lopez-gonzalo-camposIt is without doubt Watchtower’s biggest courtroom defeat since the hammer-blow Candace Conti verdict of 2012. Jehovah’s Witnesses find themselves on the wrong end of a $13.5 million judgment, $10.5 million of which is earmarked as punitive damages against the Watch Tower Bible and Tracy Society of New York, Inc.

The case was filed in February 2013 after another victim of Gonzalo Campos stepped forward.

The victim, named as Jose Lopez, was just 7 years old when abused in 1986 by a man who posed as his bible mentor and a “fatherly figure.” By the time the series of attacks took place, Campos, whose conduct was known to elders as early as 1982, had already abused four other children.

Amazingly, despite there being evidence that Campos confessed his 1986 abuse of Lopez to elders, AND his abuse of another child years earlier, he eventually climbed the ranks to become an elder himself in 1993. As disgraceful as this sounds, this fits with Watchtower’s most recent policy letter, dated October 1 2012, which insists that: “It cannot be said in every case that one who has sexually abused a child could never qualify for privileges of service in the congregation.”

Currently evading US authorities in Mexico, Campos has since admitted to child sexual molestation during the period that he served in two San Diego congregations.

Lopez and Zalkin address the media at a press conference
Lopez and Zalkin address the media at a press conference

 

“Mr. Lopez has suffered for years as a result of this horrendous abuse and we are pleased that he will finally receive justice and compensation as a result of Judge Lewis’ strong ruling against the Watchtower,” says Irwin Zalkin, Mr Lopez’s attorney and increasingly a thorn in Watchtower’s side.

“The Watchtower has ignored sexual abuse complaints from its members for years, choosing to protect sexual predators and not children,” Zalkin added. “This ruling may hopefully awake the Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership to the standards of morality and care for children that our society demands.”

In a remarkable twist to this case (not picked up by the media thus far), it has emerged that Judge Lewis issued a “default judgment” against Watchtower after it refused to cooperate with court orders to present key documents and produce the longest serving member of the Governing Body, Gerrit Lösch, for a deposition.

Appointed to his position in July 1994, Gerrit Lösch is by far the longest serving member of the Governing Body
Appointed to his position in July 1994, Gerrit Lösch is by far the longest serving member of the Governing Body

Watchtower has already balked at the judgment, telling the media that it was “barred from participating” in the proceedings. However, if the organization had taken the court’s orders seriously enough in the first place, they would never have found themselves in such a predicament.

As explained in Zalkin Law Firm’s news release, which has been made available to JWsurvey: “California law permits the court to strike the answer of a defendant that refuses to abide by a court order and to enter a default judgment against them. After giving Watchtower every opportunity to comply with her order, Judge Lewis issued the terminating sanction and entered a default judgment against Watchtower. She then ordered the Zalkin Law Firm lawyers for the victim to prove their case by putting on evidence to support the allegations of the victim’s complaint. After hearing six days of testimony and presentation of written evidence, Judge Lewis was satisfied that the Plaintiff had more than adequately proved his case.”

As thinking Witnesses are left scratching their heads, wondering why their hard-earned contributions to the “world wide work” threaten to be diverted by yet another adverse sex abuse judgment, the questions continue to pile up.

What pressing matter prevented Gerrit Lösch from appearing as a witness in such an important case? Was he not concerned about the welfare of the child involved, not to mention the reputation of the organization he jointly represents? Why are the same policies that freed Gonzalo Campos to go about his despicable crimes unchecked still in place today? And how can an organization that claims to represent a God of love, justice and wisdom be condemned as “reprehensible and reckless” by a court judge?

 

 

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Further reading…

Related videos…

Listen to the interview with lawyer Irwin Zalkin on the Nov 2nd episode of JWpodcast…

(Interview starts at 0:11:10)

107 thoughts on “Watchtower ordered to pay $13.5 million in sex abuse case as Gerrit Lösch fails to testify

  • October 31, 2014 at 3:04 pm
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    Well done !

  • October 31, 2014 at 3:08 pm
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    Are these people so arrogant that they believe that they are backed by God himself no matter what they do!!

  • October 31, 2014 at 3:22 pm
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    After 135 years of being relatively successful, in PR terms, by projecting their misery making cult as little more than earnestly dotty, the current bosses simply do not know what to do.

    Presumably they are hoping that by dragging out appeals that the problem will go away.

    As more victims come forward, and the bad publicity becomes impossible to explain away, it may be that this really is the beginning of the end.

    JWs may well, in the foreseeable future, follow the Shakers, Primitive Methodists, Peculiar People and the Diggers into the history of Christendom.

    We can certainly hope so.

  • October 31, 2014 at 4:11 pm
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    short answer is yes

  • October 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm
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    Gerrit Losch failing to turn up in court is acting on the
    advise of the corporations lawyers.
    The reason being, there is simply no defence for the
    clandestine system that allows sexual predators to
    to move around congregations, their crimes being kept
    secret.

    And this based on an archaic and inappropriate two
    witness rule, that any person of even limited intelligence
    can see is completely preposterous in cases of sexual
    molestation.

    The “Lords Anointed” , No Way, they are “Nincompoops”
    and that’s how Losch would have come across under
    cross examination. They know it, that’s why he kept away.

  • October 31, 2014 at 4:52 pm
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    and just think, all they had to do from the beginning is let the authorities handle things like this, and they wouldnt be in this situation.
    two witness rule doesn’t apply apparently for being accused of being an apostate.
    two witness rule cant work for cases of fornication or adultery either, whos watching?
    yet somehow people get disfellowshiped for that.
    this is totally bizarre

  • October 31, 2014 at 6:10 pm
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    I suppose they will increase the Traveling Overseers Insurance obligation or add a new Branch Tax to the publishers, or perhaps they will somehow try to legitimize tithing to help cover these burdens now placed upon them. In either event, they poor publishers will eat the cost of their negligence, in every way.

  • October 31, 2014 at 6:15 pm
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    I just watched the video attached to this, I suppose Jehovah’s Witnesses’ light is getting brighter. All of their covered up and dark secret sins are beginning to come to light, and how bright it is!

  • October 31, 2014 at 8:09 pm
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    hallelujah! they are being exposed and more importantly the victims are getting justice.

    I pray this is the end of the WT, the r/f may start to wake up and walk, that means $$$$$

  • October 31, 2014 at 9:48 pm
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    Excellent judgment by Judge Lewis, great article by John Cedars, and good point by chatpal.

  • October 31, 2014 at 10:48 pm
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    So very happy for Lopez to finally get some form of justice and compensation for his suffering. How brave of him to take on the Watchtower. Hope his example inspires many more to take them on in the near future.

  • November 1, 2014 at 12:10 am
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    Until their tax free status is removed they can and will be able to milk out of the believers the money needed to pay off these lawsuits. Or they could just change their polices once again(divinely). I think they will change the policy but think about all those people who were hurt by the present policy. They are never held to account by the hardcore member. Many members will not know of this story ever.

  • November 1, 2014 at 12:34 am
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    Most members won’t hear the story and wouldn’t believe it if they did see it. It would take hundreds coming out at the same time for them to take any notice and even then, they probably still wouldn’t believe it and if it’s proved true, they’d chalk it up to “imperfection” and rare and “bad men creeping into the organization in the last days”. What might work is if hundreds were all awarded millions and millions and the Society would lose case after case and they went broke defending themselves and cities would not let them use stadiums any more for assemblies and no motels would let them sign up for circuit assemblies.

  • November 1, 2014 at 1:11 am
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    It would seem that Watchtower would have to be incredibly asleep at the wheel not to make any attempt to settle such a case out of court and place a gag order as a part of the settlement. It would seem most likely that they feel they have another card left to play before this is all over.

    I have not followed the trial, but if there is any way they can appeal, Watchtower will appeal the settlement and its savvy lawyers will try to pick apart the judgement on technicalities of the 6 day case that was presented. No doubt they will stall the payment as long as possible and cast as much doubt on the chances the victim has to receive any settlement. Then they will settle out of court on their own terms where the victim is silenced as part of the settlement.

    We can only hope that the GB have become spell bound by their own illusion of special powers from God. Perhaps they believe all of their rhetoric and all of their ego puffing self proclaimed prophecies of imminent doom. Hopefully they have reasoned that with so little time and with their powers they will over come anything they face.

    However reality dictates, that most likely something else is going on and we will find out soon what it is. Thankfully we will have Cedars to keep us up to date and informed so we can tell others as these events unfold.

    Thanks for the fine article.

  • November 1, 2014 at 1:25 am
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    So deluded are the Gov. Bod,. Tiger123, that yes, maybe the JW bosses imagine they can spin this and other cases out untiil Jehovah comes to the rescue and zaps the entire US legal system with his Armageddon.

  • November 1, 2014 at 4:17 am
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    I can easily answer those questions for you at the end of the article.
    Very simply they are a Authoriity unto themselves in their brainwashed Delusional minds that causes them to think and do whatever they want regardless of any law of the land.
    I just read a quote from the book In search of Christian Freedom to a 93 yr old X witness about how Raymond Franz said they REJECT anything you have to say before it is even HEARD because the Authority(GB) tells them to do so.
    And they call themselves Bible Students and educators?
    What about advise from the Bible that says Keep testing your Fairh or Hear the matter out?
    When you are Delusional in thinking that your Gods Channel to Mankind then you will do whatever you want without regard for anyone especially these poor children who are subjected to such flawed policy’s.
    Little by little they are and will pay for such obstruction of justice.
    They should listen and learn from their own advice from the Bible that nothing goes uncovered in time.

  • November 1, 2014 at 5:00 am
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    Excellent news for Mr Lopez and all the other victims of child sexual abuse in the WTBTS.

    Another case successfully prosecuted and another court that now knows the true horror of the child protection policy, oh, I mean the paedophiles protection policy, my mistake.

    I am going to write to all of the members of the committee set up by the UK government, to ask them that the WTBTS in the UK be included. Check out Katie Kitten on you tube to find out more.

    If we all take the time to write to our MPs, and the members of this committee, then I am sure that there will be a positive outcome.

    Thanks, Lloyd, for another informative article.

    Peace be with you,

    Excelsior!

  • November 1, 2014 at 7:09 am
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    Zalkin did a great job. He is exposing the WT and showing the GB up for being paedophile protectors over a policy that could simply be changed.

    Kate xx

  • November 1, 2014 at 10:06 am
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    I was a little confused about the being “barred”. But the following explanation from U-T San Diego clarified things for me:

    “The Watchtower was not allowed to put on a defense during the six-day trial because the judge ruled the governing body had repeatedly ignored her court orders to produce documents in the case, and had failed to produce the longest serving member of the organization for a deposition.”

    So they did not produce documents and the requested executive for a deposition; how cowardly! And therefore they were not allowed to defend themselves at the trial itself.

    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/oct/31/jehovahs-witness-sex-abuse-judgment-lopez/

    • November 1, 2014 at 10:08 am
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      Does watchtower think they stand above the law?? It seems very much so!!

  • November 1, 2014 at 10:14 am
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    Serves ’em right!!! The result of the trial shows that, if they cannot win, then they (GB) will stick their “anointed” head in the sand and ignore the situation. Well, it’s hard to ignore the $13.5M damages and many other damages that will come forth in the future. What’s worse is the damage that it has done, and continuing to do so, to the children in these cult congregations. It’s horrible that a figure is looked at as trusting by a child is molested by that person. There’s not enough money to exact the real justice to correct that!

    Bet you won’t hear about this from the bethel blow-hards in the next internet TV or video disc handout.

  • November 1, 2014 at 11:55 am
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    The Watchtower seems to have deliberately manipulated people by saying they were ‘barred’ from the case. Who has ever heard of a defense being barred from defending itself? Absolute bullshite.

  • November 1, 2014 at 12:19 pm
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    The truth of the matter is this. . it would be far more costly for the Watchtower if a GB member gave testimony in court than pay a settlement. Weak bastards. Well done for putting the victim first. And if you don’t have the guts to appear before a human court how do you think you’ll get with God?

  • November 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm
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    And of course from a scriptural point of view we are led to believe that God appoints the judiciary.

  • November 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm
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    This case was reported on good morning America this morning. It was on the news ticker. My mother who is fully indoctrinated saw it. She texted me to ask if I knew about it. She googled it and found out about the other cases as well. This may not wake her up but it could be the start. I imagine a lot of witnesses in the US will hear some coverage of this case.

  • November 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm
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    All people who question the Governing Body will face swift judgement at the fast-approaching great day of God Almighty.

    • November 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm
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      …to people who claimed to speak in God’s name and their predictions didn’t come true?

      20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”

      How do we identify this false prophet?

      21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?”
      22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

      I don’t think I need to go into all the GB’s changes in doctrine and false predictions. And I can find where in their literature they have likened themselves to the prophet Jeremiah.

      So let me rephrase that for you:

      “– the Governing Body will face swift judgement at the fast-approaching great day of God Almighty.”

  • November 1, 2014 at 5:01 pm
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    Wicked men and apostates have used civil authorities to ‘frame trouble in the name of the law’, as Psalm 94:20 explains. However, these attempts to deprive true Christians of their Constitutional rights to free exercise of religion will certainly meet with defeat. The same God who gave Moses as a gift to the Israelites has given us the Governing Body as a sign of His special favor. Just as wicked Korah was consumed by fire, the men who do not remain in union with the Governing Body will find themselves consumed by the terror of alienation from God himself.

  • November 1, 2014 at 5:29 pm
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    So you’re saying that we approach God not through Jesus, but through the governing body? Because that’s the only way opposing these men could equal alienation from god. Interesting official doctrine change. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

  • November 1, 2014 at 11:49 pm
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    It amazes me (it really does).
    There’s no doubt that some of the Watchtowers legal department have sharp legal minds. Like most legal counsel’s they can find points of law to their legal advantage and spin it that way. How is it they cannot see through the Watchtower erroneous teachings?
    Could they earn a larger wage elsewhere?
    I wonder whether, at times, is their conscience in conflict between what they believe and the counsel they give?

    • November 2, 2014 at 4:08 am
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      Most probably their wallet overrules their conscience.

      Their fancy lawyers are certainly not in the legal

      department. They are not Bethelites or even brothers.

      They are expensive outside lawyers

  • November 2, 2014 at 12:02 am
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    Consider the Watchtowers duplicity regarding the Bulgarian government/blood and the right to freedom of speech. How do they not see it?

  • November 2, 2014 at 12:13 am
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    They were ‘barred’ from giving a defence? No. They refused to answer the courts request and as a consequence of their actions could no longer participate. It’s a legal smoke screen. In plain English. . bullshit.

  • November 2, 2014 at 12:29 am
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    Wouldn’t speak to the courts but hey they can speak to the media. Hypocrities.

  • November 2, 2014 at 1:59 am
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    @What happened to Korah?

    What is your real name? Why are you not putting your real name on your post? Is it because you know that you can be identified as going on to “apostate” web sites then and be disfellowshipped for it? That makes you seem like a real coward to me.

    Do you have any real evidence that the Watchtower Society Governing Body has been appointed by God or do you just take their word for it because they say they have been appointed by God? Show us some evidence and we will believe you and Cedars has said he’d even take down this web site. Please show us some evidence and not just empty words from the scriptures that we all are familiar with.

    • November 2, 2014 at 10:25 am
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      Hi anonymous. “Why are you not putting your real name on your post?” says the woman posting under the name “anonymous” haha ;-). Sorry, I value your posts in general, but had to bring this one up, the pot-kettle level was too high for me :-P.

  • November 2, 2014 at 2:59 am
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    There is plenty of evidence that the GB have not been appointed by God because they lie, they have defamed others by misquoting them, they deceive JW by deliberately changing their history, the use theocratic warfare on their own people, they stand up in caught crying clergy privilege defending the criminal while throwing the victims to the curb.

    And there is much much more, they have changed the baptismal questions that Christ commanded his followers to obey, to the authority of the GB this is real apostacy against God who gave all authority to his Son.

    I don’t know what God Korah worships but its not the same God Jesus worships.

    The devil is the Father of the lie, and to think that God would appoint liars to shepherd his flock in what JW call the time of the end when all will stream to the mountain of God (the org) is a slap in the face to the very God Korah claims to worship.

  • November 2, 2014 at 4:29 am
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    Ahh, I see.

  • November 2, 2014 at 6:00 am
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    Is there a neutral link to that law firm document not hosted by this site?

  • November 2, 2014 at 6:16 am
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    Anonymous Researcher,

    Try looking up the law firm’s web site. Also, you can view court documents relating to this case.

    I commend your healthy scepticism. In this case, there will be ample proof that everything Lloyd stated in his article is accurate.

    This case, sadly, is the tip of the iceberg. If you continue your research you will come to know the true depths of depravity the WTBTS is capable of.

    Peace be with you,

    Excelsior!

  • November 2, 2014 at 8:24 am
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    Korah is well indoctrinated with the g bs, duplicitous reasoning.
    When court decisions go in their favour, it’s Gods doing, but
    when they go against them, it’s the bad guy and all his apostates.

    Korah seems to have conveniently forgotten or omitted to
    mention, that supreme courts around the world have established
    J,Ws, rights in such issues as the right to preach door to door,
    and neutrality etc.

    As well as establishing human rights, courts also prosecute bad
    guys for serious crimes, such as covering up pedophile activity,
    even though the bad guys claim to represent the almighty.

    Many Catholic dioceses have been bankrupted because of
    compensation awarded to victims of pedophilia.
    ( I’ll bet Korah agrees with the courts ruling in those cases.)

    It’s apparent the courts are acting impartially, and to claim they
    are Satan’s agents for persecuting the g,b, is ridiculous and is
    the opinion of a biased mind exposed to W,T, spin.

  • November 2, 2014 at 9:50 am
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    I found out a couple of years ago my JW daughter was taking our grandchildren over to a convicted JW child molester house.And it was the same pervert to molest my niece,her father and my brother, is an elder.When I found about it I told them and her husband was upset at 1st,because none of their friend that knew never said anything to them.They ended up brushing it off.But their same friends that they have are working overtime on them to keep them from them associating with us and allowing our grandchildren to see us.I live a clean life.I do not smoke or drink.We walk on egg shells to try and not say anything against the organization.We are losing the battle here and it breaks my wife’s heart,also mine.I hoping that the organization really get exposed how destructive they are on families and how it is just another mind controlling cult.

  • November 2, 2014 at 9:56 am
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    Also this was my 1st post here.Been reading this site for a year now.Thanks Cedars for the work you are doing here.I am in the same boat here with you guys.I have been out of the organization for 15 years now.

  • November 2, 2014 at 11:04 am
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    I brought this subject up to a family member who is a devote Witness. She said that many bad things are being said about JW’s, and that it’s because they are being persecuted just like Jesus was. It’s frustrating, because she was brainwashed to believe that, just as I was. But, I believe, that many Witnesses have doubts inside of them that they keep pushing aside. The main difference now is, that the internet is bringing the false beliefs to light. More and more Witnesses are looking into the websites (whether by accident or out of curiosity) and seeing that their doubts are being validated. This is very hopeful to me…for I would like to see the organization revealed for what it is, and for my family to be able to leave it.

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