Lawyers Defending Abused JWs Call Meeting

by Kenneson 5 Replies latest jw friends

  • Kenneson

    A town hall meeting in Red Bluff, California was hosted yesterday by lawyers representing victims of sexual abuse. The topic was JW elder James Henderson.

    See "Plaintiff's attorneys talk about sex offender" at,1413,134~26762~1544655,00.html

  • Joyzabel

    Thanks Kenneson, you are always so good about posting articles that are important to us.

    BTW, did you notice???? and may I be the first to congratulate you!!! Your emperorship!

    KennesonLawyers Defending Abused JWs Call Meeting
    Post 2001 of 2001
    since 08-Jan-02

  • Joyzabel

    Plaintiffs' attorneys talk about sex offender
    By C. JEROME CROW-DN Staff Writer
    A handful of people attended last night's town hall meeting at the Red Bluff Community/Senior Center hosted by lawyers representing victims of sexual abuse who have filed civil lawsuits against the North Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Red Bluff and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York.

    The meeting was cosponsored by the Texas law firm of Love and Norris and the Sacramento firm of Nolan Saul and Brelsford. The two firms have filed four separate suits against members of Jehovah's Witnesses, two of which were filed in Red Bluff last Thursday.

    The victims allege that they were sexually abused while growing up within the congregation. One of the suits named James Henderson, a convicted sex offender specifically. Henderson, 76, was previously convicted in 1995 to four years and four months on criminal charges of oral copulation with someone under 18, according to Tehama County Court records. A registered sex offender, Henderson has since been released.

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    At the time of the abuse he was also a local leader within the congregation, said attorney Bill Brelsford. He told the small group that Henderson was also the man who an unidentified person, who allegedly abused the other two victims in Tehama County, reported to in the congregation. Brelsford claimed that at one point the person who allegedly abused the two confessed to Henderson, but was sent away.

    The charges were filed on behalf of Tim W., 25; Julianne Wimberley Guiterrez, 31; and Joshua Wimberley, 28. The suit cites 12 complaints and demands a trial by jury.

    Henderson was convicted for abuse against Tim W., whose last name isn't revealed in the suit. Brelsford said that the firm has filed for an order to reveal the name of the person allegedly responsible for abusing the other two plaintiffs.

    The firm is also handling a similar suit against Jehovah's Witnesses in the Woodland area. Love and Norris maintains a web site with information for those who claim to be victims of abuse within the Jehovah's Witness organization There is a form provided for those wishing to report abuse.

    When contacted on Monday a representative from the North Congregation would not comment on the suit because it is in litigation, however, he did stress the importance that Jehovah's Witnesses put in protecting children from abuse.

    "We are very concerned with the well being of the children within our congregation and do everything possible to protect them," said Robin Shelburn, an elder, on Monday. "The protection of our children is one of our top priorities."

    None of the victims who spoke Tuesday night are presently active Jehovah's Witnesses.

    "The purpose of this meeting was to find information and ask the community affected for help," said Norris. "We aren't here to be offensive."

    Norris said that she has heard the same story over and over and that's what pushed her to begin this.

    "I've talked to over 1,500 victims myself and their stories are very similar," she said. "The problem is that things don't get done until they are made public."

    Norris added that she understands that many may think this is a vendetta against the faith.

    "I'm not motivated by any animosity towards Jehovah's Witnesses, but something has to be done," she said. "The problem is I hear over and over that 'we follow God's law, not mans law.' With that perspective anyone on the outside looks like Babylon to those in the inside."

    According to the official media web site of Jehovah's Witnesses, the faith recognizes that there is a problem and states that child abuse is "abhorrent."

    "Our procedures have been refined over time," the statement said. "Over the years we have noted areas where our policies could be strengthened, we have followed through ... We do not believe that our system is perfect but we have a strong Bible-based policy on child abuse."

    Jehovah's Witnesses have dealt with the subject in depth in several articles in their publication "The Watchtower" and "Awake." They have sent instructions to local leaders encouraging them to comply to local laws regarding reporting abuse and confirming victims' rights to report abuse, according to the website.

    However it's what Witnesses refer to as the Biblical policy that states, "No single witness should raise up against a man respecting any error or any sin ... At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good," taken from the New World Translation of Deuteronomy 19:15, that Norris finds troublesome.

    "In my 13 years of practicing law I've never met a child molester that did it with witnesses present," said Norris.

    The statement from Jehovah's Witnesses office of public information adds that if a man is found to be a child molester he would never qualify for a responsible position within the congregation. "We take such action because we are concerned with maintaining Bible standards and protecting our children."

  • Big Tex
    Big Tex
    "We are very concerned with the well being of the children within our congregation and do everything possible to protect them," said Robin Shelburn, an elder, on Monday. "The protection of our children is one of our top priorities."

    Oh really.

    What you do speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • hawkaw

    This is a big article


    Thanks for the post.


  • Gopher

    Here's a translation of the WT Society's statement about child abuse:

    Our procedures have been refined over time

    Meaning: We are getting better at covering our tracks

    Over the years we have noted areas where our policies could be strengthened

    Meaning: Our critics exposed how shamefully we have acted and have pointed out that thousands and thousands of children are still molested

    we have followed through

    Meaning: We are in "reactive" mode -- whenever we are forced to do something due to public pressure or due to fear of criminal prosecution, we finally act. It's not because we care about children, but rather we must protect the image of our organization

    We do not believe that our system is perfect

    Meaning: We NEVER will admit we are wrong, even when it comes to involvement in the most despicable form of conduct ever imposed on other humans, that of child abuse

    but we have a strong Bible-based policy on child abuse
    Meaning: We pick and choose which scriptures we want to apply, and then we use those to enforce our already-existing methods which often lead to us harboring child molestors and disfellowshipping those who complain about the situation.

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