Real Life Experiences
Why the Watchtower Society has Been Punished over the Candace Conti Child Abuse CaseSubmitted by Teeny on June 20, 2012 - 7:13 am 3 Comments
The 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.
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:
- The Two Witness Rule
- 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.
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.
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.
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.