Clarín – 30th September 2018
Jehovah’s Witnesses must pay $ 35 million for sexual abuse
A jury has condemned the Jehovah’s Witness Church in the United States to pay that figure to a 21-year-old girl who suffered child sexual abuse.
A jury in Montana ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses must pay $ 35 million to a victim of child sexual abuse after the leaders learned of the crime and did not report it to the authorities.
Neil Smith, a lawyer for the 21-year-old woman who accused the Jehovah’s Witnesses of abuse and cover-up , said in a statement that the jury’s decision sends a message to churches that refuse to report the abuse.
“Fortunately that message is strong enough for the organization to change its priorities so that they begin to prioritize the safety of the children so that others are not abused in the future,” Smith said.
Two women, aged 32 and 21, sued the religious group for allegedly not reporting their abuser to the authorities and only opting to temporarily expel him until he repented.
The trial began earlier this month in the city of Thompson Falls. The Montana Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Jehovah’s Witnesses to delay the trial.
The Montana case is one of the dozens of lawsuits that have been filed across the country against the religious sect in the last decade .
“It seems to be a widespread problem within Jehovah’s Witnesses,” said attorney Devin Storey, whose law firm handled many of these cases. “Less is reported than it should be.”
The decision comes months after actress Leah Remini, who won the headlines for leaving the Church of Scientology, announced plans to launch a special on abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to the Hollywood Reporter .
“Remini will produce a special for A & E that focuses on Jehovah’s Witnesses, to be broadcast during a break after the third season of the Emmy Award-winning” Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, “” the news release reported. entertainment, citing anonymous sources.
“Religion, although based on biblical teachings, has been criticized by some practices such as expelling or rejecting members who have dissident views, refusing to participate in politics or government, not celebrating birthdays or Christmas , and by multiple predictions of Armageddon that they have, obviously, still to get ahead. ”
The religious entity, meanwhile, plans to appeal the verdict, noting that the claim period has expired and that the state law exempts its clerics from reporting “internal ecclesiastical procedures on a serious sin of a member of the congregation . ” As for the fine, it is expected that it will be reviewed by a judge before it becomes effective.
* all translations provided on JWBulletin.com are for information purposes only and are sourced from automated translation services. These are not checked for accuracy. To ensure accuracy, please refer to the original language text.