perhaps , it may be a good idea
to send a note of interest and support to
Ms Laurie Patton.
She may benefit from background information such as this line from the letter to elders.
TO ALL BODIES OF ELDERS July 1, 1989 Page 3
B. Child Abuse
Many states have child abuse reporting laws. When elders receive reports of physical or sexual abuse of a child, they should contact the Society's Legal Department immediately. Victims of such abuse need to be protected from further danger.-See "If the Worst Should Happen," AYl.Qk..e.1- January 22, 1985, page 8.
C. Search Warrants and Subpoenas
1. A search warrant is a court order authorizing the police to search premises to locate evidence that may be used in a criminal prosecution. No elder should ever consent to the search of a Kingdom Hall or any other place where confidential records are stored. How- ever, armed with a search warrant the police do not need consent and may even use force to accomplish their task. Likely before obtaining a search warrant, the police or other governmental officials will
make inquiries regarding confidential records, make request to obtain the records, or indicate that they will seek a search warrant if the elder(s) involved does not cooperate. In any such situation, the Society's Legal Department should be called immediately.
At any time an elder is confronted with a search warrant (whether given advance notice or not) , the elder should first ask to read the warrant. After reading it he should ask if he can call for legal guidance and then call the Society's Legal Department. If for some reason the Legal Department cannot be contacted, the elders involved should make every effort to obtain the assistance of a local attorney for the purpose of protecting the confide ; lity of the records. It may be impossible to stop determined officers from conducting the search authorized by the warrant. Conscientious elders will want to do all they reasonably and peaceably can to preserve the confidentiality of the congregation in harmony with the principle set out in Acts 5:29.
2. Subpoenas are demands for records or for the appearance or for the appearance of an individual at a trial or deposition to give testimony. Subpoenas may be issued by a court or in some cases by a governmental agency or an attorney. If an elder receives a subpoena, he should contact the Society's Legal Department immediately. Never turn over records, notes, documents, or reveal any confidential matter sought by subpoena without receiving direction from the Legal Department.
D. Crimes and Criminal Investigations
In some cases the elders will form judicial committees to handle alleged wrongdoing that also could constitute a violation of Caesar's criminal laws (e.g., theft, assault, etc.). Generally, a secular investigation into a matter that is a concern to the congregation should not delay conducting a judicial hearing. To avoid entanglement with the secular authorities who may be investigating the same matter, the strictest confidentiality (even of the fact that there is a committee) must be maintained.
While this is a local case, the call I am sure was made in compliance with this letter. If this is true, the WTBTS , should be on trial as they ACTED as legal counsel to the elders.