San Diego: Jose Lopez Abuse Case “Settled”

Dorian Hargrove of the San Diego Reader reported on January 12, 2018 that “…A lawsuit is now settled between a former victim of sexual abuse and Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Irwin Zalkin, Jose Lopez’s attorney, did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication of Hargrove’s article.

The court’s website describes the case status as being defined as a “conditional settlement” and the terms and conditions have not been made available to the public. There is no word yet whether Padron’s case has also been settled. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

José Lopez filed his lawsuit back in 2012. Gonzalo Campos, an elder in the Linda Vista Kingdom Hall, molested him and several other young children who were members of that Jehovah’s Witness congregation.  Campos, who fled to Mexico to escape criminal charges,  admitted to committing the acts involving Lopez and another victim while giving testimony in one of the cases.

According to the San Diego Reader  “…five other alleged victims sued the Watchtower and Bible and Tract Society of New York, the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, over the molestation by Campos and the Watchtower’s refusal to act.”

That case settled for an undisclosed amount in 2012, the same year that Lopez filed his lawsuit and a year before another victim, Osbaldo Padron, filed his. In 2015, a state court judge ruled that the Watchtower had failed to cooperate with discovery in the Lopez case. The judge awarded a $13.5 million judgment in favor of Lopez.

The Watchtower later appealed the decision and managed to get the decision rescinded and promised to produce the requested documents.

Meanwhile, a fight over documents was also occurring in Padron’s case, the one filed shortly after Lopez’s lawsuit. At issue was Watchtower’s refusal to turn over a letter from headquarters that asked for the names of alleged sexual abusers in the church. The Linda Vista Kingdom Hall elders had previously released other documents which showed the congregation and Watchtower headquarters were aware that Campos had sexually assaulted young boys and a girl – but still considered him eligible to return to the congregation.

In 1999, one of the elders involved in the case wrote to Watchtower’s New York headquarters sharing their opinion of Campos:

“In our meeting with him, he said he was very repentant for what he did. He stated that he wanted to return to Jehovah. He is willing to face the victims and ask their forgiveness. He now wants to obey Jehovah. Before, when he would speak to people on the platform he would not meditate on what he was doing. Although he needed to confess, he felt shameful and had fear of mankind. He would deceive himself thinking that he could continue serving as an elder. Now he realized that he could not change without help. Ever since his expulsion, he has not abused anyone. He has read articles of the publications regarding his sin. He says he does not see or read pornographic information. He stated that ever since expulsion he has worked on having a relationship with Jehovah and the expulsion has served to strengthen him spiritually. He does not miss meetings, and he even takes notes of the program. He also said that he is willing to continue accepting Jehovah’s discipline.”

While the two sides continued to fight over discovery in the Lopez case, another judge issued sanctions against the Watchtower for refusing to turn over documents in the Padron case. The Watchtower also appealed that decision.

In reports previously published by the Reader, in November 2017 an appellate court rejected the appeal, sending the case back to state court and keeping the $4000-per-day sanctions in place.

Padron’s case, apparently unsettled, will likely be heading back to state court. A hearing has been scheduled for March 2018. However, attorneys for Lopez and Watchtower agreed to settle the Lopez case.  

Lopez’s attorney, Irwin Zalkin, did not respond to the reporter’s request for comment prior to the publication of the San Diego Reader article. 


San Diego: Jose Lopez Abuse Case “Settled” — 12 Comments

  1. Leopards do not get rid of their spots. Garden variety nutcase sex offenders are crazy beyond repair and redemption and always have the desire to harm women and children. When they are caught, they just hone their skills such as silencing their victims through threats of raping and killing them, their family, and friends or they take the step down to murder. All the elders need to take courses in psychology 1A, and abnormal psychology, and administration of justice, and criminal law so they better understand this societal termite instead of ganging up on all the victims, telling their friends and family to dump them and side with the sex offender, and stop siding with misogynistic sociopaths. It is high time the “brothers” aka “friends” ditch their perverted empathy for sex offenders, follow the laws of the land (“pay things to Caesar”). This is possible if they educate themselves, not if they want to stay stuck in the dark ages and want to relate to these perverts! Women and children are not safe in mens clubs disguised as churches. They have absolutely no public platform to be heard.

  2. Rachele K….Amen to all you said! I wanted to barf as I read the elders view of Campos! Good Lord…they never learn! And always believe the abusive one! Gb of…Hello? Duh!

    • Hi Sharon! Thank you! I have always called a spade a spade. Much to JW men’s dismay. I guess it is easier to demonize and shun women and children than a male sexual predator that might be giving a portion of his income to the Kingdom Hall to further his “advances from bad to worse” and blind and silence those in charge.

  3. Sharon, I think males (not men) who side with sex offenders have junk in their trunk. It is quite possible they have committed similar crimes against humanity perpetuating this cycle of abuse. So many elders and “brothers,” which seem to outnumber Catholic priests, are being exposed for being psychotic and dangerous freaks of nature. I believe 2 to 3 elders would watch a sex offender in action, still continue to demonize his victims, and/or help bury their bodies. After reading a leaked document I am horrified that they told elders in a congregation in Florida not to report a man to the police that committed murders along with other crimes because they did not want his wife to find out because it might ruin their marriage. However, they wanted to disfellowship him for smoking pot on the testimony of one (1) witness! Lovely? Not! All that fake talk about them laying down their lives for us is a crock of sh–!

  4. Correction:…that admitted to elders he “committed murders along with other crimes law enforcement had no knowledge of” and as a result the Governing Body in New York did not think it was necessary that the elders turn him into the police.

  5. In Florida, there is no statute of limitations on murder. If the nut job committed serial rapes along with murders he would most likely get the death penalty in that state. Florida along with Texas is known for exterminating societal termites.

    • It would be in the state and county that he was issued a gag order. The way a gag order works is this: When the victim received his/her money awarded to them from the Watchtower Society by the courts, he/she cannot ever speak/write about the case or they will be sued for all the money back by the Watchtower Society.

  6. In the congregations of the Witnesses if any member commits adultery, fornication, pedophilia or rape, he or she is confronted by elders who using their Bibles will adjudicate the matter and he or she can be excommunicated. Which other churches, as a matter of policy, do this?

    • Harold Flemings, In my experience five women/children were attacked by a “brother” who the elderly elders knew as a child. What can I say other than he was in the in crowd and he was born with a penis! The sex offender would not admit to them what he had done. He raped me at gunpoint. Five females were labeled “crazy, slanderer, having false memories, bad association, apostate.” Two of which were his own daughters as they each turned 13. The elders would not take into consideration five testimonies from female victims. However, we were told that “we needed 2 to 3 preferably male Jehovah’s Witnesses to watch our rapes, not report them to law enforcement (this would make them part of the crime in a court of law), but call the elder-body right away. This is what really happens. If you still honestly believe what you just said, all I can say is I wish I lived in your fishbowl.

  7. Are these elders seriously under educated, being fed stupid pills or what?!!! LOL! Making meetings, taking notes during meetings, studying, praying, and pretending to be Christian is exactly what a sociopath does in order to get back where he has free reign over mute and powerless women and children that he knows will be demonized and shunned by the elders and the “friends” even more so than himself. This is so ridiculous!

  8. Hi Sharon! Thank you! I have always called a spade a spade. Much to JW men’s dismay. I guess it is easier to demonize and shun women and children (who have absolutely no right to speak out in the congregation) than a male sexual predator that might be giving a portion of his income to the Kingdom Hall to further his “advances from bad to worse” and blind and silence those in charge.

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