Trey Bundy (REVEAL) reports that a panel of judges in Philadephia (USA) ruled that the Watchtower Society and its attorneys used “abusive tactics” to try to delay a trial where they faced charges of covering up facts in a case filed in 2013 by Stephanie Fessler. Fessler claims she was sexually abused 30 to 50 times from the ages of 14 to 16 by a middle-aged Jehovah’s Witness woman in another congregation.
This is not the first time a judge has taken issue with the Watchtower’s tactics in court. In two California cases, judges issued default judgments to plaintiffs because the Watchtower simply refused to cooperate by producing documents and their own witnesses to defend their actions.
Fessler’s attorney, Jeff Fritz, said Watchtower policies “enabled” her abuser.
“The congregation and the Watchtower had knowledge of child abuse that we contend they were obligated to report to law enforcement and child welfare authorities. They admit that they had knowledge of it, and they admit that they didn’t report it. As a result, she was subject to continued abuse.”
Judge Patricia Jenkins referred to the Watchtower and other defendants as “the Congregations” in her comment:
“The facts strongly suggest that the motion to transfer venue was the product of bad faith collaboration between the Congregations and the four York County witnesses.”