Just in case you didn't go to the actual Missoulian article to read it and thought that the text copied above to this thread was complete because after the last sentence it didn't say READ MORE, there was more. In fact, lots more, so I've posted below the rest of the article. But first of all, I'd like to point out that there are two mistakes that the reporter made. Found in the second paragraph below of the text that was not posted to this thread has the corrections:
[The article continues:]
She said a letter from her editor in 1997 was the final straw. The correspondence praised the church's legal department for protecting the church against anymore "megabuck lawsuits." The children, she recalled, seemed to be secondary.
same year, Watchtower issued instructions to congregations around the world to
or suspected predators to the headquarters. Over the next four
years, according to Anderson's continued research, Watchtower received 775
names of pedophiles in congregations throughout the world United States.
In 2015, a comprehensive investigation into the church by the Australian Royal Commission found the Jehovah's Witnesses in Australia had received allegations against more than 1,000 members, relating to at least 1,800 victims, since 1950 and did not report a single allegation to law enforcement. Of the 1,006 accused, 579 had confessed to the crimes, according to the report, and of those known child abusers, 28 had been appointed to be elders or ministerial servants.
Anderson used these figures to compile a 113-page report, which in May she submitted to the Attorney General's offices in New York and Pennsylvania, hoping a similar probe would take place in the United States. The information she's used in the report has been taken from cases around the country, where she exchanges information with attorneys to help their cases, as well.
The actual scope of the abuse accusations and the resulting action — or lack thereof — has so far remained out of the public eye. Two cases in San Diego presented the opportunity for the release of all of Watchtower's internal documents relating to known sex abuse allegations. Judges continued to fine Watchtower as much as $4,000 a day for not turning the internal documents over in the case's discovery. The church paid millions in those fines until the plaintiffs eventually settled the case outside court.
The church is fighting the jury's Thompson Falls verdict, as well, which required $4 million paid to Nunez in compensatory damages, along with $1 million in punitive damages against the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and $30 million against Watchtower. Montana law caps punitive damages at 3 percent of the defendant's net worth or $10 million, whatever is less.
Molloy believes the actual damages that will be owed to Nunez will be closer to $15 million.
"The jury still sent the message," he said. "The institutions have to change their policies to protect their children."
But a senior official in the New York headquarters named Gary Breaux said in a morning worship video posted online that the church would never abandon the prerequisite for others to witness abuse before a religious judicial committee is formed to handle the matter.
"Christ Jesus establishes that there has to be two witnesses," he said. "The scriptures are very clear.
"We will never change our scriptural position on that subject."
The Thompson Falls trial appeared not to have attracted much attention around town last week. Both the bailiff and clerk who were in the courtroom said about a dozen congregation members were the only real audience.
Molloy said it's unlikely the Watchtower case will have the same sprawling effect locally as, for example, the one that emerged in recent weeks involving a Miles City athletic trainer accused of sexually abusing dozens of boys in the public school from the early 1970s to 1998. The difference, Molloy said, is that the congregation members don't traditionally venture into friendships outside of the church.
"I think it will reverberate through a small town like Thompson Falls," he said. "But Jehovah's Witnesses don't associate with people outside the faith."
Still, it's a small town. Michael Doty, a Thompson Falls resident who left the Jehovah's Witness congregation over "differences in opinion," said most everyone still knows everyone.
"The people, for the most part, are very good people," he said. "They're human."
Doty said he knew the victims and their families. Word of abuse came as a surprise, he said. But when told by the Missoulian of the jury's final verdict in Nunez's favor on Thursday, he was not shocked — by the verdict or dollar amount.
"It was about time the tide would turn on them," Doty said.