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Why the Watchtower Society has Been Punished over the Candace Conti Child Abuse Case

Submitted by Jaymes on June 20, 2012 - 7:13 am 7 Comments

Candace Conti was sexually molested as a nine year old by a fellow Jehovah's Witness, Jonathan KendrickThe Watchtower Society has been ordered to pay up to $2.8 million in compensatory damages and as much as $21 million in punitive damages if their planned appeal fails over the Candace Conti child abuse case.

How did the Watchtower Society find itself in this mess? Candace Conti was molested by Jonathan Kendrick, a Jehovah’s Witness and fellow Freemont North (California) congregation member in the mid-nineties when Candace was just 9 years old.

Kendrick is now on the sex offenders register, but is also a dedicated Jehovah’s Witness who is in good standing within the Watchtower Organisation. Candace wasn’t the only child this monster had molested. In 2004, Kendrick was convicted of sexually abusing yet another child.

Jonathan Kendrick sexually abused Candace Conti

Take a look at this beast. Jonathan Kendrick is a child molester and a current Jehovah’s Witness

Hold on a second! If it was this evil man that molested Candace, why on earth has the Californian Justice System found the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society legally responsible? The answer is simple, although I personally find it deeply distressing. The jury found the Watchtower Organisation’s handling of child abuse matters unlawful and it boils down to these two main reasons:

  1. The Two Witness Rule
  2. Contacting the Watchtower Society First

The Two Witness Rule

If a child molester denies wrongdoing, which is frequently the case in most child abuse cases, the Jehovah’s Witness elders will only acknowledge that abuse has taken place if someone other than the child witnessed the actual abuse happen. Elders are instructed by the Watchtower Society’s secret Shepherd the Flock of God book (which is only given to elders) to leave the matter in Jehovah’s hands. Basically, the Watchtower Society is openly telling the elders to do nothing.

Page 72 of the Shepherd the Flock of God book discusses child abuse

It doesn’t stop there either. Elders have been known to bully victims and their families into not telling others what has happened, and go as far as threatening these ones with being disfellowshipped on the grounds of slander if they try to warn other families about a child abuser that’s present within the congregation.

Click here for more information on the Jehovah’s Witness Two Witness Rule.

Contacting the Watchtower Society First

Elders are told to immediately contact the branch office if they are informed about a child abuse allegation. This is against the law! State authorities should always be the first ones to know when a crime has been committed. No matter how much they view themselves above the standard Jehovah’s Witness, elders are NOT qualified to investigate issues as sensitive as child abuse – only the police are trained and have the relevant experience to do this. The Watchtower Society wrongly insists that the branch office should be the first to know so that they can micro-manage the situation and ensure the two witness rule is applied.

Elders contact the local branch office before the police if a child abuse case is brought before them

With the stance the Watchtower Organisation has been taking, it’s been mooted that thousands of children have been abused over the years. The Candace Conti case is unique as it’s the first time the Watchtower Organisation has been taken to court. Normally, they settle everything outside of the courtroom doors. But where does this settlement money come from? From the donations given by Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you’ve recently donated money to the Watchtower Society, how do you feel now that you know your donations are paid to silence child abuse victims?

Candace, you’re our new hero! You weren’t interested in the money – all you wanted was for the truth to come out and for justice to be done. You turned down the Watchtower Society’s settlement cheques and saw this court case through, no matter how painful the reliving of these terrible experiences were. Your actions have now set a precedent and we encourage all child abuse victims to come forward and not accept the settlements the Watchtower will throw at you.

If you’re a Jehovah’s Witness and have children, are you happy to know that your little ones could be abused by a member of your congregation? If the abuser doesn’t confess, NOTHING will happen. Right now, there might be a child abuser in your congregation. He may be an elder, a ministerial servant or a simple publisher. The fact of the matter is that you will never know.

Before I end this article, I would like you to open your bibles with me to Romans, chapter 13. We’ll read verses 1 and 2:

1 Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. 2 Therefore he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will receive judgment to themselves.

Open your eyes.

  • Mama06

    I came across this site while researching the JW’s to find a way to disentangle my friend from their grasp & I’ve learned quite a bit from it. I just wanted to clarify that the “authorities” refered to in the verses out of Romans are government leaders & not self-proclaimed/appointed rulers of religious sects. So, those verses (if read from a Christian translation of the Bible) should stand to support the point that a victim of a crime should go to the police or some other agency of the government who represents the authority that has set those laws into place to protect people. Also, it would serve as a warning to those who would commit crimes (especially heinous crimes that involve hurting children) that they are subject to the system of judgement under the government (“authorities”) in which they live (v. 4 “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason.” -NIV) & not be protected by cult minded leaders who have their own agendas. I know that the JW’s have their own version of the Bible (the New World Translation, I think) which they have altered to fit their ideologies & it is also filtered through their own publications & propaganda. I pray that any organization, religious or otherwise, who covers up or excuses the abuse of children would be exposed & defeated & the individuals are held accountable for their crimes.

  • Daryl

    After reading the testimony in the Candace Conti Case she was untruthful. First she said it was hundreds of times, then later changed her story to a few times. No one other then a total of one former JW said they saw Kendrick working with candace in FS, or sitting on his lap. Every other witness including parents said they never saw her alone with Kendrick. And the biggest reason why we no her story is false. On the stand she related that one time Kendrick took her home after FS and put his hand down her pants. Down her what? PANTS. Everyone know JW girls/women never where pants in FS.

  • Mark

    Looking at this, in calling the branch you say that this is against the law, actually, it is not. Lawyers working at the branch can be consulted for direction as laws differ from state to state. You are always allowed to call your lawyers first – in the case, the branch has the legal department that puts you in contact with a lawyer. (at least this is what I have been told.)

  • Pingback: What You Don’t Know About Jehovah’s Witnesses And Pedophiles | Michigan Skeptics Association()

  • Josh

    Dear Sir / Ma’am ,

    I am writing this letter not to judge or condemn anyone it is very disturbing for any parent to go through such things however most important is the childs welfare, you do bring out some very good points regarding respect for authorities , i know about 14 years ago a friend of mine 2 son’s were abused by a brother that was a pioneer in the congregation, the elders met with him of course but again because of the 2 witness rule again how on earth can you get 2 together to witness such a hanus crime however if 2 people were to come forward with similar circumstances that is still considered 2 witnesses even though they may be 2 different occurances. And this is what happened in this case in fact there were actually 4 different individuals that came forward with there own accounts involving the same brother’s wrong doing, this should of been enough to merit a disfellowshipping. But for some reason the brother still wasn’t disfellowshipped or the incident reported to the police which made me furious when i came to learn about it. Firstly because that is a crime and should be handled by the approiate authorities and second because this individual was able to continue although he did lose his privileges such as pioneering, he was able to move to the neighbouring congregation and got caught out there so again if the approiate action was taken to inform the police further incidents could of been prevented. Haveing said all that though i can to some extent understand why the governing body is saying there not resposible because they didn’t commit the wrong doing its kind of like the police arresting the wife if her husband commits a murder if she is totally innocent of the crime . On the other side of the coin if the Governing body were directing elders not to go to the police that might be a different scenario . Going back to my story regarding the incident in the cong i was in about 2 years later we had a letter read out by the P.O. from the Australia branch which specifically stated that anyone who was a victum of any kind of child abuse should report it to the police. So sometimes that problem could either be Elders trying to cover up something which has serious implications and if it could be proven they would be removed for doing such things. Yes it does look very bad unfortunately these things can reflect badly and does bring reproach upon our holy God Jehovah. The Bible has never hidden wrong doing , there are countless references to individuals that have been serving God and turned to wrong doing even such ones as King David, King Solomon if fact nearly all the Kings of Isreal did some really bad things with the exception of Josiah , does the fact that they all did bad mean that we shouldn’t worship the true God? What it does mean is we can learn from there bad examples and try and improve . And thats certainly what i hope the Governing Body will do .

  • http://www.JehovahsWitnessBlog.com Teeny

    Wow Richard! Thanks ever so much for clearing that up for me. I’ll beg Jehovah for forgiveness and close down this site…

    On a more serious note, I’ll answer your comment in a new article tomorrow.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Regards,
    Jaymes

  • http://www.elijahs-armageddon.com Richard Schiller

    The scriptures demanding two witnesses does not refer to two witnesses of any crime. It refers to creating two witnesses to the hearing of the matter. In other words, the matter is put into discussion between criminal and victim with a judge and two witnesses of what the judge is hearing. That makes 3 people making a decision. This doesnt mean a judge and 2 witnesses will be true and just and not equally as bad as the criminal justifying the criminal. BUT nor does it mean you are stuck victimized unless two people were watching the crime. The WT publications have drifted in and out of Jehovah’s truth on this one, first seeing it correctly interpreted, and then seeing it has forcing victims to have witnesses. Witnesses can see a criminal deny his crime (as an innocent person will also deny the crime he didnt do), but such witnesses will also hear the story change upon 2nd and 3rd discussions of it. Such witnesses will also see the criminal start to blame the victim or accuse the victim of being a liar. There is alot of role-play in any court case that all courts are guilty of. There is more hate against the JWs not because they are always innocent like JOB was, but because they despise times guilt was clearly true (as was the case with high pirest Eli’s sons taking virginity from all women coming to the temple). The atitude of THIS TIME WE GOT THEM occurs both with atitudes toward the innocent like Jesus, not just those actually guilty.