Under Siege: Watchtower hit with fresh child abuse lawsuit
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Irwin Zalkin (left) is helping Elizabeth McFarland (right) prosecute Watchtower for the abuse she suffered as a child

Watchtower found itself under siege yesterday as yet another child abuse lawsuit was announced at a press conference in Ohio.

Plaintiff Elizabeth McFarland was between the ages of 9 and 14 when she claims to have suffered molestation at the hands of Ministerial Servant Scott Silvasy, who is said to have committed suicide some time after his abuse of Elizabeth was brought to light.

The timing of this fresh lawsuit could not be worse from Watchtower’s perspective. They continue to grapple with the Candace Conti appeal, which sources tell me is not looking promising for them. Worse still, the Society is still licking its wounds from recent damning media exposure of child abuse cover-ups in the United States and Britain.

In filing her lawsuit, Elizabeth claims to have been “frequently” abused by Silvasy, as much as several times per week. Silvasy is said to have inflicted this abuse on her at various locations including at the Kingdom Hall, at homes where book study meetings were conducted, and even at District Convention venues.

According to Elizabeth’s complaint file, elders at the Lorain West congregation knew that Silvasy had abused another girl, a relative of his, before he had opportunity to turn his attentions to her. Despite having this knowledge, Elizabeth asserts that her elders stood back and did nothing to stop Silvasy spending time with her.

It is also alleged that, when Elizabeth’s parents learned of the abuse and approached the elders to alert them to it, “no apparent action was taken” either to punish Silvasy or report his actions to the authorities. Elders are even said to have dissuaded Elizabeth’s parents from contacting the police themselves.

It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit unfolds, especially since my sources tell me that Elizabeth is in this for the long haul and is seeking justice rather than a settlement.

If successful, Elizabeth’s courageous stand in pursuing Watchtower for the harm inflicted on her could well prove to be yet another crushing blow to the organization. Evidence of Watchtower’s negligent mishandling of child abuse seems to be reaching a critical mass, and can no longer be reasonably ignored by alert and conscientious Witnesses – especially those with children.

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Responses to Under Siege: Watchtower hit with fresh child abuse lawsuit

  1. KtotheRAD "Konrad" says:

    We shall watch and see how this plays out!

  2. Audrina Bonn says:

    It’s time for the TOWER to FALL. Let the people rejoice and let the victims be VICTORIOUS!!!

  3. John says:

    Perhaps the WTBS should re-write their shunning rules to include any accused of molestation should be automatically Shunned just to be on the safe side. At least it would be effective at protecting the children. Just absolutely disgusting on part of the GB-FDS to not report these type cases. They better get their checks ready because they are going to need them more and more. As the bible tells us a Man will Reap what he sows and now the Governing Body is reaping what happens when you take the law into your own hands. You will deserve whatever comes your way more so because of your defiance of the law!

  4. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    “Be on the watch for the false prophets+ that come to YOU in sheep’s covering,+ but inside they are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15, http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/l/r1/lp-e?q=Matthew+7%3A15)

    Let us reveal to the world what is inside Jehovah’s Witnesses until we remove the “sheep’s covering”!

  5. Michael says:

    Great work cedars, keep the information flowing for all to read. Appreciate your sceptical perspective and professional news-style reporting. Lets hope these lawsuits continue also. Both the religions’ boastful selfrightous attitude and supporting of abuses have been going on for far too long now.

  6. JimmyG says:

    Hi Cedars. Have you read about the JW who has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing 4 boys in Sun Valley, California?

  7. Clayton Harrison says:

    I think your last comment is perfect, ” can no long he ignored, perticularly by those with children “. Having children of my own this is one if the biggest reasons I left the org. Another awesome blog John. Keep it up.

  8. Cedars says:

    A JWsurvey reader by the name of Jay is having trouble posting and wants to make the following comment…

    “Cedar, at least on that one (Sun Valley, CA) the elders did the right thing. At least that is what it says in the article: ‘Elders of the church came forward with information that led to Lozano’s arrest, he said.'”

    My response is: yes, if true that is very commendable, especially if it is an indication of how similar cases will be treated in the future. Given the number of victims it remains to be seen whether the elders were informed of the abuse at any stage significantly prior to their alerting authorities, but I am hopeful that these brothers have bucked a worrying trend and fulfilled their responsibility to the community at the earliest opportunity in this case.

  9. KtotheRAD "Konrad" says:

    All they did was what they always do. They saw the big giant Rottweilers ahead in the 80’s and 90’s and with contemptuous arrogance threw them a few beef chops in the form of cash settlements and Gag Orders to defer and distract while they cross slapped their hands, grabbed the lapels of their vests and puffed out their chests thinking,*That takes care of that!*
    This is how stupid and irresponsible these men actually were to believe that they could ever contain such a monster of lies or that “Jehovah” the God that they unilaterally and presumptuously, blasphemously purport to represent would bless them in doing that or at all! The Trees are represented by their fruit to be sure!
    Makes one wonder what, “The disgusting thing that causes desolation” might actually be. Rather than what The Watchtower Society has always told us it was. (???)
    Are we actually catching sight of it? Is it just The Watchtower Society? I wonder…

  10. george says:

    I am strengthened by the courage of this dear lady. When I first became aware of the covering up of child abuse in the WTBTS, it made me sick to the stomach with anger and sorrow.

    I am confident that through the courage and honour of these tragic victims, the scandal of the covering up of gross crime will end.

    May the day come soon when no further victims will have to suffer. May it come soon.

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