Montana Supreme Court will hear the $35M case tomorrow

by Corney 56 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • JC323

    Actually Lousiana supreme court did state that confidential communication extends to the victim. That is how they ruled in a catholic case.

    Most of the laws do not limit to confession but confidential communication.

  • peacefulpete

    The Louisiana Supreme court verdict was :

    any communication made to a priest privately in the sacrament of confession for the purpose of confession, repentance, and absolution is a confidential communication under La. Code Evid. 511, and the priest is exempt from mandatory reporter status in such circumstances by operation of La. Child. Code art. 603, because “under the … tenets of the [Roman Catholic] church” he has an inviolable “duty to keep such communications confidential.”

    The article on Snopes continued:

    Requiring priests to report communications made during confession would force them to violate Catholic codes, and would place them at risk for excommunication, and also violate their freedom to practice their religion, the court ruled. But if the priest learns information outside the confessional that would lead him to believe a child is being harmed, he is duty-bound to report:

    In a 2014 ruling in the case that resuscitated Rebecca Mayeux’s lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Diocese and the Rev. Jeff Bayhi, the state Supreme Court said a dispute remained “concerning whether the communications between the child and the priest were confessions per se and whether the priest obtained knowledge outside the confessional that would trigger his duty to report” sexual abuse allegations.

    Clearly the intent, right or wrongly minded, is to protect the Catholic Church's sacrament, a religious tenet of that faith. The sacrament of confession is not a tenet of JWs, they have no such sacrament. Notice also that the exclusion does not apply outside the confessional sacrament. The JW argument that just by being church leaders and privy to church dirt they are excluded from the law is not valid. There is no "tenet" that prohibits them from reporting child abuse they become aware of as church leaders. They are seeking to exploit this clause to avoid embarrassment to the church not to protect some sacred aspect of their faith.

    Apart from all that, the state laws are just plain wrong in giving exception to priests even if their Constitutional right to freedom of religious practice is being slightly encroached. In these uniquely heinous crimes the government has compelling reason to require reporting of anyone having this information. This is a textbook case of compelling interest.

  • zeb

    re clergy privilege etc.

    The wt here in Australia tried to pull that one on at the CARC and got told by the justice they cant have it both ways . I hope the lawyers in Montana for the victims have been made aware of this.

  • JC323

    I brought up the lousiana case because of the statement that victims or their innocent parents cannot be included when making confidential communication. As these cases are rarely litigated outside of the catholic model you have to piece cases together to make an argument. You can look at McFarland v watchtower in ohio, there the court of appeals refused to hand over a few letters because even though multiple people read the letter the letter is asking for spiritual advice on child abuse. You can look at the Berry case and even though their Supreme Court did not come to a decision on privilege, because they could resolve the case in Watchtowers favor prior to getting to that question, the oral arguments clearly indicated that the court was leaning towards the fact that the church tenants get to decide this stuff.

    I am also making a prediction. When Watchtower does win this Montana case that all the comments will become. We never expected to win but the important thing is the information got out there.

  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    I predict that the Montana Supreme Court will uphold the findings for the plaintiff but reduce the punitive damage amount to 3 times the compensatory damages. The WT will spin that as a victory and in one aspect they will be right in that they will have to play less. It's obvious the only thing they really care about is money anyway.

  • TD
    ....the oral arguments clearly indicated that the court was leaning towards the fact that the church tenants get to decide this stuff.

    I'm having a hard time understanding this. (Maybe I just need another cup of coffee)

    Did you mean to say, "tenets?"

  • JC323

    Yes I meant tenets. I also was up early.

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