The Watchtower released an official public statement about the $28 million jury verdict awarded to a former Jehovah’s Witness in California. The court found that the Watchtower Society, the North Fremont Kingdom Hall (CA), and Jehovah’s Witness Jonathan Kendrick shared liability in connection with the sexual abuse experienced by a nine-year old girl in the mid 1990s.
For Immediate Release
June 20, 2012
Jehovah’s Witnesses to appeal jury verdict
in California case
NEW YORK—Jehovah’s Witnesses will appeal the decision of a California jury in a court case involving alleged acts of child abuse.
The jury rendered a multimillion-dollar damage award to a woman who claimed that she was molested as a child by a member of a local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. At trial, the plaintiff claimed that the policies of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society contributed to the alleged abuse. “We respectfully disagree with the jury’s decision. This is the first time that an organization was found responsible for the alleged misdeeds of a member who held no position of leadership or authority,” states James McCabe, an attorney representing Watchtower in the case. “We are very sorry for whatever harm this young lady may have suffered. However, the organization is not responsible. We now look to the Court of Appeals for a thorough review of this case.”
J. R. Brown, a spokesman at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, commented: “The fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts is well-known. The individual members of any organization must ultimately bear the responsibility for their own actions, particularly when the acts are so flagrantly against the morals and principles of the organization and society.”
J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5600
There are many personal stories that describe how the Watchtower handles child abuse complaints. I’ll respond in more depth on this subject in a future article.