Orange County, CA: New Case and New Legal Tactic

by Corney 6 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Corney
    Corney

    John Roe 1 vs. Defendant Doe 1, Congregation is a child sexual abuse case pending before the Superior Court of California, Orange County (Judge John C. Gastelum). Jury trial is scheduled on June 15, 2020, but it may not occur: the judge is expected to decide on multiple pre-trial motions including motion for sanctions filed by plantiffs; next hearing on pre-trial motions is scheduled on May 14.

    Case docket is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DbQcRONNkEax492pshgWPuOubt-xaaBZ/view?usp=sharing

    Case documents are available for purchase here: https://ocapps.occourts.org/civilwebShoppingNS/Search.do (case number 30-2014-00741722-CU-PO-CJC).

    During the course of this litigation the Court ordered Watchtower to produce molestation complaints it received, redacting only names of victims and elders handling the matters. In August of 2018, Watchtower produced the documents with redactions of all identifying information.

    In September, six Jehovah's Witnesses mentioned in the (unredacted) documents - three victims and three victims' relatives including an individual "accused of, investigated for, and exonerated of, sexual abuse of his daughter" - filed a motion for protective order before the Court "to assert their privacy rights, their clergy-penitent privilege and religious freedom objections to disclosure of the documents".

    Moreover, on August 23, 2018 they (later, an elder joined them) filed federal lawsuit against the Californian Court seeking injunction on enforcement of the discovery order at issue, "with respect to the unredacted names or identifying information of Plaintiffs or their family members".

    Plaintiffs are members of some of the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses that supplied the documents at issue in the State Litigation to Watchtower. Each one of them is named, identified, or described in the documents that must be produced pursuant to the May 17 Order, and each one of them faces a serious risk that their privacy will be violated if the documents are produced without the redactions requested herein. Three of them are victims whose names will be redacted, and yet each faces a risk of identification because the names of their family members will not be redacted. The other three are family members of victims who are concerned for their own privacy and for the privacy of their victim family members. Plaintiff Doe 7 is a congregation elder. All seven Plaintiffs are mentioned in the documents in the context of sexual abuse, assault, and molestation—allegations that expose Plaintiffs to extreme harassment, humiliation, ridicule, social stigmatization, and physical and emotional distress, and that infringe upon their religious freedoms.

    The plaintiffs also requested a judgment declaring the order null and void. On January 14 the case was dismissed without prejudice.

    Interestingly, plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit were represented by Robert Crockett, a business lawyer and a member of the LDS Church (long time ago, he even was a Mormon bishop), and his law firm.

    The case documents I was able to obtain:

    Initial Complaint

    Amended Complaint

    The Discovery Order

    Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant, the Superior Court

    Declaration and Memo filed by Zalkin Law Firm on behalf of Intervenors, Plaintiffs in State Lawsuit

    P.S. I have to mention Mark O'Donnell who first wrote about the federal lawsuit, even though I dislike him and he didn't provide case name or number or any case documents.

    Sorry for my poor English.

  • Atlantis
    Atlantis

    Corney:

    Thank you very much!

    Atlantis!

  • Listener
    Listener

    Thanks Corney, this is the first I have read about this case.

  • DesirousOfChange
    DesirousOfChange

    If I had been victimized at the hands of a JW, I would not want the notes from the Window Washer Judicial Committee brought into the public record and available to any Nosy Nelly. The victim agreed to a CONFIDENTIAL meeting with "protected" CLERGY. Don't I have rights, too?

  • careful
    careful

    If we compare this legal move with what was announced a few days ago in another post on this forum,

    https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/6290920921104384/dutch-ex-jws-online-survey-sexual-abuse-within-jw-netherlands-utrecht-university

    there seems to be a common denominator.

    In the other post it was related that the Witnesses in Holland were being encouraged to take a survey that a Dutch university has put together on CSA among JWs in the Netherlands. At first glance this looked like some rogue branch committee member had perhaps broken with GB policy. However, a poster there then clarified the OP, stating that the "faithful" who were going to participate in this survey were to do so under the guidance of the local BOE. Surely they would be directed what to say, how to answer, etc. In other words, it is a ploy of the org to make themselves look good by getting faithful, obedient members say what they are told to say. It will supposedly look like "outside" confirmation of current organizational policy. That is, the GB are now trying to employ the R&F for their personal ends.

    It looks like the "new legal tactic" that Corney is reporting here has a similar purpose. The R&F are being recruited to provide cover for the org and its policies. In the Orange County matter, by bringing more entities with conflicting interests into the case, it will slow the case down in the courts. More legal decisions will have to be made and it will drag things out. This is in harmony with the GB's overall tactic of obfuscate and delay, the method they have so regularly shown they love to employ when being sued.

    So the sheeple have been given a role to play here as both cover and a means for delay. How many other ways will they be used in the future? Doubtless they will view it all as a great privilege! Perhaps though, it will backfire, just like the GB hiring that "worldly" female psychologist, briefing her with only what they wanted her to know, and then shipping her off to the ARC to make the org look good, but in reality the sharp prosecutor there saw through it all. In the Orange County case, perhaps some of the R&F who are conscripted will see through the lies and corruption. We'll have to wait and see.

  • ScenicViewer
    ScenicViewer
    ... allegations that expose Plaintiffs to extreme harassment, humiliation, ridicule, social stigmatization, and physical and emotional distress, and that infringe upon their religious freedoms.

    Imagine that, Jehovah's Witnesses are arguing against something that they and the Watchtower organization practice every day when a fellow believer awakens and disagrees with them (with the possible exception of harassment).

  • lastmanstanding
    lastmanstanding

    The plaintiffs are obviously under the gun. Watchtower has warned them that they will be df’d if they did not speak up and assert their “rights”.

    The plaintiffs were probably told that their situation is akin to being raped and if they did not “cry out” then they are complicit.

    Remember the different cases where this tactic was used with a minor who needed blood. Little sister sixteen says “it was like being raped”.

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