but all he is doing is cut and pasting from 3rdwitness website...which by the way the WTS condiders an apostate."

No, the WTS does not consider it apostate.

"It is sad that they can't feel sorry for the victims and then blame boe's instead of the Org."

What is there to blame? The elders did not do any abusing.

The blame falls only on the perp and the parents for not training the children and teaching.


" If the Org had a clear cut policy on child molestation mistakes by boe's would not happen."

The BOE is not involved with any molestation. They are not the accused.

Nathan said...

excellent posts frank! thank you for taking the time to present this all. unfortunately I don't find that much time, although I would love to add my 2 cents here too.

Interestingly not much was answered to your presentation (in fact nothing of substance).

thanks againg man, good job!

kimmy jo said...

frank,

you are fighting the wrong battle, defending the undefendable, running against the wind with your eyes closed.

Anonymous said...

attempting to defend an indefensible cult on an apostate website... the irony is just too funny..

jwcpp said...

If you'd like to know the truth about the Watch Tower child abuse policy, plese read here.