It’s a bittersweet day for Candace Conti, her family and supporters, as they digest the appeal court’s reversal of the “cause of action” for Watchtower’s punitive damages in her sex abuse case.
Though the amended verdict remains a victory in the battle to highlight Watchtower’s mishandling of child abuse, it is not the crushing financial punishment that many would have hoped for.
In a court opinion released in the last few hours, it has been explained that Watchtower and the Fremont Congregation WERE negligent regarding Candace’s abuse, but only insofar as they allowed Candace and her abuser, Jonathan Kendrick, to be alone together in the preaching work unsupervised.
To that end, judgment is to be re-entered solely on the grounds that Watchtower SHOULD have supervised Kendrick, a known child molester, in the preaching work, which has been determined as a “church-sponsored activity” by the appeal court.
What the revised punitive damages will be remains to be seen, but for now the $15.6 million judgment has been effectively stripped down to just $2.8 million in compensatory damages, with the $8.6 million in punitive damages against Watchtower overturned, and Kendrick unable to pay his $4.2 million in damages.
I have reached out to both Candace, Kathleen and Rick Simons, but none are available at the moment for comment, although Simons has kindly provided me with the appeal court opinion document, which is available for download here.
As disappointing as it is that the legal system has overlooked Watchtower’s basic moral duty to warn parents of a known child molester in this particular case, irrespective of the local reporting laws, it is nonetheless a cause for celebration that Watchtower’s negligence in this case has been affirmed despite the organization’s prolonged protests.
JWsurvey.org salutes Candace Conti for her bravery in pursuing this case without thought of financial gain but purely to see justice served.
Justice HAS been served, even if the punishment is not as severe as it ought to be. Thanks to this hard-fought case, Candace Conti will go down in history as the first person to ever successfully bring legal action against Watchtower for its mishandling of child abuse.