Children

Breaking News: Judge Sanctions Jehovah’s Witnesses With $4000 Per Day Fine; Will It Be Enough?

Covering up their knowledge of pedophiles in their religion is costing Jehovah’s Witnesses, to the tune of $4000 per day.

On June 23, 2016, San Diego, California, Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss grew tired of the Watchtower Society fighting his order to produce a 1997 letter sent to all elders worldwide, and decided to sanction the religion with a fine of $4000 per day until the Watchtower complied with that order. This case is in relation to a civil suit brought by former member of the religion, Osbaldo Padron, who claims that an elder, Gonzalo Campos, sexually abused him repeatedly when Padron was younger. See this story in the San Diego Reader for more information.

If the name sounds familiar, another court in California awarded former Jehovah’s Witness Jose Lopez $13.5 million for his lawsuit against the religion, stemming from sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Gonzalo Campos while Campos was working his way up the ranks of the religion. Lopez claimed that the elders of the religion knew that Campos was a danger and that he had sexually molested children in the past, but offered no warning to parents and allowed Campos more and more authority in the religion.

In Padron’s case, the Watchtower Society was ordered to produce that 1997 letter to all elders worldwide, which would include information about accusations of child sex abuse. The Watchtower produced a heavily redacted copy in March 2015; for those unfamiliar with the term, redacted means that information is blacked out or omitted (see example below). The Watchtower has been fighting for the past year to keep a full version of the letter out of court, claiming that it would violate the privacy of those mentioned in the letter and who were not associated with the Padron case. The judge allowed them to plead their case but finally didn’t accept their argument, gave the order that the full letter be submitted, and decided to impose a sanction of $4000 per day for every day they refuse to do that.

redacted-redacted1

Will It Be Enough?

Four thousand dollars every day is a lot of money, even for the Watchtower, but will it be enough for them to comply? Remember that once a letter is submitted to court, unless they can make an argument to keep it sealed, it then becomes public record. This letter, if it contains names of abusers and the evidence against them, could be incredibly damning to the Watchtower Society and open up a floodgate of additional civil suits.

This is why it’s a valid question, of whether or not $4000 per day is enough to force their hand. I assume this would be just weekdays, so that’s $20,000 per week, and over $1 million per year. While this may sound like enough to force the Watchtower to comply, consider that governing body member Geritt Losch was willing to defy a court order to give testimony about child abuse policies in, ironically enough, the case filed by Jose Lopez against Campos. Losch stated quite defiantly:

I am not, and have never been, a corporate officer, director, managing agent, member, or employee of Watchtower. I do not direct, and have never directed, the day-to-day operations of Watchtower. I do not answer to Watchtower. I do not have, and have never had, any authority as an individual to make or determine corporate policy for Watchtower or any department of Watchtower.

The judge mentioned Losch’s refusal to comply when awarding the $13.5 million judgment noted above.

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Jehovah’s Witness governing body member Geritt Losch.

If the Watchtower were to continue to defy this current order to the tune of $1 million per year, they could do this for thirteen years and only then would it match the judgment given to Lopez. Money, however, doesn’t seem to be enough to motivate them to comply with court orders. Consider, too, that those additional lawsuits that would stem from this document could also total far more than $4000 per day.  Only time will tell if it’s enough for them to comply.

Giving Privacy to Pedophiles

I’m not a lawyer so I can’t guess as to what additional steps the judge might take to force the hands of the Watchtower; since this is in California and the religion is headquartered in New York, I would assume he cannot hold any of the governing body in contempt and put them in jail. I could be wrong about that, and perhaps he has the right to do the same for local elders who have copies of the letter that are not redacted and who are defying legal orders to produce it. Again, I’m not a lawyer, but what I am pretty confident about saying is that the Watchtower is sure to use every single legal maneuver, every single trick they can think of to continue to defy this order and keep their records secret.

Defiance of a court order aside, the real problem here is that the Watchtower Society is yet again using all their time, money, and other resources to protect, not their rank-and-file members, not the child abuse victims in their Kingdom Halls, but the pedophiles. They are working hard, putting their best lawyers on the case, and willing to part with their money in order to give privacy to child rapists. As the news story above says:

Over the course of the past year, the Watchtower Society and its lawyers have fought hard to keep the letter confidential, claiming that turning over the documents would infringe on the privacy of those mentioned in the letter that were not associated with the case.

Yes, that is the main concern, isn’t it, the privacy of pedophiles? This is what a “loving” religion should be working hard on, keeping the behavior of disgusting child rapists secret from law enforcement, the courts, and the victims who have every right to call them up on the carpet for how they’ve hidden behind the religion’s rules for so long, right?

The Watchtower could be spending all the contributions from their members in having experts teach them how to handle these cases properly, but they spend that money on simply hiding pedophile after pedophile. They could be taking responsibility for their failings and doing the right thing toward the victims by removing these child rapists from their ranks and ensuring those victims get the help they need, as well as sanctioning the elders who cover up this abuse and victimize those children all over again. Instead, they do the equivalent of giving them and the courts the finger and becoming even more defiant.

The problem in all of this is not the money being spent or the powers of the court; it’s the strongly entrenched attitude that no one will tell Jehovah’s Witnesses what to do even when it comes to child molesters sitting in the Kingdom Hall, and that adult pedophiles are more important than the children they molest. Jehovah’s Witnesses have no business thinking that they know how to handle cases of child molestation in their religion, demanding two witnesses to the abuse, thinking that these molesters can just say they’re “sorry” for their “sin” and they’ll be safe on the street, and that the attitude and maturity of the parents is an indication of the truthfulness of the child.

Yet, Jehovah’s Witnesses will defend their policies and practices before they defend a child rape victim, gladly blame others for the problem, and part with the donation money they get from their members if it means being able to defy a legal court order. If anything, this problem will just get worse over time as Jehovah’s Witnesses push the envelope on keeping members secluded from the outside world so that more victims are afraid of going to the police, and get discouraged about how long court cases take before they get any type of justice.

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20 replies »

  1. Would be nice to read the actual facts of the court. Shame on reporters with an obvious ax to grind! This is not objective reporting, with an obvious hateful bias that any objective reader can see through. Where did the commentator learn to defy the standard for ethical journalism? It certainly was not from conventional education sources!!… Shame On Such Wannabe Newsmen!

    That said, there will always be a Judas in the bunch – even with the true religion. Jesus had one – Judas Iscariot. Noted faithful King David covered up adultery with murder! Not only did he NOT lose his authority, he was repentant, and forgiven. As mentioned above, there is scrutiny when such accusations take place, and a time-consuming process before forgiveness is possible, but also a watchful eye that an offense is not repeated. And a longer time before any privileges are restored. Way more conservative than the Scriptural example just given.

    So, shall we believe an obviously slanted report? “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” – Ro 3:4 (KJ)

    • Type Weintraub…Either you’re brainwashed by WT or you’ve been smoking marajuana…or maybe both! 🙂 🙂

  2. As one of J W’s, I reveal this: Any known Pedohiles, or any convicted for sexual crimes cannot hold any position within the entire network. There are persons whom were criminals..perpetrating crimes such as property crimes, or moral crimes such as drunkeness, that have repented and been washed clean, as 1 Cor 6:8-10 explains. These are allowed to participate in the minstry and common activities. However these ARE observed with their past under careful observance, for quite a while before given even minor responsibilities such as assisting with stocking literature,like bibles and Watchtowers. If the charges are correct, regarding a pedophile or any member commiting a moral, property,and the extremly serious sexual offense, the perpetrator should step up and accept such ones punishment. A parent of an child whom is an adult, cant be sentenced for the crime the child commits unless participating in it. The scriptures condemn all forms of sexual misconduct. I can speak for many: We are appalled at perpetrators of such horrible crimes of molestation, and rape, and assault, and genocide and murder. We are like you,praising the riddanceof all wicked persons doing these things. We are waiting eagerly for Jehovah ,whom has been tolerating humans repulsive desire to abuse others, has tolerated verbal abuse against He, His Son, and those trying to teach others of his Sovereignty while doing our utmost in our own conduct to follow Jesus pattern, by loving our neighbor, that is, our human family, throughtout the world. You too
    can learn His ways, and learn from the greatest man who ever lived, Jesus. Harrasing Jehovahs people will not solve these problems. You can

    • “As one of J W’s, I reveal this: Any known Pedohiles, or any convicted for sexual crimes cannot hold any position within the entire network” – This is a LIE. Internal Watchtower documents released by Australian Royal Commission clearly say that a former pedophile CAN be even an elder, under certain circumstances.

    • Yes, yes, Cor. 6:8-10 says the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And everyone knows reporters sometimes stretch the truth in their news articles. So what, that doesn’t change the fact that there are pedophiles among the so called “God’s people”. Do you have any idea how dangerous that is? JW’s are taught to obey and not to question the elders. And parents are encouraged to instill that mindset into their children. I was once a baptized JW, so I have witnessed this. Talk about a toxic upbringing. We are not talking about drunkeness or smoking or using drugs. Convicted sex offenders are never to have contact, even through mail, with past victims or victims families. They are monitored closely and need to live a distance from schools. But I guess JW’s think they are above the law. Pedophiles are the scum of the earth; stop defending them! You’re just afraid if people make enough “noise” about them, the government will dissolve the organization.

  3. I think it is another good article, but I think you have one thing wrong.

    “Defiance of a court order aside, the real problem here is that the Watchtower Society is yet again using all their time, money, and other resources to protect, not their rank-and-file members, not the child abuse victims in their Kingdom Halls, but the pedophiles”

    What they really do is they protect their IMAGE that they project to loyal Jehovah’s Witnesses. For the Watchtower to keep afloat, the governing body needs to keep it secret how elders, who are said to be assigned by The Holy Spirit, have handled child abuse cases. The Catholic Church lost loyal Catholics when news broke of priests’ disloyalty to the children. The governing body fear the same, I am sure.

    They are protecting the Watchtower. I think that to say that they are protecting the pedophiles is inflammatory. Rabble-rousing causes JWs to stick closer to Jehovah. And who owns Jehovah? The governing body does.

    It is my opinion that the “real problem” is that the Jehovah’s Witness’s governing body sacrifices JW children for their image and not for the pedophiles, which is a ridiculous notion that anyone would do that on purpose.

    • I’m sorry but I disagree. If you watch the testimony of the elders at the Australian Royal Commission, they were outright angry at the victims of pedophilia. It can be difficult to think that people would protect those heinous criminals, but they told a victim to show “respect” to her abusing, raping father. That private elder’s meeting had nothing to do with their “image,” this was about protecting his position as her father and, in turn, the fact that he was raping his own daughters. They protect pedophiles because they have no feelings whatsoever for the victims and elders are concerned about their position and authority above all else, whether it affects their image or not.They’re angry at victims because it’s easier to get angry at them than it is to show compassion and then actually do something they need you to do, and especially when the accused is one of your own. I understand you’re saying that they’re not purposely maintaining a child prostitution ring, but while their motivation may often be to protect their image, their actions are to protect pedophiles.

      JWs will run to the Watchtower no matter what, we can’t and shouldn’t always censor information and the truth because of their persecution complex. That’s giving in to emotional blackmail. JWs need to stand up like adults and see the truth about their religion; I don’t need to hide that truth because their feelings might get hurt. The victims are more important to me than the JWs who cry when those stories are told.

      • Except that this is part of court records, entered by a judge and which the public can access. You can also check the news story linked above which isn’t some apostate website with an agenda. It would be nice if JWs would stop assuming every bad story about them is just lying propaganda.

    • Court records state:

      “The court orders monetary sanctions of $2,000 per day for every day that Watchtower does not produce responsive documents and an additional $2,000 per day for every day that Watchtower does not search for responsive documents. In view of the acknowledged substantial net worth of Defendant, the court determines that the total daily amount of sanctions of $4,000 per day should be sufficient to determine if Defendant will comply with the discovery order and is not overly harsh.”

      The news story linked above also states that it’s $4000 per day total.

    • James Lloyd Evans (John Cedars) who writes on the JW Survey website hasn’t always been very accurate in the information he presents to his readers. He told his readers it was OK for him to illegally copy and distribute for profit the book Crisis of Conscience when he knew he wasn’t allowed to. What does James Evans care that the monetary amount is $4,000/day not $2,000/day. He doesn’t care. His reporting is juvenile at best, trashy at worst. You are better off not reading his gossip rag as you don’t know if he is giving you the true story or not. .

  4. I believe this wholeheartedly after what I’ve seen at the meetings and out on service when I was a JW. They try to fool people all in the name of God. Well, I’m a God fearing person and I can’t help but wonder how God feels about it.

    • We know that Jehovah is on our side no matter want that is not a problem in Jehovah hand so He will solve that problem and you will come to know that Jehovah witnesses are tru religion don’t just believe want people said and we know that a lot people there don’t love Jehovah witnesses that why there are bringing a lot of cases to them but we will continue doing want we are doing Jehovah is in our side and we will continue praying to him for the help I said that because I’m one of Jehovah witnesses. The way that guy Joy Says is not true you don’t even know Jehovah witnesses the way they are we don’t fool people the way you think

      • JW don’t need people “that don’t love them” as you said to give them problems, THEY DO THAT TO THEMSELVES! When you run into people that seem to dislike them, it’s probably because they’ve experienced their BS just as I did. Knowing all of God’s qualities like I do, would you expect me to believe that Jehovah’s Holy Spirit choose the elders. That is bringing reproach on Jehovah right there. The only thing most elders care about is their authority, money and how many favors they can get people to do for them. They try to scare people into not questioning them. They are corrupt! It’s disgusting because while they are enjoying their position they tell the lowly JW’s to live modestly and serve Jehovah because Jesus will return any day. I believe Jesus will return, but no one knows when and they have no business acting like it’s happening tomorrow. They treat the anointed at watchtower as if they have inside information and that’s a bold faced lie! My experience tells me most of JW’s are hypocrites and sadly, maybe you will one day find that out.

  5. WTBTS is part of the larger unit trying to usher in the New World Order. As such, they are privy to inside info on future plans of the elite. The globe is coming under more n more of a police state under the tyranny of current elite control governments. Maybe they are on to something. Too bad their fallen angel Jehovah isn’t really on their side.

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