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

  • November 2, 2014 at 11:32 am
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    8 year olds dude

  • November 2, 2014 at 11:34 am
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    Woops I was trying to reply to the guy who thinks the GB is being persecuted

  • November 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm
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    I am shocked, disgusted at the response from the watchtower society. Supposedly the Governing Body is to respect Ceasars law regarding testifying. They should be advocating and defending the victims of child abuse, not hiding as if they were criminals

  • November 2, 2014 at 5:44 pm
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    I believe that the WT stance in this case shows consistency with their worldview and beliefs. It also shows how deluded they can be.

    Rather than actually getting to the bottom of the matter and trying to work towards a solution, they left it ‘in god’s hands.’ That means that there was no solution reached.

    They did the same thing with this court case. They ignored the severity of it, thinking they were leaving it in god’ hands. Then they got smacked with reality.

    Unfortunately, there is no reality, just spin. They can say god blessed them if they win, or that satan has control of they lose.

    And the children go on being put in danger.

  • November 2, 2014 at 6:02 pm
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    I can’t work out whether the WT are arrogant or deluded….either way….”mentally diseased” comes to mind.

  • November 2, 2014 at 7:30 pm
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    The GB obeys Caesars laws to the extent they don’t interfere with Gods laws. Do you not remember anything from your indoctrination? And remember the GB are brainwashed. They sincerely believe they have the Truth and what they teach is the Truth!

  • November 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm
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    Shame Losch didn’t appear on the stand; suppose he couldn’t lower himself to such a lowly position. It would’ve been amusing to watch him squirm, and, presumably, lie and get caught.

  • November 3, 2014 at 3:12 am
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    Brother David, “they sincerely believe they have the truth” well truth doesn’t seem to come into the equation when they lie, theocratic warfare is one thing they use however that is withholding information they feel the pagans don’t deserve to know, out right lying is another issue altogether.

    Did not the GB Losch say that he was not part of the organization as a defence?

    The lawyers run the organization have done for awhile, because of all these scandals the GB just do as they say to protect themselves and by doing that they hope to protect the organization, the sheep are dispensable, they can get more to replace the stumbled, and heck they are breeding baptismal candidates and younger and younger recruits for their billion dollar business.

  • November 3, 2014 at 6:10 am
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    Without wishing to offend. Man of peace. B Dylan.

  • November 3, 2014 at 6:15 am
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    The song is found on the album Infidels.

  • November 3, 2014 at 6:51 am
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    Now for your second look at people. The carpet crawlers. Genisis (original Peter Gabriel) the lamb lies down.

  • November 3, 2014 at 7:06 am
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    Of course the mild mannered super man held in kryptonite is Christ. Interesting.

  • November 3, 2014 at 7:07 am
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    Bollocks to religion.

  • November 3, 2014 at 7:20 am
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    And the chamber of 32 doors. Thank you Lloyd.x

  • November 3, 2014 at 7:25 am
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    I am surprised the victim was 7 years old when abused in 1986. The same year, the WTS wrote:

    “Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah’s organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife swapping, and child molesting. It is to be noted, also, that during the past year, 36,638 individuals had to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation, the greater number of them for practicing immorality. Jehovah’s organization must be kept clean!” (w86 1/1 p. 13 par. 12)

    Will this organization be clean? No. Like the Tower of Babel, Watch Tower must be destroyed.

  • November 3, 2014 at 8:52 am
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    @gary, thanks for sharing your private thoughts
    on religion.
    Your marbles are still intact.

  • November 3, 2014 at 9:29 am
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    Whatever happened to the teaching about submitting oneself to the higher authorities or does this mean only when convenient?

  • November 3, 2014 at 11:59 am
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    When it’s convenient to do so.
    Allow oneself the freedom of thought.
    Now where did I put those marbles;-)

  • November 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm
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    Ok this is for the sake of arguing with a JW that may know more about legal stuff than me…What if they had some unusually righteous reason for what they did in court? Can anyone see anything there? They would have to be clutching at straws but I would like to make a defence if needed.

  • November 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm
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    To thankyouall

    The reality is .. .they didn’t come to the defence of a minor or of the good news.
    Someone somewhere in the Watchtower organization realises that putting a GB member on the witness stand for all to see would be far more costly to the Watchtower than 13 million. Unfortunately that’s the reality. Sadly the only alternative left to the Watchtower in this case was to produce a statement that makes it appear that they are the victims and as a result so as not to lose face make the statement that they will appeal the judgement:-(

  • November 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm
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    I have no connection to the Watchtower but saw the headline online and out of curiosity did a search on JW’s and lawsuits and then ex JW’S–which led me here. It seems that lawyers accross the States can smell blood in the water and are soliciting JW’s who sufered sexual abuse while the Watchtower looked the other way and even protected the molesters. The lawyers know that many more big pay days are to be had and hopefully this will sap the finances and morale of this perverted institution. Shame on the Watchtower and the JW’S who sacrifice the well being of innocent children to protect their own image.

  • November 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm
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    Hear hear well said.
    As regards the scriptures there is no scriptural justification for their stance. Only legal trickery.

  • November 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm
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    What a smart lawyer the victim has. Site a governing body member.
    Realizing that it is unlikely they will attend hence no defence. . Case won. Smart move.
    Will the Watchtowers stop defending such cases who knows? One thing is for sure though if they don’t an avalanche will begin.

  • November 3, 2014 at 3:38 pm
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    Thanks so much for your replies. I’m going to try and articulate it the simplest way that I can because most witnesses don’t think past your first sentence before they go in to shut down mode.

  • November 3, 2014 at 4:06 pm
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    I think it would be a gold mine for lawyers. All it takes is for somebody brave enough who had been molested to start asking questions to others who were the same age in the congregation as he was and if there were at least 2 who reported it and nothing was done and they were discouraged from reporting it to the police, they’d have a case. Or even if the molester admitted to the abuse but the child was threatened not to report it to the police, they’d have a case too. They were all made to be quiet about it and that’s what made it possible to continue.

  • November 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm
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    Hi Thankyouall! Did you listen to the podcast yet? It is mentioned that the judge ordered them to produce relevant documentation, they appealed that; the appeal ordered them to produce, then they went to supreme court of California, but also the supreme court ordered them to produce. But, they didn’t. Point is, a series of judges has taken a look at whether they really needed to produce, but were ordered by all those mentioned to do so. If there would have been a righteous reason, the Watchtower would have used it, and the judges would have listened.

  • November 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm
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    Hi Gareth good point. If they did have a righteous reason, they wouldn’t hesitate to put it on jw.org news & explain how they have been victims of satan’s fiery missiles.

  • November 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm
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    Thankyuoall!,
    It’s extremely unlikely that you will come across any J,W,
    who will argue points of law with you. This requires education
    and this is something that’s discouraged.

    The Bible is J,W,s, Law Book, it’s probably best to stick to that.
    1st, Peter, 3/15-16, says they should always be ready to defend
    any accusation made against them.

    The G,B, were subpoenaed to to supply documents for a pre-
    trial deposition, and Gerrit Losch was also summoned to attend,
    to give evidence under oath. The pre-trial deposition is to
    prepare for the actual trial.

    The documents were not produced, and Losch ignored the
    subpoena, so the trial, lawfully took place without their
    input. So they not only disregarded the law of the land, but. also
    Gods law, by failing to defend accusations against them.

  • November 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm
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    It makes me feel sick to my stomach to think that so many filthy goings on have been covered over in this supposedly holy organisation. All the years I was an active witness I did hear of ones acting immorally and who were subsequently disfellowshipped. I used to think don’t these people think God is watching them? How can they do such things and think they can get away with it. Surely the Most High will sort it out, He won’t have such ones in the paradise.
    To think that some poor kids have had to put up with abuse for years shows that God is not with these people.
    The GB are not man enough to accept any blame, just like Adam, they are probably saying to God, ‘Well, it’s not our fault, it’s these people you have given us.’
    May their end be according to their works!

  • November 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm
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    21 cases still pending. This will create a mass stumbling since it is mainstream news. Also the Society is settling more cases than are reported.

  • November 3, 2014 at 6:11 pm
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    Can anyone tell me, would the WTBTS have insurance to cover all these lawsuit payouts? It breaks my heart to think of all the honest contributions being used if there is no insurance. I appreciate that if there is an insurance the premiums must be getting pretty high, and those premiums have to be paid, so contributions must go toward that. Also would the WTBTS eventually get turned down for insurance, being such a high liability? I hope someone will be able to answer these questions, but not surmise.

  • November 4, 2014 at 12:07 am
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    What a remarkable interview there is on the latest jw.org podcast.. . YouTube. Wow what an eye opener. Thanks very much guys.x

  • November 4, 2014 at 2:43 am
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    @ In hindsight. I hope they don’t have insurance and I hope it bankrupts them. That is the day I’d be the happiest. I want thousands of victims to sue them so they are exposed to the world as the vermin that they are.

  • November 4, 2014 at 2:58 am
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    @ anonymous

    I agree with you completely, however if they don’t have insurance, then the hard earned money of so many genuine and Honest Witnesses’s is being used to pay these fines. Even if they are paying it from the sales of property, that was property purchased from contributed money in the first place.

  • November 4, 2014 at 4:52 am
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    In Hindsight,

    Whether the WTBTS have insurance or not is irrelevant to your concern. Either way, the “widow’s mite” is being used to pay for cases that the WTBTS could have avoided if they had instituted a fit for purpose child protection policy.

    They have yet to change their policy (two witness rule) and until they come clean and assist the authorities to root out this problem, they will continue to lose historic and current cases of child abuse.

    The two witness rule applied to boundary disputes. A rapist was put to death at the evidence of one witness if cried for help could not possibly have been heard.

    This policy has been deliberately chosen by the WTBTS. There is no scriptural basis for it. We have to ask ourselves why this policy was instituted in the first place?

    Peace be with you,

    Excelsior!

  • November 4, 2014 at 5:39 am
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    Sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace.

  • November 4, 2014 at 6:02 am
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    @ In hindsight. What happens in bankruptcy is that the properties are sold and then the monies go to whoever put it in right? So, what should happen to this business is that it should go bankrupt and all the properties sold and all the money go to the victims of child abuse within the organization. At least there would be some justice in that. The rest of the people who put money in the contribution boxes wouldn’t get any money back but they’d get what’s left of their lives back in that they wouldn’t have to go out in service anymore and go to meetings and assemblies anymore and maybe have some time to do some fun stuff instead of all the stuff they have to do now, supporting the Organization. The quicker it comes down, the quicker it will be exposed as a dangerous, time-consuming cult and expensive cult. To me, it’s worth the money lost to gain a life.

  • November 4, 2014 at 6:20 am
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    Sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace.
    Don’t think twice.

  • November 4, 2014 at 6:32 am
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    Both song ars by B Dylan describing how I view my relationship with the Watchtower. . Sad really.

  • November 4, 2014 at 6:34 am
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    For them.

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