This time it’s Australia.
The Watchtower Society is facing another major court case that will be necessary to resolve a $3 Billion (Australian dollars) class action lawsuit. This may be the most serious battle they’ve waged in decades because they are actually facing serious criminal charges in a trial court in the State of Victoria, Australia.
Filed on behalf of over 6,000 children, this class action investigation may unveil over 14,000 alleged serious criminal breaches of Australian state and federal mandatory child protection laws over the past four years. Charged with either ignoring or violating the law are elders and ministerial servants associated with Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Victoria State Government’s “Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religions and other Organisations” is expected to hold a public hearing about this in early 2013.
Beginning in early December, Norwegian newspapers, magazines and television station have decided to take on the powerful Watchtower Society and expose its unpleasant secrets and facts that have been unknown and hidden from the public. It is unlikely that Jehovah’s Witnesses in any country have ever seen such an onslaught of information about their religion. Historically, Jehovah’s Witnesses usually get generally positive treatments of their history and theology when they are holding conventions or dedicating new Kingdom Halls.
Candace Conti has changed all that. By taking the Watchtower Society to court, Miss Conti exposed its ineffective and law-breaking treatment of sexual offenders, particularly child abusers. Now revealed in publicly available court records widely published on several blogs and websites, the world now knows how the Watchtower instructs Kingdom Hall elders to ignore local laws – and only to take action if they get permission from Watchtower Legal or their Branch offices.
Miss Conti has been able to expose the hypocrisy of Watchtower leaders who claim to have policies in place to protect children and women – and then forces elders to use their “two witness” rules before they actually take any meaningful action against alleged or confirmed child molesters.
It appears that both the media and government authorities in Norway are taking the Watchtower to task over its protection of abusers over children in their local congregations. Read the articles for yourself.
Whitney Heichel never made it to her job as a barrista at a local Starbucks last Tuesday (October 16). Her husband Clint reported her missing within three hours after she left for work.
Police detectives arrested Jonathan Holt on Friday after interviewing him at least three times during their investigation. Holt was charged with three counts of “aggravated murder.”
Officials said Holt kidnapped Ms. Heichel as she left for work in her Ford Explorer SUV Tuesday morning. They say that evidence indicates that he killed her somewhere in Clackamas County and then disposed of her body near Larch Mountain in Multnomah County. (Parts of the city of Portland extend into Multnomah County.) However, according to the police, because the murder occurred in Clackamas County, the case will be prosecuted within that jurisdiction.
Both Ms. Heichel and Jonathan Holt were Jehovah’s Witnesses and attended meetings at the Gresham Kingdom Hall. James Vaughn, one of the elders at that Kingdom Hall, has been representing Ms. Heichel’s family, making public statements on their behalf. Police credit members of that Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation for helping them look for clues into Ms. Heichel’s disappearance.
Detectives began searching Larch Mountain on Wednesday when evidence of her vehicle was found there. Other evidence includes video taken at a local gas station and a Wal-Mart store parking lot.
Jonathan Holt was described by elder Jim Vaughn as “an irregular attendee” of the Gresham Kingdom Hall. He also stated that members of his congregation were shocked to hear that Jonathan Holt was involved in such a horrible crime. Friends and acquaintances of Holt and his family described him as “ordinary” and “never a problem.” Holt grew up in northeast Portland and attended Parkrose High School. He married his girlfriend in 2010 and lived in the same Gresham apartment complex as the Heichels.
By Barbara J. Anderson
In over 90% of child sexual abuse cases, the abuser is someone the child knows and trusts. Too often, the offenders are known to be molesters but the information is kept secret. In 1994, two children, Megan in New Jersey and Candace in California, were sexually abused by known molesters. Megan died at the hands of the convicted sexual pervert that molested her. Thankfully, Candace did not.
Local law enforcement knew where the sex offender, who would snuff out seven-year-old Megan Kanka’s life, was located, but no one told her parents that he was living across the street from them.
1994 – Megan’s Law approved
Approximately one month after Megan’s rape and murder on July 29th by Jesse Timmendequas, and primarily due to the Kanka’s public outcry, the New Jersey legislature passed Megan’s Law requiring registration and public notification of sex offenders. Since 1996, Megan’s Law has become federal law and all states have passed some form of it. Have these laws helped to prevent child molestation?
One federally funded study in 2009 determined that Megan’s law had no effect on sexual reoffenses. When informed of the study, Mrs. Kanka remarked that the purpose of the law was for parents to know where the offenders were living. “We never said it was going to stop them from reoffending.”
Jake Goldenflame, a convicted sex offender, supports the law. “Megan’s Law is not there to keep me from re-offending,” he said. “Megan’s Law is there so that you can keep me from re-offending by knowing who I am, keeping your eyes on me.”
By John Hoyle, Editor
I want to apologize to all the readers and supporters of EX-JW.com for the lack of activity on this website over the past three months. Although I’ve been very busy and spending very long hours at my computer, I am physically well and will return to editing and writing for this site and InsidetheWatchtower.com very soon.
Early in July I completed a total website redesign for author Dick Kelly (Growing Up in Mama’s Club). I’ve been Dick’s webmaster for over four years. Although his site was working fine, we both felt it had grown a bit tired. A couple of months earlier, Dick released a sequel to his first book (The Ghosts from Mama’s Club) and we wanted to properly showcase it. Both of Dick’s books are available at Amazon.com and are in the display carousel in the sidebar page right. My redesign was a departure from the norm, but the feedback has been consistently positive for the website and his new book. Check them out at RichardEKelly.com.
I was still touching up Dick’s website in mid-July when Cynthia Hampton, moderator and organizer of Ex JWs of Los Angeles, called and invited me to attend a special conference she was sponsoring in Walnut Creek, California. I jumped at the chance to meet Candace Conti, her attorney Rick Simons, and the two dozen other attendees. What a privilege it was to meet all of those great people! I enjoyed every minute that I was there listening to Candace and Rick tell their stories. I remembered to take my cameras to the event, but then left my cell phone (a Droid) behind at the meeting place. I had to turn around and race back (about 15 miles) to retrieve my phone before they all left and locked up the meeting room.
A set of eleven YouTube videos (soon on Vimeo, as well) about Candace Conti’s historic court case are now available. Access and view them by clicking on the thumbnails below.
Miss Conti and her attorney, Rick Simons of Furtado Jaspovice & Simons, A Law Corporation appeared before a group of supporters and friends in Walnut Creek, California on July 14, 2012. Two video cameras and an audio recording device were used to make a live record of the event. Those privileged to attend the private gathering all agreed that they had witnessed an amazing presentation.
If you want to learn the truth about one of the most significant legal cases of the 21st century, especially for Jehovah’s Witnesses, watch every one of the videos below and read the court transcripts (available on several websites and soon on this one as well). You will be shocked at the facts revealed.
There will be more on this subject here at Ex-JW.com within the next few days. In the meantime – WATCH AND BE AMAZED!
We encourage comments and questions. If you were (or are) a Jehovah’s Witness child abused by a member of your Kingdom Hall, please feel free to comment below or send a confidential email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to read your comments and opinions on this most important and timely subject.