Utah Jehovah’s Witnesses church forced woman to listen to audio of her rape, lawsuit says
A woman is suing a Jehovah's Witnesses church in Weber County after, she says, one of its instructors repeatedly raped her when she was a minor and the organization's leadership forced her to listen to an audio recording of one of the assaults.
The woman filed the lawsuit Wednesday in 2nd District Court, accusing the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses church in Roy — as well as naming the alleged perpetrator, several church leaders and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (the religion's headquarters located in New York) — of knowingly allowing the "unfit" instructor to rise to a position of authority without warning members of his "dangerous propensities" and past sexual transgressions.
No representative of the Roy church, 1950 W. 4400 South, responded to a voicemail from The Salt Lake Tribune requesting comment Thursday.
The Tribune generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault. Because the man accused of assaulting the woman in this case has not been charged with a crime, The Tribune is not identifying him. It is not clear whether she reported the alleged incident to police, but members of the faith are encouraged to bring problems to elders in the church, rather than to outside authorities.
The girl's interactions with the instructor began in summer 2007, the lawsuit states, when she attended a movie with him. When driving her home from the theater, the instructor took her phone and told her she had to kiss him on the cheek to get it back. When she refused, he kicked her out of the car and drove off, returning a short while later to pick her up.
The purported assaults escalated from there, according to court documents, as the man three times bound the girl's wrists and ankles with duck tape, placed a sock in her mouth and covered her head with a pillowcase, leaving her alone in the backseat of his car for one to two hours each time.