Jehovah’s Witnesses church ordered to pay $13.5 million for child abuse
Jehovah’s Witnesses church ordered to pay $13.5 million in child abuse case
If people haven’t noticed, all church denominations are subject to behaving badly with members of their church. Well, we have to report that the Jehovah’s Witness church has had to pay up largely for what one of their ministers did to several underage members of the church.
The report states:
The Jehovah’s Witnesses church has been ordered to pay $13.5 million to a man who claimed that he was sexually molested beginning at age 7 by his bible studies teacher .
San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan M. Lewis ordered the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society to pay punitive and compensatory damages to Jose Lopez for alleged abuse by by Gonzalo Campos of the Linda Vista Spanish Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Pacific Beach.
Lopez, 36, claims that the abuse began around 1986, when his mother enrolled him at age 7 in bible study classes with Campos.
During their time alone, Capos allegedly began grooming Lopez, according to court documents.
“It started with having Jose come and sit on his lap, touch his legs, rubbing his back…getting physical and connected to Jose,” said Irwin Zalkin, Lopez’s attorney.
On one occasion, Lopez claims Campos sexually molested him while they were alone at a private residence in La Jolla, where Campo’s mother worked as a housekeeper.
Lopez’s mother went to the heads of the congregation but said that the allegations were overlooked.
After years of staying quiet, Lopez filed a lawsuit against Campos and the church in 2012.
He is one of eight children who have accused Campos of sexually abusing them between 1982 and 1995, according to his lawsuit against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the entity that oversees Jehovah’s Witnesses churches.
During the litigation, the head church in New York refused to provide documents and witnesses, Zalkin said.
San Diego Superior Judge Joan M. Lewis awarded the judgment for punitive and compensatory damages.
Associate General Counsel for Watchtower Mario Moreno commented in a statement: “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts. The trial judge’s decision is a drastic action for any judge to take given the circumstances of this case. We will seek a full review of this case on appeal.”