Court documents reveal Watchtower's tactics in Montana child abuse case

by LevelThePlayingField 33 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • careful

    This Montana case is forcing more WT secret info out into the public domain, doubtless to the great annoyance of the GB. Two things are striking. First, I have long been suspicious that this Vow of Obedience and Poverty that all Bethelites must sign is for more than just tax purposes. It's clear here that it is also an attempt to shelter Bethel workers from child abuse reporting laws by their supposedly being protected by clergy-penitent privilege.

    More interesting is the second, related thing. It seems that some of these lower courts have gone ahead and made decisions on enforcing the child abuse reporting laws that are on the books without considering how they may be in conflict with the legal status of clergy-penitent privilege.

    Regardless of what we may individually think about this matter, and, of course, not all countries have the idea of clergy-penitent privilege built into their legal systems, apparently no higher US courts have ruled on the inherent conflict between child abuse reporting laws and the legal principle behind clergy-penitent privilege. Otherwise, the GB's attempt to hide behind the latter would be of no legal value. The opposing lawyers would simply call to the attention of the judge that such a matter has already been decided in "such-and-such" case. But they have not done so.

    Does anyone know if such a decision is working its way through the higher courts anywhere? If not, the GB's stance may eventually force it—after all, neither the Catholic church nor any other religious groups have attempted such legal argumentation. Perhaps Barb Anderson can answer this question?

  • Diogenesister

    Watchtower maintain everyone notified of this case at Watchtower HQ also come under the definition of " clergy" because they " live under the vow of poverty".*

    I would seriously question whether Watchtowers lawyers live on the Same amount as other Bethelites.

    Watchtower claim that all " clergy" (other than local elders) so in other words all full time Bethel workers informed of the CSA in this case " live under the vow of poverty" ie service dept elders ( yes) and legal dept elders....but what about legal dept lawyers, also informed.Have they taken the vow of poverty and do they work absolutely pro bono for Watchtower, living on the usual Bethelites stipend?? . I highly doubt that.

    Can anyone let us know if, or how, Watchtower legal dept lawyers get remunerated for their legal work??

    *This was accepted by the court.

  • Vidiot

    Here's a news flash for the poorly informed...

    ...if you're trying to hide behind the letter of the law, you're probably on the wrong side of the law.

  • Vidiot
    "...leave it in Jehovah's hands; he will fix it in his own due time..."

    First thing always I think of when I hear that is...

    ..."didn't Jehovah let the enemies (aka "Satan's World") of His 'Chosen Nation' Isreal bitch-slap them when they got out of line and wouldn't straighten up?"

    (translation: "how do you know that's not what's happening now?")


  • blondie

    I always wondered how the WTS can hide behind the clergy-penitent law as the Catholic Church does. The RC has one priest hear the confession...not passing the info onto higher persons in their organization, supposedly. First, the WTS says they do not have a clergy system in their organization. Secondly, the jw confesses to a minimum of 3 elders (clergy) and the elders write up a report that goes to CO and the so-called governing body in NY.

  • minimus


  • Vanderhoven7


    Admission that previous damaging practice was wrong

    Admission that they have failed to protect their lambs

  • sir82

    Then Watchtower lawyers switch their argument and say that they didn’t report the abuse because reports of

    abuse can be kept confidential under clergy law, but victims lawyers proved it was NEVER kept confidential

    because… (see pages 15-16)

    Elders told the abuser what the victim said about him

    Elders told other elders in the legal department in NY

    The legal department told the elders in the Service department (CCJW)

    Service dept (CCJW) writes a letter back to original elders.

    FINALLY this concept is exposed. Hopefully it sets a clear precedent.

    Oh, and you can add to the "non-confidential" list:

    -- All the golf / fishing buddies of the elders involved: "Man, would you believe the case we just had? Listen...."

  • westiebilly11

    Very good points re trustees taking out personal liability insurance. Locally, several 'trustees' are quite young men who view trusteeship as a wonderful privilege..not a liability... All potential trustees should seek independent legal advice before accepting trusteeship...

  • JRK

    Stevie Lett will be begging on TV for more payoff money. "The money going out is more than the money coming in!"


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