During a conference on Jehovah’s Witnesses and child sex abuse, hosted by Reveal News in London on April 26, 2017, attorney Irwin Zalkin, a leading litigator against the Watchtower Corporation for their mishandling of child sex abuse cases, gave a presentation about his firm’s work. It was reported that he indicated that his firm would soon be suing the members of the religion’s governing body, collectively and as individuals, for drafting the policies that have facilitated so many cases of abuse in the religion.
However, today I had a phone conversation with Mr. Zalkin personally, and he clarified this statement a bit for me. Suing the governing body members, both individually and collectively as a group, is a legal maneuver that they are considering and working on diligently; however, as of yet, no lawsuits have actually been filed and no paperwork has been drawn up for these suits in particular.
Before you dejectedly pop those balloons you just inflated and put away the champagne, keep in mind two things:
- Legal maneuvers take time, planning, and careful forethought. Precedents need to be researched, reams of paperwork need to be read and studied, and arguments need to be carefully crafted. In many cases, you only get one chance to present that argument before the court; once your claim is rejected or you lose a lawsuit, you can’t always re-file and ask the court for a “do-over.” This is why it’s so vital to take the time needed to get things right the first time.
- We could not be in better hands than those of Irwin Zalkin and his firm. They have been nothing short of dedicated and passionate about getting justice for the victims of the Watchtower Society. That fact that he actually called me back after I left a brief message with his receptionist… me, a lowly blogger, not a paying client or national reporter of merit… shows how dedicated he is to helping anyone and everyone involved in these cases.
The Infamous Database
Another question I asked Mr. Zalkin related to the infamous database, kept at Watchtower headquarters and which should hold the names of all those congregants reported to the elders for alleged child sex abuse. My question was about the reliability of the database and what exactly is on it, as I personally have only heard of it through social media and don’t want to put faith in hearsay. His response is that they’ve managed to get some four years of records on this database from the Watchtower, although much of the information is redacted (blacked out). They are working diligently to get a copy that is not redacted and to get the entire database itself.
I’m sure there are many legal wranglings to go through to get the entire database and privacy concerns and etc., but again, we are in good hands with this firm. If anyone can get the entire database in a legal way and allow it to be made public, it would be them. All in good time.
How to Help
One question I absolutely wanted to put to Mr. Zalkin was how to help get more lawsuits filed against the Watchtower and help more victims get some measure of justice for the abuses they’ve suffered. His response was to just encourage victims to keep coming forward and talking to attorneys about their cases; his firm has offices and contacts nationwide, so they can take calls from anyone in the U.S. and discuss the potential for a lawsuit. Talking about the religion as we do is also helpful, letting the world know what’s going on behind closed doors.
I thanked Mr. Zalkin profusely for his help and would like to do so again, and also say thank you to all the attorneys and their staff working so hard to get that small measure of justice for victims, as well as organizations like the Australian Royal Commission and the UK Charity Commission; despite the falsified stories circulating about their work, the Charity Commission is still moving forward with their investigations against the Watchtower and were represented at the Reveal conference. Many thanks again to Lara Kaput from Australia for sending pics and info from the event, to Reveal News for putting it all together, to all the participants, and of course to the victims who continue to speak up against the Watchtower Corporation.
Visit the Zalkin firm website at ZalkinLaw.com.
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