Stephanie Fessler v Watch Tower - Trial on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 in Pennsylvania

by AndersonsInfo 60 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • truthseekeriam

    It's completely disgusting that the elders nor the parents reported this abuse!!

    I understand the pressure they put on you is overwhelming...but where does common decency come in?? How does their so called high moral standards get ignored?

    My thoughts are with Stephanie as she faces those who failed her in such a horrible way. My hopes are that her experience empowers her and she knows within herself no matter the outcome she is doing the right thing.

    One step at a time, one case at a time... always remember we are not in a race but in a marathon. One day soon, changes will happen, not because they finally decided to do the right thing but because all those that have stood up and faced these abusers made them!

  • konceptual99

    Sad to say but I think the WT lawyers will put a lot of pressure on the parents as to why they did not report the abuse themselves. We all know WT culture can cloud judgement but I am still a bit surprised there was no disclosure by the parents given it's not that long ago.

  • darkspilver
    If proved true, it should be a slam dunk.

    Well, already the OP article states that "Terry ultimately plead guilty to indecent assault and corruption of a minor and was sentenced to prison and probation"

    But, what about the Mandatory Reporting issue? Well, the elephant-in-the-room is:

    Why on earth isn't Pennsylvania State themselves prosecuting for failing to mandatory report?? It's their law, it's there.... RESPONSIBILITY to uphold that law - so why evidently aren't they?!?

    Who are 'Mandated Reporters'? Although the OP is a relatively recent case - the current law includes:

    An adult family member who is a person responsible for the child's welfare and provides services to a child in a family living home

    The perpetrator's daughter - who apparently was the first to raise her suspicions with the victim's mother - does not seem to be a 'mandatory reporter'? (and evidently, neither is the perpetrator's adult husband?) , but the victim's parents would appear to be 'mandated reporters' - and they would also seem to have been the first 'mandated reporters' to become aware of the (OP) "intimate nature of the relationship".

    Although there was a court case only a couple of years ago, and the perpetrator pleaded guilty - there appears to be scant information regarding the case online - fyi there is the following, though I can't vouch for the reliability of the website:

    PENNSYLVANIA v. TERRY JEANNE MONHEIM was a 2012-13 Pennsylvania criminal court case in which a Female Jehovah's Witness named Terry Monheim, aka Terry Jeanne Seipp, then age 58, then of Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged with statutory sexual assault, indecent assault on a person younger than 16 years old, and corruption of a minor. Outcome unknown.

    In 2011, the alleged Female victim, by then age 22, whom had been reared as a third-generation Jehovah's Witness, reported to law enforcement that she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by Terry Monheim between 2003 and 2005, when the alleged victim was 14 to 16 years-old, and while the alleged victim and Monheim had been fellow members of the Spring Grove Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, in York County, PA. The alleged victim further alleged that both she and Terry Monheim had been "publicly reproved" by the Congregation -- for what the Elders at the Spring Grove Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses apparently had considered to have been a consensual homosexual relationship. The alleged victim thereafter publicly alleged that she also had been sexually assaulted by an unidentified Male Jehovah's Witness when she was only 4 years-old. Outcome unknown.

  • flipper

    Indeed there is HUGE liability on the elders part and the parents part in this for not reporting these child abuse offenses to police authorities. The WT Society is creating criminal monsters from the top down. WT leaders want to hide these abuses, then the elders, then it bleeds down into even the parents wanting to hide these crimes from the outside world. It's a sick and insidious attitude that's indoctrinated into each and every JW's mind to " protect " the " needs " of the JW organization - when in fact - what the organization really NEEDS is to be exposed for allowing child abuse to continue to go on without reporting to police ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • StephaneLaliberte
    1) Did abuse take place?
    Yes: Otherwise, the abuser would not have been sentenced for it.
    2) Did the elders have sufficient doubts to bring it to the police?
    Yes: The abuse was reported twice. Even the parents were concerned.
    3) Did the elders call the society?
    Yes: This is a basic procedure and too many elders knew about it.
    4) Did the Watchtower tell the elders to keep quiet?
    Yes: Otherwise, what in the world would motivate all these elders, including the parents to keep quiet?

    Seems to me that establishing the watchtower's guilt in this case is very, very easy. The question now is: How much is that going to cost them?

  • StephaneLaliberte

    There is at least 13 people who knew about this and did not report:

    6: body of elders of 2 congregations

    2: Parents of the victim

    1: Abuser's husband

    1: Private investigator hired by husband of abuser.

    3: Legal department of WT

  • darkspilver

    There is at least 13 people who knew about this and did not report:

    Therefore, why isn't the State of Pennsylvania persuing this? Isn't that their job? What are they doing - are they upholding the law when madatory reporters don't report?

  • Finkelstein

    Its situations like this and the ones before it that there needs to be a federal law that forces all religious institutions to report child sexual abuse and stiff penalties applied to those who don't.

    I'd also like to see personal jail time as well for religoius leaders who would go this law.

  • rebelfighter

    Well based on your last two post, if I were on that jury given the evidence you just stated and the fact that THIRTEEN adults DID NOT hear the CRIES of a CHILD I think the reward for damages should be 13 million. One million for each adult who failed to hear the cries of a child.

  • darkspilver

    I believe the following is currently the situation in the State of Pennsylvania - unless anyone knows different and can correct me please??

    Penalties for Willful Failure to Report

    Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance - Mandated Reporters

    Penalties for Willful Failure to Report

    Willful failure to report (having a reasonable suspicion of abuse and deciding not to report it) may be punished. The penalties for failure to report have been increased under the new CPSL amendments.

    The first offense of willful failure to report is a second degree misdemeanor. Penalties are increased to a third degree felony if the mandated reporter willfully fails to report child abuse that is a felony of the first degree or higher and the mandated reporter has direct knowledge of the nature of the abuse. For multiple offenses, a felony of the third degree is committed, increasing if the abuse of the child is a felony of the first degree or higher.

    If willful failure to report continues, while the mandated reporter knows or has reasonable cause to believe the child is being actively abused, the offense is considered a first degree misdemeanor except when the abuse to the child constitutes a felony of the first degree or higher. In this instance the penalty is a felony of the third degree.

    Pennsylvania Code

    Felony of the first degree - max 20 years prison / $25,000 fine

    Felony of the second degree - max 10 years prison / $25,000

    Felony of the third degree - max 7 years prison / $15,000

    Misdemeanor of the first degree - max 5 years prison / $10,000

    Misdemeanor of the second degree - max 2 years prison / $5,000

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