Silent Lambs is reporting that the Watchtower Society has been successfully sued for a large cash payout. And actually, I’d say this news makes good old Sparlock pale in comparison. I can’t take credit for uncovering it. I learned about it from JWD on this post. The actual PDF file can be found here.

Now, here’s the big news.

An Alameda County Superior Court jury has found the Jehovah’s Witnesses legally responsible for the sexual abuse of a 9 year old former Fremont girl. The verdict, announced Wednesday June 13, found that the Elders who managed the North Fremont Jehovah’s Witness Congregation in the 1990s knew perpetrator Jonathan Kendrick had sexually molested another child, but kept his child abuse secret from the parents and families with children in the Congregation. Kendrick went on to repeatedly sexually molest Candace Conti, now 26, over a two year period, using Jehovah Witnesses activities such as door to door neighborhood soliciting as his way to secretly gain control over his young victim. Kendrick was eventually convicted in 2004 of the sexual abuse of another young girl, and is now a Registered Sex Offender in California.

Holy crap.

The key issue in the case, according to the victim’s attorney Rick Simons of Hayward, was the written policy of Watchtower New York, Inc., which instructed all Elders in Jehovah’s Witnesses Congregations in the United States to keep reports of child sex abusers within Jehovah’s Witnesses secret to avoid lawsuits. The case is believed to be the first in the nation to directly address the policy of secrecy, adopted in 1989, and still in force today.

It’s about time.

Ms. Conti stated “I once wanted to be the best Jehovah’s Witness I could be. Now I feel I’m doing more to help other children in Jehovah’s Witnesses than I ever did walking door to door to spread the ‘good news’. The jury awarded $7 million dollars in damages, and will return Thursday to deliberate on whether or not punitive damages should be awarded.

I think we can all agree with Ms. Conti’s feelings on this one.

Candace Conti spent 2 years trying to convince the Jehovah’s Witnesses, both in Southern California and in Fremont, to change the secrecy policy, but finally gave up and filed her lawsuit in 2011. “This young woman, who experienced brutal abuse as a child, could not tell anyone for several years, and has walked for many years in a nightmare of depression and isolation, has shown incredible courage in facing the powerful and secrecy laden organization that betrayed her into the hands of a monster” said Mr. Simons of his client.

Um…wow. This is the kind of news that should get someone’s attention. Of course, that doesn’t mean it actually will. In fact, I have yet to see anyone reporting on it so far.

We can do something about that. Heck, I think we should.

We need to start spreading this information as far and wide as we did with Sparlock. Because people deserve to know the truth. Contact major and minor news outlets to make sure they take notice, guys. It will not only draw attention to the pedophilia cases within the organization (this is hardly the first) but it will encourage people to question the Society’s practices generally. Maybe even spur big media to look at other practices, like shunning.

More information can be found here as well. Click on case summary (about halfway down the page) and type in case number HG11558324. The case has been dubbed “Doe VS The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, I.”

UPDATE: News is starting to spread about this. At least videos are starting to appear on YouTube about it. Note, once again, that the pedophile problem is nothing new. You can find other videos from past transgressions on YouTube and elsewhere online. Why not look for them if this is all new to you?

About The Atheist Geek

The Atheist Geek is a former Jehovah's Witness turned secular humanist. He's a lifelong sci-fi geek and a writer wannabe.
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  1. Dan says:

    Thanks for reporting on this. I agree that this could be big news, especially when the jury decides how much the punitive damages will be.

  2. Sparlock was an opportunity to make the world aware that there are serious problems within the WTS and that the culture of JWs isn’t just about average, harmless Christians who like to knock on doors. This is a far greater opportunity than Sparlock was. The Caleb DVD was merely creepy. This is genuinely damaging, evil, and screwed up on a whole deeper level.

  3. Valerie Olson says:

    This is shockingly similar to my experience as a child in the 1960’s whose mother studied in home with several members of Jehovahs Witnesses for a few years.
    In JW theology, (at least back then), there would be 144,000 who would reign with Jehovah in heaven and the rest of the JWs would inherit the earth. Non- believers would cease to exist. My mother became acquanted with a man who claimed to be one of the last of the 144,000 destined to reign in heaven. He invited my (single) mom, two younger sisters and I over to watch television at his home a few times since we didn’t have one. He found a few occaisions to fondle me in the dark while we were there. I was eight years old. My mom became suspicious and questioned me. I was embarrased and said nothing happened. This also happened in California. We stopped seeing him after that, and I don’t recall his name. It can’t be the same man, so this seems to have been in the organization for a long time.

  4. No, it isn’t new. Silent Lambs is an organization that is trying to put a stop to it. The fact that an org rose up for this specific cause against this specific religion is an indication of how bad it is all by itself, really.

    I’m sorry to hear about the things that happened to you. There seems to be plenty of cases like it, so it certainly doesn’t have to be the same person involved with this one. But whenever you have an org or a culture that values authority too highly, then you’ll have problems with people taking advantage of those systems. Unfortunately, power in the WTS only flows in one direction. Elders will always win against average Witnesses. Unless they break the rules by taking their case outside of that system, as this person did.

    Good for her. I hope your life is better now.

  5. Helen Hail says:

    Will you be following the appeal of the JW’s against the judgement?
    There are plenty of Brits who are as interested as I am and so far the case hasn’t hit our newsdesks (deplorable).

    Regards, Helen.

    • Definitely. Right now, there seems to be a lot of garbage swirling around about it. I almost didn’t even post the claim that their assets were being frozen because it sounded hard to believe. People are batting this stuff back and forth at the moment.

  6. Spade says:

    This news troubles me. Wasn’t Candace Conti originally supposed to receive 28 million dollars?? It seems like the Watchtower stalled the case, sugarcoated it, and whined and begged until they lessened the amount to a measly 11 million.

    True, the money doesn’t really matter, (especially when the JW’s reputation is sure to deteriorate because of these past events.) But I am a bit troubled that even a major case like this is unable to stop these religious nutcases.

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