Judge Orders Jehovah’s Witnesses to Turn Over Documents

The law firm of Nix Patterson Roach LLP reported on their website that a judge in charge of one of their court cases has ordered Jehovah’s Witnesses to produce and turn over withheld internal documents relating to childhood sexual abuse.

The following is the announcement as reported on the legal firm’s website [LINK] published on April 12:

On April 5, 2018, Judge James Manley of Sanders County, Montana ordered the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization to produce documents and testimony related to internal reports and investigations into the childhood sexual abuse of NPR’s two clients.

In this case, the two Plaintiffs were sexually abused as children by a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Elders in the local Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Thompson Falls, Montana were aware of the abuse and failed to report it to the police, choosing instead to handle the reports and investigations internally pursuant to Jehovah’s Witness guidelines. Their decision not to report the abuse to authorities allowed the perpetrator to remain in the congregation and continue to abuse one of the Plaintiffs.

Throughout this case, and similar childhood sexual abuse cases across the country, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have refused to produce documents related to their internal handling of reports of sexual abuse and related investigations and disciplinary actions claiming that the information is protected by the clergy-penitent privilege and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Through briefing to the court, NPR convinced the Judge that Defendants’ privilege claims were unsupported and improper under the law. The Court agreed that Defendants could not blanket everything related to their investigations in secrecy and that they must turn it over to the Plaintiffs. Often, this is the very evidence that can win or lose a case like this against a religious institution.

The case of Nunez, et al. v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, et al.  is set to go to trial in September of 2018.

The plaintiffs in this case are represented by NPR partner D. Neil Smith and associate Ross E. Leonoudakis.

This legal case is just another of a growing number of successful filings on behalf of victims of child abuse and other crimes against children of Jehovah’s Witness families throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain and western Europe. The number of filed cases is just a small portion of the total incidents of child abuse within Jehovah’s Witness congregations and families. That is the “bad news.”

The “good news” is that more of these reported cases are making their way to courts than in the past. Thankfully there are more law firms prepared to handle these cases. There are also more judges who are willing to take action and rule against the Watchtower. Local elders and other responsible leaders at all levels within the organization are now having to answer for the damage they have allowed to be inflicted upon Jehovah’s Witness youth. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of these abuse cases ever make it to court.

Thanks to NPR LLP two more Jehovah’s Witness abuse victims may have their day in court.


Comments

Judge Orders Jehovah’s Witnesses to Turn Over Documents — 5 Comments

  1. Thank God this is finally coming to light. Maybe someday soon this organization will have to pay dearly for harboring pedophiles and hurting innocent children and breaking up families not to mention having blood on their hands due yo the blood issue. My granddaughter’s father is a JW and she is going thru emotional abuse due to his warped belief system. I pray for her everyday.

  2. Sounds like Nunez’s Atty. NPR partner D. Neil Smith and associate Ross E. Leonoudakis are borrowing a page from Lopez’s attorney, Irwin The Zalkin Law Firm. The legal world is such that a success of a case often set precedents for others to follow. I would not be surprised if this case follow a similar pattern and eventual outcome.

  3. This is good news but will it happen? As far as I know, the GB still has not produced documents per a Judge’s order in a San Diego case; and that was at least a year ago or more.

  4. Tengono la mente e il cuore di milioni di persone illudendoli di un mondo migliore. Loro stessi non credono neanche in Dio altrimenti non si comporterebbero cosi. Sono gli uomini piu’ ricchi del mondo ma miseri in quanto a misericordia. Questo e’ il CD dei testimoni di Geova.

    Translation:
    They hold the mind and the heart of millions of people by deluding them of a better world. They themselves do not even believe in God otherwise they would not behave like that. They are the richest men in the world but miserable in terms of mercy. This is the CD of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  5. I have been affiliated but not baptized with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I find them to be the most persecuted Christian religion in the world. I have heard rumors of a deceased witness sexually abusing children but nothing more than rumors. I found the witnesses to be caring,dedicated and good people. They have never supported a war. That can’t be claimed by so called Christianity at large. And what about the Catholic bishops that shielded pedophile priests?

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