Day 5 - Fessler vs. Watchtower – Ends: Plaintiff settles in Jehovah’s Witness Child Abuse Trial

by darkspilver 90 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • notsurewheretogo

    Fair point Smiddy but cases like this one and the Conti case seemed geared not to be about money but about forcing change and settling out of court means the changes do not come. I find it most disappointing that the victim seems geared to take on the WT and go through a lot of things and take a lot of time only to then settle and for the whole thing to disappear.

    I see the settlements as a win for the WT.

    The victims deserve everything they can get though and I don't blame them at all for settling.

  • Ruby456

    settlements can mean that money spent on costly litigation can go to the victim. this case had a few holes that could have meant the wts paying out much less to the victim than they were offering before the trial.

  • rebelfighter

    The sad part is JWS will be or are told do not believe the LIES in the media about the Jehovah Witness Organization. Well here is another one of those supposed lies that their Rock Star GB are always ranting about!!

    Maybe one day someone will put $1,000 into the contribution box and say where the hell is this money going too? See when I contribute $1,000 to the Shriner's Hospital I get a thank you note in the mail along with some nice pictures of some great kids we have helped AND oh wait and their financial statements and upcoming budgets. Transparency! !!

    This cult is just disgusting! !!!

  • rebelfighter
    Oh, and I am sure they will not report this on their news site or on their legal battles as a lost.
  • Hecce

    Attorneys take these cases on a contingency basis, their motivation is mostly monetary. They will settle when they reach a figure that they like and avoid a long court case that is going to be very, very expensive. Remember WT counsel is in house and already paid for.

  • Randy M.
    Randy M.

    A short audio clip for any that might want to hear the voice of Watchtower's famous Attorney Miller:

  • StephaneLaliberte

    My initial reaction is: That sucks! I’d like to have a clear judgement by a court showing clearly what happened. Than witnesses would be force to admit that their organization is flawed.

    Well, the truth is: That would not change a thing. Not for one bit. We have the ARC for crying out loud and all “faithful” JWs see is: Satan’s persecution. The governments, the judges, the juries, everyone else is bad.

    There are reasons and details that you do not know and that would explain everything away.

    I think that the only thing that is somewhat disappointing is that no one knows how much the society has settled for. Considering the cards on the table, I’d say at least a million.

    Now, if I was here, I’d take some of that money and try to get things moving criminally.

  • StarTrekAngel

    In the minds of the JWs, a settlement means a win for them. They can take the slightest sign of ambiguity and tip it in their favor. Cognitive dissonance at its best. What I am actually more disappointed about is the sensationalist advertisement that goes on in some sites about how this case was the best since Conti. Either they are over exaggerating the facts or they are assuming the vitctim's priorities.

    My thoughts are with them as no one knows exactly what they have endured but themselves. They deserve every bit of reparation they can get.

    However, in the larger picture, those of us who are proponents of change as we claim, should exercise more caution. Dealing with a cult is difficult when you only count with a few hours a day to debunk them and the cult counts with thousands of people working full time to debunk apostates.

    I've been following this case with my wife and this settlement is not going to play well. She works with and has worked with lawyers for a very long time. She has seen her fair share of very large cases that in the eyes of common sense were lost before the start, yet the lawyers manage to make the criminal walk away free.

    I should have kept that in mind. Lesson learned.

  • Giordano

    Considering what those Elders put her through and the mental issues she's had I think a settlement was in her best interest.

    It has been 13 years since congregation elders in Spring Grove Pennsylvania first learned of the inappropriate relationship and abuse perpetrated by Terry Monheim, aged 49, and her victim, Stephanie Fessler, who was just 14 years of age when the abuse began. Stephanie was dragged before elders in 2004 and 2005 to answer for her relationship with her abuser, but with grotesque disregard for the law, elders knowingly failed to report the suspected abuse to the police, to Pennsylvania’s Childline, or to any other authority. Instead, they forwarded what they knew to Watchtower’s Legal Department, who wantonly disregarded Pennsylvania State law, and also failed to report.
    Instead of protecting the victim from further harm, local elders in Pennsylvania issued a private reproof in 2004, then another public reproof in 2005. The victim, Stephanie was crucified and devastated, having been denied protection from the authorities who are trained to protect minors, and prevent further injury and mental distress. The local elders and the Watchtower organization victimized Stephanie, and more than once. Her participation in the abuse was viewed as a sin, and not a crime. Stephanie was a sinner, they said.

    written by John Redwood and can be found at

    Her attorneys were well prepared...... the Judge shut down the WT Attorney's bull shit pretty quickly.

    There was also JW representative from the legal department observing the first day of the trial who probably called his superiors and told them they needed to settle.

    Attorney for CCJW (Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses), Louis Lombardi, made no opening statements to the jury. He sat silently between (Attorney) Aaron and Miller at the defense counsel table, leaving one to wonder if he will ever make an appearance in the defense of the Jehovah’s Witness organization.

    One of their biggest problems is that they the WT and Elders are losing the protection of the 'confessional privilege.' That exemption that some states still have. The standard attack against this defense is that no expectation of privacy can be assumed by the abused or the offender.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    Even in the article that Redwood wrote there is no indication that the Judge shut down Watchtower at all. His article speaks of 3 motions two was denied against Watchtower and one was accepted in Watchtower favor. The rejection was not that Watchtower cannot claim Priest-Penitent Privilege because they don't qualify for it, but instead because the elder did not object to that line of questioning during the deposition. If he did object to it or the attorneys objected to it, the elder would still have had to answer the question during the deposition but it would have preserved the objection for pretial motions. The precluding of the police officer was a bit far fetched. The Judge also agreed that a witness that the plaintiff wanted to question during the trial would not have been allowed to give testimony during the trial portion. But that is what lawyers do, they file motions to exclude as much as they can. And just because the judge says that a witness can testify in the punitive stage of a trial doesn't mean that it is a sign that one side is going to lose, the Judge probably just did it for efficiency sake, she made her ruling now so that it won't come back up later if there is a need for it.

Share this