In 2013, a former member of the Linda Vista, California, congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Osbaldo Padron, filed a lawsuit against the religion for allowing a known pedophile, Gonzalo Campos, back into the congregation. Padron was one of many children who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Campos.
The court ordered the Watchtower to produce certain documents for the case; the Watchtower refused, so the court ordered them to pay $13. 5 million because of their failure to comply.
The Watchtower appealed, saying that the judge should not have handed down the judgment, but should have given them less severe sanctions. Last year, the appeals court agreed, saying that a less severe sanction might impel the Watchtower to turn over those documents. That court decided to fine Watchtower $4000 per every day that they refused to turn over those documents, as I reported on this page.
As I bring out in that post, $4000 per day sounds like a lot, but counting just business days, that would be $20,000 per week on average, or just over $1 million per year. This isn’t necessarily out of the reach for a wealthy publishing company like the Watchtower, and especially when you consider that the documentation the court is seeking may open them up to additional lawsuits.
This is also what the Watchtower wanted; at just over $1 million per year, it would take about 13 years for them to pay the same amount as the original judgment.
Despite that, on October 11 of this year, the Watchtower filed another appeal, “to argue that the trial court was wrong to issue daily sanctions — exactly what they had argued for … just months prior.” (Please see this news story.)
In plain English:
- Watchtower was ordered to pay a lump sum of $13.5 million.
- They didn’t like that, and asked for smaller, daily sanctions instead.
- They got that, having to pay the $4000 per day, or just about $1 million per year.
- The Watchtower then flip-flopped on their own legal argument, and said that they shouldn’t be facing daily sanctions.
If that sound confounding, the judge in the case agrees:
“You can’t have it both ways,” [Justice Richard] Huffman said during argument. “[The Lopez] ruling has come around to bite you and now you’re saying, ‘not fair, not fair.’ You were headed in one direction before and now you’re headed another way. It’s a breathtaking position to listen to.”
The legal flip-flopping on their own argument is bad enough, but the obvious bottom line is that Watchtower is arguing for everything except for protecting the victims under their roofs. They fight the victims in court, and fight against releasing records that could implicate other pedophiles.
They fight against lump sum judgments, then fight the smaller daily sanctions.
They fight for anything and everything, except their victims. They fight the victims in court harder than they do the pedophiles who want to stay in the religion.
I’m no legal expert, but in my opinion, if you’re tired of having to pay for the child sex abuse that happens in your religion, there’s a simple solution; put a stop to the child sex abuse. No more court cases, no more legal fees, no more judgments, no more sanctions.
I would mention that there would also be no more victims having their entire lives stolen, but it seems as if this is the least of Watchtower’s concerns.
The court has 90 days to make their ruling on this appeal, so I’ll try to stay updated. Please use the subscribe buttons on the right to get notified of new posts.
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