Governor Brown’s SB 131 veto leaves Watchtower child abuse victims frustrated
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Governor Brown as vetoed the SB131 bill, labelling it "unfair and open-ended"

Governor Brown as vetoed the SB131 bill, labelling it “unfair and open-ended”

Watchtower was handed some good news yesterday as it emerged that Governor Jerry Brown has refused to sign SB 131 into Californian law.

As reported on this site, SB 131 would have made it possible for more victims of child abuse in California to come forward whose cases currently fall outside the Statute of Limitation – meaning that their abuse happened too long ago for the law to do anything as things stand.

California does seem to be a hotspot for child molestation lawsuits against Watchtower, with the Zalkin Law Firm handling 5 of its 11 cases against Watchtower in this state alone. And Irwin Zalkin indicated to me a few weeks ago that more lawsuits would have been filed in California if SB 131 had passed, but Governor Brown has dashed any such plans by vetoing the bill and issuing the following statement.

“What (SB 131) does do is go back to the only group, i.e. private institutions, that have already been subjected to the unusual ‘one year revival period’ and makes them, and them alone, subject to suit indefinitely. This extraordinary extension of the statute of limitations, which legislators chose not to apply to public institutions, is simply too open-ended and unfair.”

In reporting this development, the media has tellingly highlighted the fact that Brown studied to become a Catholic priest as a young man. This will doubtless fuel debate as to Brown’s motivations for turning down the bill.

Kathleen Conti, a keen supporter of SB 131, expressed her sorrow this morning. “It is extremely disappointing that our Governor has allowed powerful deep-pocketed religious leaders, influential religious lobbyists and law firms to cloud the real issue here, which is the right of abuse victims to pursue justice for crimes committed against them,” she said.

“Subpoenaed documents clearly show that certain religious institutions have been fully aware of the danger posed to children by pedophiles within their own ranks, but have kept things secret and handled matters internally instead of warning parents and letting the proper authorities handle perpetrators. I find it distressing that congregants will continue to not only attend but also financially support such morally bankrupt institutions who claim to have God’s blessing while at the same time being guilty of concealing crimes against children.”

This development has also proved a bitter blow for John Kirby, who was hoping to work with Irwin Zalkin in filing suit against Watchtower if the bill was passed. After describing himself as “shocked and very disappointed” this morning, John told me that his worst fears about Governor Brown have now been realized. “With our Governor Jerry Brown being a devout Catholic I’m not surprised. The Catholic church with their voice, money and power won this round.”

And Irwin Zalkin bemoaned the role of the Catholic Church in lobbying against the bill, with expensive lobbying firms reportedly being hired to undermine SB 131’s chances of being signed. Bishops are also said to have visited the State offices, and there are even reports of priests trying to turn parishioners against the bill from the pulpit.

“The Catholic Church spared no expense to keep the doors of justice closed to victims of sexual abuse in their fight against this bill,” Zalkin commented on his firm’s official website.  “Maintaining their veil of secrecy over the abuses of the past was more important to the church than a fair and open path to justice for the victims harmed by the perpetrators who were protected for years by the church.”

It certainly looks like the Catholic Church has proved an unlikely ally in riding to Watchtower’s rescue over this bill. But with Zalkin still representing 11 clients against Watchtower, and the Candace Conti case appeal still ongoing, they are still a long way from getting off the hook.

 

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24 Responses to Governor Brown’s SB 131 veto leaves Watchtower child abuse victims frustrated

  1. JBob says:

    Little lesson in how the real world works, folks–
    Huffington Post, “a decision by former Jesuit seminarian Gov. Jerry Brown”.

    The good ole boys..

  2. whatevs says:

    This sucks, but those victims can do quite a bit of damage just by coming forward and telling their stories. Exposure of their horrific policies is sometimes just as hurtful to places like the WT as it means more members may leave, more members may call the police if their child comes forward rather than relying on the elders to handle things, and more people will ask questions about those policies when they go door knocking. Victims deserve compensation, yes, and hitting them in the wallet can make them feel pain, but the publicity is still there and that hurts too.

  3. Crazy 4 Jesus says:

    Dear Cedar
    Could you give us a clue if you know, how many case would not be effected by the governors veto.

    • Cedars says:

      Hi Crazy 4 Jesus – the veto does not affect any existing cases, such as Zalkin’s 11 lawsuits. It only prevents SOME further cases from being filed that would have gone through if SB 131 had been signed into law.

  4. Crazy 4 Jesus says:

    Thank you.
    I hope that all the persons that have been wronged are restored as best as the legal system can provide. Let hope they are few but very expensive.

  5. Shakeem says:

    This is quite a saddening and disappointing outcome. I initially felt that this bill would be signed into law to give victims of childhood sexual abuse an opportunity to pursue justice for the wrong committed against them; that is until I found out Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) attended a Jesuit seminary, Sacred Heart Novitiate, where he studied to become a Catholic priest. (http://gov.ca.gov/m_about.php) According to the Huffington Post, Californian Catholic dioceses have already paid for a hefty price tag of $1.2 billion in abuse settlements, and as a result of this, the Catholic Church spent $250K to aggressively lobby against SB 131, a bill which would have opened up the way for other sexual abuse victims to come forward by increasing the statute of limitation. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-hrabe/gov-brown-wont-be-fooled-_b_3941093.html) They have accused trial lawyers of being greedy (which I would agree may have some merit) and anti-catholics of attempting to financially cripple them, “the real beneficiaries of SB 131.” (http://www.themediareport.com/2013/07/24/ashley-powers-la-times-catholic-church/)

    Governor Jerry Brown stated that SB 131 was “unfair and open-ended.” But I fail to see exactly why it should have been vetoed on the sole basis of it targeting private institutions and not including public institutions, when a bill could have been created to include the latter. The passage of SB 131 into law could very well have been a stepping stone in that direction. I am certainly no advocate of double standards. Crime is crime, and abuse is abuse, whether it stems from a private or public institution. All crime should be punishable and all abuse victims should have an opportunity to seek out justice. I fervently believe that the majority of the champions of justice for childhood sexual abuse victims are most certainly not anti-catholics or anti-jehovah’s witnesses or anti-religious in any sense of the words. They are merely pro-justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse, as am I.

  6. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:

    This is a disappointment. However, it will not alter the outcome for the GB.

    To satisfy merely legal requirements in moral issues? Surely these outstanding Christians would want to go further than that?

    There is no long term good outcome for these people. All organisations that act in their callous way will eventually be exposed and shamed. How people respond to those revelations will be shaped by sites such as this one, rather than the flimsy, information -poor excuse for a website jw org.

    Keep the faith, good gentlefolks

  7. Rachel says:

    How very disappointing. My heart goes out to John Kirby. I agree with Excelsior….these organisations will eventually be exposed and shamed for their callous disregard for the suffering of innocent ones. I will try to do my bit to increase awareness in New Zealand.

  8. JBob says:

    So, Cedars, this means the criminal prosecution is not possible for cases beyond statute of limitation, yet civil suits could be processed for damages?

  9. John Kirby says:

    Thank you Rachel, the fight for justice will continue and we shall prevail in the end…

  10. 70wksofyrs says:

    I will try and read this later if I get a chance xx

  11. 70wksofyrs says:

    Excellent very well researched. Keep up the good work Cedars. Thanks so much for your site.

    70wks….

  12. Finian says:

    Governor Brown is right.., There Are 2 Classes Of Child Rape Victims: “Public,” Which Has Safeguards To Protect innocent children; And “Private,” Which Has Policies To Cover-Up Crimes commited.

    Juust read any of the numerous Grand Juy Investigations of the Most Holy Roman Catholic Church from around the US and you will see howw every diocese mirrors each in their cover-up.
    Now, just show me One, just ONE Public school district that comes within a 1000 miles of what the church has done to its own victims.

    By the way, didn’t Brown study to become a Jesuit? His rare 3 page letter is nearly identicle to the various catholic conferences song sheets from around the US regarding similar bills.

    Fr. Brown Let Us All Down !

  13. 70wksofyrs says:

    Sorry to comment for a third time, but I just felt I had to express how frustrating the whole thing is to me. I have had a really bad day, and going over the article just makes me incensed at these guys who are in power and abuse their power.

    Brown is clearly biased and has abused his power in favour of big organisations, instead of vulnerable children.

  14. Jmon75 says:

    Satan’s not very good at this “spiritual warfare” these days. According to Bethel legend……….. this means that he just used the biggest “whore of Babylon” to aid and abet the one and only “true religion”.

    Babylon $ave$ Bethel ???? (don’t remember that one in my Bible Story Book)

    Please recall that two big parts of J-Dub myth are that Satan is constantly attacking them, and that any minute now the governments will turn on them and attempt to destroy them. Not a$$ist them.

    Maybe they can change that part of the story 50 years from now when holy spirit decides that their newest bible wasn’t so accurate after all.

    Reading the link below, it is obvious that Money, and the pressure of the Catholic Church were…………. sent by the Hebrew Lord to help?????????

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-hrabe/gov-brown-wont-be-fooled-_b_3941093.html

    In the end they just got out of being held responsible when they had information about predators who had already committed offences and did nothing to stop them from repeating their crimes.

    Many gossiping pill poppers sitting in the Conundrum Halls will be happy about this………….

    Tells you all you need to know doesn’t it?

  15. Sunset says:

    Governor Brown is a very wise man.

  16. “Jerry Brown you are a sold-out well dressed thug for not signing SB-131 into Law and the greatest cultures in the history of time would throw you out of their country boy”.
    Kevin Michael Ferguson
    US ARMY Veteran

  17. “Sunset you dangerous spiritual little insane troll you should ask the clergy abuse survivors that were assaulted as children what they think of Jerry Brown?Clergy abuse survivors were assaulted as innocent little children and had their minds and conscience ruined by roman catholics and you should ask survivors if they think Jerry Brown is a wise man because I am positive most clergy abuse survivors would call Jerry Brown the following:
    the anti-christ, julius caesar, pontius pilate, benedict arnold, or judas iscariot.”
    Kevin Michael Ferguson
    United States Army Veteran

  18. Sue says:

    Sunset,
    No dialogue? Just hit and run comment? JW’s do this because they are scared to actually think. Do you think about the people who experienced pain at the whim of abusers? Why are you on this site if you are content?
    The reason I am here is because my nieces have been badly damaged by this cult. My sister died and so did her husband because they did not have the strength to get out. I have been out 30 wonderful years. What makes me happy each day is that more are coming out than are going in. People are no longer blind and there is so much help now for JW’s who have suffered mind control abuse. One day soon you will get help, until then I hope you find peace.

  19. Dr.Brian Hunt says:

    The reason B.S.131 was vetoed was that it was a poorly written bill. The bill barely squeezed through the Senate and it should have been thrown out because it was discriminatory as it did not include the Public sector. So much for the lack of intelligence among our senators,mostly Democrats,who should have seen the weaknesses in the bill as most are trained lawyers. The bill could not stand up to legal challenges in the Courts. Gov.Brown,a brilliant attorney,saw this and did the right thing.
    Dr.Brian Hunt,
    BVSc(Sydney),DVM,MS(Cornell).
    P.S. In other states where the Public sector along with the Private sector was included the bill was rejected by the Legislators.

  20. themic says:

    So, Now i will put your typical white guy hate group page into perspective (whenever i see a page, or social media group talking a bout taking down a person or organization? its always a bunch of whites and a few specks of others) Youre talking about JWs and 11 cases. i am SURE you feel there are FAR FAR MORE…but like the gays say there are FAR FAR MORE of them, and every other person trying to make themselves and their causes appear HUGE…I just want you lynch mob dna types to see exactly how far you have to go to make the Jws equal to the rest of the religions regarding sex abuse…..You have 13…lets see what the others have…

    http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbylastName-A.html

    Ok. so, now we see. also, where in the bible do you see that GODS OWN PEOPLE were nbot doing evil? Here is the thing, The seperating of the good and bad is said to be WITHIN HIS PEOPLE. So the bad will be gone. So thats not JW talk, thats BIBLE talk. YOUR bible My bible, the guy down the street, the guy in a jail. ALL bibles say that. And lastly, if ALL THE MEMBERS OF ALL THE CHURCHES are pedophiles, but the bible says NOT to be one, so you are a victim…DOES THAT MEAN YOU STOP FOLLOWING GOD?!?! Its funny how groups like yours in turn rub shoulders with athiests! In the bible, the very LEADERS of gods chosen people were bad. AND ITS PRINTED FOR ALL TO SEE. So where you get off feeling like this group or any other is somehow SOOOOO horrible i dont know. In prison where we jail rapists? RAPE happens. In Schools where we hold teachers? CHEATING happens. In voting booths where we count votes? FAKE VOTES happen. In War where we claim to defend? ASSULT happens. In police where we claim to protect? ABUSE happens. What you people dont seem to see, in your hate group, is SATAN. SATAN is real…and SATAN is IN a hall, IN a church, IN a mind. Hence the disfellowshipping of people that are JWs, the excommunication of people in catholics, the stoning of people in the muslims, whatever you wanna look at. ALL faiths have bad guys. AND people trying to do right. The point is, IF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO DO GOOD, ACTUALLY DO IT…is the words they are learning actually god’s will. AND THAT IS THE POINT.. you people think that the MEN are the faith. They are not. you put faith in MEN and that is a problem. If I put faith in the behavior of jews, then I would have failed when moses was in a mountain too long. I would have said, LETS MAKE THE CALF..it doesnt matter! Right? So lets say the man passes a bill. BUT ITS NOT FOR MONEY DAMAGES…..its just a law that makes it so the accused HAS TO BE REMOVED FROM WHATEVER POSITION THEY HELD SO THEY CAN NO LONGER BE IN POSITIONS OF POWER….so now they are just people going to a church…IS THAT BAD?!?! OR SHOULD THEY NEVER GO TO CHURCH!?! or perhaps you can have the right to have them arrested..WOULD THAT BE ENOUGH?!?! No..its not. WHY? because this is about MONEY! AND A LOT OF IT!! not about right and wrong. The bottom line? If I go in a church and a Guy who attends, molests me at some party, the CHURCH didnt rape me, THAT GUY did. So when you go back to the church leaders and say “LOOK AT WHAT ONE OF YOUR MEMBERS DID TO ME!!!” they say, “where, when?” and you say, “At the mcdonalds!” you need to talk to mcdonalds! This is like if a teacher at your school meets you at a bowling alley and molests you. THEN YOU BLAME THE SCHOOL for not doing something about him.. THEY DONT CONTROL THE MAN …They just control him AT SCHOOL. So all they can do is say, “lets kick him off the school teaching lists, and give him a desk job, till we see what gives..ESPECIALLY since this person aint call no cop. ” but if they did more? How could that be justified? Its like a job that goes on your facebook page and sees someone post that youre a drunk and got drunk and Hit them, but no one called the police. You go to work, and they fire you! Because youre a drunk who hit someone!! YOU WOULD BE IRATE!! Would you not?

    Have you ever been on a job where they fire a worker over something done AGES ago? by then, no one has any evidence of any wrogdoing? And now its your word vs the accuser? WOULD YOUR ARGUMENT BE, “you needed to say something at the time?”

    If you received a broken item from the store, and 3 years later, you return it, would they not say “Why didnt you return it sooner?” if you were to say, “It was to much for me to, I live very very far away and have no car” Domnt you think they would STILL look at you funny?

    if you came to the police, and said a person raped you, and they say WHEN, and you say 23 years ago…THEY WILL SAY DID YOU FILE A REPORT? or GET EXAMINED? and you say NO….HOW DO YOU THINK THEY ARE GONNA SEE THAT CASE!?!?!

    THIS IS ABOUT SEEING A DEEP POCKET where you figure you can get public oppinion on your side to make one rich. BUT ANY COURT needs to be very wary about saying…WE WILL ALLOW YOU TO SUE FOR HUGE SUMS OF MONEY, with no evidence, no police involvement, no nothing!!

    Where does that stop? what makes me unable to say you people reading this broke in my house…and stole my tv…But i didnt make a report…and it was 20 years ago..And I lived in another house too. And someone lives in the old house. So you cant gather evidence ….YEAH RIGHT…WE REALLY want a country like THAT!!! LAW SUIT CITY!!!! YEEEEE HAWWWW. All you lynchers would have to do is convict every black man you see, and juries will make you rich!! AWWWWW no…YOU NEED TO KEEP GATHERING EVIDENCE WHEN THE CRIME IS COMMITTED…we have ENOUGH WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS AS IT STANDS. and the last thing we need is whites able to trump a charge on a 20 year old claim with NO evidence in their hands!!

    Heck, I should be able to sue, for working and injuring my back..i never told the company i did (this is a true story) and I now have pain. I havent worked there for about 10 years. SO I WANNA SUE!!! GOOD LUCK RIGHT!?!?!

  21. So glad to be out says:

    themic
    What a shame.
    Err evidently got a few problems, as most of what was said is fairly incomprehensible. If you know about blogs then perhaps you know that its not a good idea to rant, you lose your argument straight away. If you thought it through, the only people making money out of unpaid workers is the WTBTS.
    Please do your research and you will soon learn the amount of people who are now taking to the web to tell there story. Facebook alone has numerous ex-jw pages. One page estimates that they have 250-300 people a week joining and their admin are having to deal with the fallout as people not only tell their story but also deal with their suppressed emotions, just as you are trying to do. Please get help.

  22. steve posocco says:

    LAUGHING my head off at all APOSTATES at this great news !

    The only better than this will be when the gold digger candice conti has her entire case and verdict reversed by the u.s. subreme court !

    Just can not wait for the shock wave to go through apoatate circles when that happens !

  23. Lacy says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about JW Survey blog.
    Regards

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