Jehovah’s Witnesses Lose California Child Abuse Case, Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court – Part One

“Jehovah’s Witnesses again find their First Amendment rights under attack and again seek protection.”

With these words, Watchtower attorney Paul Polidoro pleads the case of an embattled church struggling to re-define clergy-penitent privilege while spending millions of dollars protecting an ever-growing database of child abusers and their victims.

What began in California as a binge of molestation by a now-defrocked, incarcerated Jehovah’s Witness elder has landed before the United States Supreme Court, which must decide whether the constitutional rights of the controversial religion have been violated.

The underlying case is a 2013 civil lawsuit commonly referred to as “JW versus Watchtower.” JW represents the initials of one of the victims of former Jehovah’s Witness elder Gilbert Simental, who is now serving 45 years to life for his crimes.

This article will discuss the backdrop of the case, beginning with the abuse and subsequent criminal trial which set these events in motion.

The Background of this Case

It was a hot Southern Californa Summer day.

On July 15th, 2006, the mother of nine-year-old JW anxiously packed an overnight bag for her daughter. This was JW’s very first sleepover, and it was the first time she’d ever spent a night away from home, apart from family. She was very excited.

Like any other concerned parent, JW’s mother needed some assurance that she was sending her daughter to a safe place. Her friends often commented on how protective she was of her children. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she thought she could trust fellow member Gilbert Simental and his wife.

So she thought.

After all, he had been an elder since May 1996 and hosted a congregation meeting in his home for 13 years. On October 31, 2005, Simental had “stepped down” from his position as elder, but his reason seemed innocuous: he needed to spend more time with his son.

The congregation still treated Simental with respect. He would often conduct the weekly “bookstudy” meeting, and was almost always the person who read the paragraphs from the publication being studied. He took the lead in other congregation assignments, such as Kingdom Hall cleaning and maintenance.

Simental had a daughter close to the age of JW So it came as no surprise that JW was invited to the Simental home for a slumber party, along with two other Witness girls – sisters – also the same age.

There was no warning for what was about to happen on July 15th. The events of that day would forever change the lives of young JW and her family.

If only they had been informed.

The 1997 Watchtower Letter

On March 14th, 1997, Watchtower Headquarters in New York sent a letter to all Jehovah’s Witness congregations informing them that the organization was aware that some child molesters were serving in prominent, appointed positions within the church.

One week later, JW was born.

Gilbert Simental was already a known child molester. Local Elders and the Watchtower organization were well aware of the allegations against this man. But this knowledge was well-concealed from the parents of JW and her little friends. They never saw it coming.

“It may be possible that some who were guilty of child molestation were or are now serving as elders, ministerial servants, or regular or special pioneers. Others may have been guilty of child molestation before they were baptized. The bodies of elders should not query individuals. However, the body of elders should discuss this matter and give the Society a report on anyone who is currently serving or who formerly served in a Society-appointed position in your congregation who is known to have been guilty of child molestation in the past.”

– March 14th 1997 Letter to Elders

Watchtower’s letter revealed that the organization was accumulating a detailed inventory of child molesters and their victims, but not with the intent of referring congregation elders to law enforcement or child protection agencies. All matters involving child molestation were to be handled internally.

According to Riverside Criminal prosecutor Burke Strunsky, “This case is about a daylong molestation spree on the part of the defendant, Gilbert Simental. He exploited the innocence and trust of his own daughter’s slumber party by fondling her childhood friends. Three little girls, nine-year-old Holly*, her ten-year-old sister Amy*, and nine-year-old Laura* were all left in the care of Simental, a member of the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, not to mention a close friend of the family.”

*[names have been changed]

Simental initiated his crimes in broad daylight, in his own swimming pool with his wife nearby – seemingly unaware that her husband was using a pool of water to shield what he was doing with his hands. By nightfall, his crimes escalated to the premeditated sexual assault of three innocent girls who were already in a state of shock from earlier events.

Strunsky, now a California Superior Court judge, has written a book titled: The Humanity of Justice, in which he details some of the most egregious crimes he’s prosecuted on behalf of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Chapter 7 of this book is devoted entirely to the atrocities of Gilbert Simental, and the subsequent obstruction of justice by the Jehovah’s Witness elders involved.

The Cover-Up

The crimes committed by Simental on July 15, 2006, left the girls in a state of confusion and disbelief. Fortunately, two of the girls were sisters, and one month after the sleepover, they timidly approached their parents and revealed what had occurred at the Simental home.

They borrowed each other’s strength and decided to get help. Not only were the girls in fear of this man within their church environment, but Simental’s daughter attended their school, which meant they would see him in multiple places. They knew they had to do something.

The girls’ parents were active Jehovah’s Witnesses, so they did what every Witness is told to do when there’s a problem: they called the elders. They thought perhaps that the congregation clergy could protect their girls within the boundaries of the congregation. However, the elders had no authority at school. So their mother called the school principal, not recognizing that teachers and school officials are mandatory reporters.

The principal immediately contacted law enforcement. A criminal investigation was launched into the allegations against Simental.

Meanwhile, congregation elders conducted their own internal investigation of the crimes committed, seeking out both Simental and his accusers. During the course of their probe, Simental confessed to some of the accusations against him, but convinced congregation elders that he was repentant. As a result, he was “reproved” – the Jehovah’s Witness equivalent of a slap on the wrist.

When the police came calling, however, Simental suddenly realized that his confession might send him to prison for the rest of his life.

The Watchtower organization and local elders did not want to see that happen. Congregation elders John Vaughn and Andrew Sinay, under strict procedural orders from Watchtower of New York, were issued subpoenas to testify. They declined. On February 15th, 2008, Simental’s attorney filed a motion to quash Sinay’s subpoena. One week later, he filed another motion to quash, this time to prevent Vaughn from testifying.

Simental’s attorney argued that his confession to the two investigating elders was a confidential discussion, protected by clergy-penitent privilege.

The law, and Prosecutor Strunsky saw things differently:

The confessions of a pedophile should …never be treated as classified information inadmissable in a court of law…In my years as a prosecutor in child abuse cases, I’ve learned that there’s no faith community, whether it’s a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple that’s fully prepared to deal with these cases; someone who has the perverse urge to sexually abuse children needs professional intervention. Religious institutions’ refusal to bring the crime into the light leaves the innocent child to live in silent pain, confusion, and shame.

The Humanity of Justice by Burke Strunsky

Strunsky’s Strategy

Long before a civil lawsuit was initiated against Watchtower and the Congregations involved in this crime, the elders associated with this case invoked clergy-penitent confessional privilege.

In effect, this amounted to an obstruction of justice, framed by U.S. First Amendment freedom of religion. The problem was, Gilbert Simental did not reach out to congregation elders to confess his crimes.

He was caught.

The two sisters who were friends of JW approached their parents, who summoned the elders instead of the police. The elders conducted their own investigation into the crimes, a fact that by definition disqualifies their discussions with Simental as clergy-penitent privilege.

However clear these facts appeared to the court, prosecutor Strunsky needed more. He wanted undisputed proof that the elders of a so-called confidential judicial committee would share information about Simental’s confession with other elders, either in the same congregation or elsewhere.

The answer was found in Watchtower’s own secret elders manual, Pay Attention to Yourselves and all the flock.

Prior to the global availability of highly confidential manuals and policy letters of the Jehovah’s Witness organization, attorneys representing victims had to rely upon other attorneys filing similar cases in separate jurisdictions. Strunsky obtained the “Flock” book from lawyers representing multiple additional victims of abuse across the United States.

He found the evidence he needed to compel testimony from the two non-cooperative elders.

“By knowing the judicial committees’s internal procedures and protocols, I could ask these resistant witnesses the kinds of detailed questions that would hopefully lead to the truth ..Without this book I could have never uncovered the protocols and mandates of the organization’s disciplinary hearing procedures”

– The Humanity of Justice – Burke Strunsky

Under oath, Elder Andrew Sinay was questioned repeatedly about the Jehovah’s Witness policy of relaying the notes and content of one Judicial Committee to a second Judicial Committee, known as an Appeals Committee. The Appeals Committee is comprised of at least three different elders, usually from different congregations. These men would have access to all notes and files from a disfellowshipping case in which the accused could exercise his right to appeal the decision of the Elders.

The Humanity of Justice Burke Strunsky
The Humanity of Justice

Judge Dickerson ordered Sinay to answer Strunsky’s pointed questions, which revealed that the contents of Witness judicial proceedings did not qualify as clergy-pentitent communications. Not by a long shot.

Sinay also admitted that it was the elders’ practice to send copies of the elders’ notes, disfellowshipping forms and other documentation to Watchtower’s New York Headquarters, where their Service and Legal departments collect and process this data.

As a consequence of this ruling. the elders were compelled against their will to testify against Simental, leading to his conviction.

Gilbert Simental was found guilty of three counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 14. In 2008 he was sentenced to 45 years to life for his crimes. At his sentencing hearing, a sizable group of Jehovah’s Witnesses demonstrated solidarity with Simental, appealing for a more lenient sentence. JW and her parents were treated as if they broke the congregation code of silence.

The Aftermath of the Criminal Trial

Prior to the criminal trial, on August 12, 2006, congregation elders announced that Simental was publicly reproved. A JW Survey source confirmed that the reproval was on the grounds of “loose conduct.”

Elders deemed that Simental was a reformed, repentant child molester who did not deserve to be disfellowshipped, despite the fact that he had confessed to multiple counts of child sexual abuse.

Additional evidence surfaced during the criminal trial which linked Simental to the abuse of several victims more than 30 years prior to his arrest.

Simental’s own niece told investigators that he had molested her when she was seven years old. The jury would not hear this evidence however, as the trial had already begun. In the end, the prosecution had sufficient evidence to convict even without the newly discovered victims.

The Civil Trial: JW versus Watchtower

Simental appealed, lost the case and was sent to prison. His wife was forced to separate or lose custody of her own children.

Meanwhile, the parents of JW wanted answers. Why was a known pedophile appointed to the position of Ministerial Servant in 1993, then elder in 1996? Why was he left unsupervised around so many children- not just his own? Why was he only “Reproved” after being convicted on multiple counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child?

The family wanted an explanation.

After multiple attempts to communicate with Watchtower headquarters in New York, the parents of JW were left in the dark, shut off, disconnected. They knew Watchtower was withholding mountains of evidence connected to Simental, but they weren’t about to release any of it to the family.

Elders met with Simental again in 2009, forming yet another internal judicial committee while the perpetrator was behind bars. He appealed. The family of JW sought legal representation. Ultimately, the civil case was turned over to the San Diego-based Zalkin Law Firm, which has litigated scores of Jehovah’s Witness sexual abuse lawsuits.

On May 19th, 2010, Gilbert Simental was finally disfellowshipped, nearly four years after he molested multiple girls.

By the time this action was taken, it was far too late. The damage was done, and questions remained unanswered.

There was only one way to flush out the facts: Take Watchtower to court.

In 2013, the family of JW filed a civil lawsuit against the Mountain View Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the French Valley Congregation, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, and the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It was the only way to get answers.

For five years, Watchtower fought vigorously against JW and her family, refusing to turn over scores of documents pertinent to the case, and which revealed the epidemic of child abuse within the Jehovah’s Witness organization.

The Riverside Superior Court of California ruled in favor of JW and awarded her a default judgment in excess of 4 million dollars. Watchtower filed multiple appeals, losing every time. Watchtower was forced to purchase a bond for $6,024,228.58 from Travelers Insurance Company to guarantee the judgment during the appeal.

In a final gasp of desperation, Watchtower has filed an appeal with the highest court in the United States: The Supreme Court. In part two of this article, we will review this appeal, and the opposition motion filed by JW’s attorneys.

On February 1st, 2012, convicted child molester Gilbert Simental was reinstated into the Mountain View Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He remains in prison.

“The only way we can make a difference is to put our fears aside and fight for what’s right.

-a message from survivors of abuse and their families

Mark O'Donnell

Mark O'Donnell is a former Jehovah's Witness turned whistleblower after discovering the disturbing child abuse epidemic within the religion. His story, along with the revelation of a secret database of child molesters were featured in the March 2019 online issue of the Atlantic Magazine: O'Donnell continues to investigate allegations of child abuse within the Witness organization, and works with law enforcement, attorneys, and survivors of abuse, writing about his findings on and other outlets.

56 thoughts on “Jehovah’s Witnesses Lose California Child Abuse Case, Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court – Part One

  • August 9, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    This organization is morally bankrupt and worthy of nothing less than complete condemnation. Their behavior deserves to be plastered on EVERY news network in the country…and the world.t

  • August 9, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Incredible that this criminal behavior is what it takes for some JWs to wake up to the evil inside Watchtower corporation — who so obviously shields criminals. I’m grateful for the “worldly” courts who have way more sense of morality than most Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  • August 9, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Great work Mark. You’re doing some really important work here. Thanks for taking the time to explain all these very complicated legal proceedings in an easy to understand way.

    • August 12, 2019 at 8:22 pm

      Your work is great. It’s so important what you do.

  • August 9, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Good work Mark. Thanks for keeping us informed. I am looking forward to Watchtower in my country being investigated, as Watchtower Australia was by the Royal Australian Commission.

  • August 9, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Mark O’Donnell, thank you for this reporting on the Jehovah’s witnesses organization and your courage. I hope this helps many more to understand why they should leave such an empire of evil that abuses innocence.

  • August 9, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you so much for summarizing this so clearly and objectively…

  • August 9, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    If only this were a one-off case, but sadly the modus operandi is the same all over the world. Here in the UK, the same non cooperative attitude, the same desire to cover up, and of course the same pain to victims and families. Continuing court defeats and heavy payments seem to be the only lever to get JWs to recognise this.

  • August 9, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    Great article and work. You should be very proud of yourself Mark.

  • August 9, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    It is all about their phony image to the world. Nothing to do with what is right and protecting the children.

  • August 9, 2019 at 11:57 pm

    Matthew 7:19-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

    19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.


    Well done Mark! Thank you for this brilliant summary!

  • August 10, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Hi Mark, excellent writing and thank you for sharing this story. I do have some questions and I do hope you can help. I recently moved back to my home town of Ontario, California and once attended the Mountain View Congregation in Ontario, CA from 1995-1998. Oddly enough my home is in the Mountain View Congregation territory. Am I right to assume that this is the same Mountain View Congregation (in the Ontario/Upland area)? I ask because sometimes there are Kingdom Halls with the same names. I feel like I’m 90% certain I’m right. Thanks Mark.

    • August 10, 2019 at 12:23 pm


      As far as I can see, this is the same congregation. If this is in Riverside County, I can’t imagine that there would be more than one congregation with the same name in the same county

  • August 10, 2019 at 12:54 am

    Excellent article Mark. Will it ever end.

  • August 10, 2019 at 4:06 am

    Solid work Mark. Thank you and look forward to more.

  • August 10, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Thank you.

    I appreciate your work more than you can imagine.

  • August 10, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Thank you so much Mark for taking the time to keep us abreast of ALL the facts of the continuing disgusting behaviour of this morally corrupt CULT. Every jw needs to know that their org’s. attorneys are fighting to keep child sex abuse case files out of court cases, claiming its their right. You could not make this up.
    If another jw try’s to tell me that elders don’t hide child sex abusers I will want to scream, why can they not see – if they don’t report the abuser to the police – then they are protecting him from the law of the land.

  • August 10, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for keeping us informed John.

    The US Federal Supreme Court will most likely not hear this case, as that court has got more important matters to hear than a case that has no legal merit. The elders from that congregation and those at Bethel who received information concerning this case clearly do not have clergy-penitent privilege, because clergy members cannot disclose confessions to other people, if they are to retain that privilege-see the citation below, at the bottom of my post. The only legal hope WT attorneys could have is the slim chance the US Supreme Court’s reason to hear their case is to vacate the present judgment, throw the case back to the lower CA court, and give that lower court an order to give WT another chance to comply with court orders to supply documents, subject to a smaller fine. Remember, something similar happened in another case reported on this site, when a higher court ruled a lower court gave too stiff a penalty for non-compliance, in that court’s summary judgment. There WT was given a second chance to comply.

    But I feel the victim should hold out for the whole 4 million dollar default judgment she was awarded. I’m pretty sure WT attorneys already know they have no winnable case, and that it is extremely unlikely the US Supreme court will hear such a weak case. WT attorneys are most like, instead, trying to stretch this case out so long, in its state of uncertainty, as an attempt to get the victim to take a settlement, relieving WT of a guilty verdict and having to pay such a large award.

    “There are two views held by state courts regarding confidentiality as it pertains to clergy privilege. In two-thirds of the states, a communication is considered confidential if made privately and not intended for further disclosure except to other persons present for the purpose of the communication. In one-third of the states, privileged communication means a communication made in confidence only to the minister, with no third person present.” (

  • August 10, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Having briefly read through the watchtower request to the Supreme Court they state they had no knowledge of Simintel’s background, this could make you think they didn’t know he was a child molester, what evidence is there that he was a known paedophile to the watchtower? Thanks

    • August 10, 2019 at 12:34 pm


      I believe what Watchtower is claiming is that as far as the civil case is concerned, there are no documents admitted during discovery which establish Simental’s behavior back in 1975-1976 when he was disfellowshipped the first time, and when his niece and others reportedly accused him of molestation. It is very possible those documents from the 1970s were destroyed, and without them the criminal and civil trials had to stand on the merits of the evidence they had from the more recent allegations of sexual abuse.

      it is important to remember that whenever documents disappear, Elders and Watchtower will immediately deny that certain reports ever took place. For example, in the Montana case, Holly told elders about Max Reyes abuse back in 1998. However because they did not have any documentation, the called Holly a liar and claimed that she never told the elders anything in 1998. The went further and claimed that the only reason that Holly brought up 1998 was for $$$. Yes- that’s exactly what Watchtower attorney Joel Taylor wrote on a whiteboard and showed the jury. He wrote 1998, then drew an arrow to dollar signs and said it was all fabricated for money.

      So in the end, this is why documentation is so important. Documents may well exist, but Watchtower and Elders are in the habit of withholding ALL documentation on the basis of clergy-penitent or attorney-client privilege.

      • August 10, 2019 at 2:04 pm

        Thank you very much for the reply, and also all your hard work, it really is exceptional, please keep it up

  • August 10, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    How they continue to lie and feel that it’s justified is beyond me. The only thing that this proves is that they don’t believe Jehovah exists or they would have to believe they would have to answer to him. So it’s a circle of lies they can’t get out of or explain.
    They know they are lying and this is just to make other look bad. And all to save money and to drag in more donations.
    We had a letter read out in Ireland saying now that “our” branch is near completion can we donate more money. It’s in Britain why are they ruling over Ireland. Do they not know our history??
    But it’s all money for fancy gardens and houses for the few. And pay off abuse victims. How can they possibly hold a charity status? Why money goes to help anyone?

    • August 23, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      Obviously there is something wrong with this “Jehovah” entity, otherwise how could He be so wrong and allow his Holy Spirit to chose criminals to run His supposed organization. Either this God doesn’t know everything, is okay with child molesters (he was okay with Nazis killing millions of babies), or is just a myth (like the gods of Mount Olympus).

  • August 10, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Hopefully we shall see the complete demise of such a shameful deceitful organisation
    I could write an essay about how judgemental and self important these people become, you only have to observe the conduct of the governing body to realise how arrogant an organisation this is.
    They really believe that they are the only true religious channel on earth today
    Let’s see if their God Jehovah will exhonerate them and save them some morey, that’s where it hurts them, in their pockets.
    They are worse than the scribes and the Pharisees,
    Absolute Hypocrites!!!
    That’s my rant over

  • August 10, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Excellent coverage, Mark, and the further discussion in the comments section is valuable too. Looking forward to part 2. I have been having the most ridiculous conversation on Quora with a couple of JWs about the Australian royal commission and CSA within the JW ranks and their level of defence and denial is just unbelievable.

    • August 10, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Actually to me it proves they completely believe in Jehovah and their on bs. To them adhering to their view of justice and their judicial findings, is proof they are God directed and their judicial ways are far superior to the courts of the land. This is evidence of true Watchtower delusion.

      • August 10, 2019 at 5:57 pm

        Correction that should read own bs

        • August 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

          What really bites is that in believing their own bull and defending their religion, they display zero empathy with, or sympathy for, those traumatised, damaged child victims. Nothing. This is a religion that promotes Bible reading, supposedly displays a rare warmth and love for others and tries daily to emulate the outlook of Christ. In so many ways they are cold, heartless and unfeeling.

          • August 23, 2019 at 2:56 pm

            The hallmarks of a true cult!

  • August 10, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    This report very much appreciated, Mark. I tried to comb thru some of the papers filed by WT but it’s uphill work, so thank you for wading in and interpreting. The info makes me so sad for the girls, but happy that the case is getting publicity. –Regarding the shocking last paragraph, that made me feel gut-punched, it’s almost as though causing pain is a recreational hobby in this religion.

  • August 11, 2019 at 7:22 am

    Fantastic article Mark keep up your great work and blessings from Ireland

    • August 11, 2019 at 8:17 am

      If you are in Ireland can you tell me how Elders in Ireland are being deleted for reporting child abuse the the police are not prosecuting WT?
      It’s illegal to punish anyone who reports child abuse under Irish law. This was set up to protect those in institutions and homes from loosing their jobs or not being promoted. So why not also prosecute WT for deleting elders. They have lost positions they will not be promoted and they have lost face in the community. All of this is illegal and the WT should be brought to answer for it.

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  • August 11, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    Why in Ireland have the WT not been prosecuted for deleting elders? Under the child protection act it is illegal to punish someone who reports child abuse. This was put in place to stop institutions from making it difficult to report abusers. If someone is not promoted or if they lost a position because of it. The institute or company would be prosecuted and fined for doing this. Why doesn’t the same apply to WT deleting elders. Is this not illegal? That means they are going against the laws and God and Rom: 13. By punishing elder who reported child abuse.
    Can something be done?

    • August 12, 2019 at 7:01 am

      Hello Terry,

      In California, United States, the mandatory reporting law states that no administration supervising mandated reporters can impede the reporting of a reasonable suspicion. If they do they are subject to the same penalty a mandatory reporter receives for failing to report. That could include a jail sentence and/or a fine?

      You raised a good question, as a policy dismissing mandated reporters for not following instructions from administration not to report creates an environment in the organization that impedes proper reporting. I believe that is one of the reasons attorneys have been taking on civil cases against WT, in various countries. Some months back John Redwood posted an article in which he wrote some elders were criminally fined for not reporting. If I remember correctly WT was fined also, but I think JR said it was the first time that happened.

      As for the dismissed elders having any legal civil recourse? I doubt it. Because they have no contract with WT. Also, to win a civil case a plaintiff has to have been damaged. Elders don’t get paid, and I don’t believe they could win such a case claiming defamation. But your point about a criminal penalty seems valid to me.

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  • August 12, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Wonderfully written article, Mark. I enjoy the way you break down these court cases in an easy-to-understand way.

  • August 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Daniel Schwartz is a child molester. He assaulted me, choked me out, and tried to penetrate me with a broomstick. He is still in good standing at North Congregation in Toledo, OH.

    • August 23, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      Please report this to the authorities!

  • August 13, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Good Work Mark in exposing this little known tactic of Jehovah’s Witnesses in not reporting child abuse to police and leaving JW children open to child abusers. I attended KH’s in the area in the early 80’s and one of his sons or nephews I don’t remember which was in our Cong in the Sunnymead area of Riverside County.

  • August 14, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Did everyone see the post on this page that Zalkin is suing the Governing Body? If he files a class action suit I wonder if he can get an injuction against the GB and WT that will prohibit them and their attorneys from telling elders not to notify Child Protection Services? If Zalkin can stop them from doing that then this whole farce of noncompliance will be over. Because as soon as the elders start getting sued on their own without WT backing, all WT elders will start complying with reporting laws. My guess if that happens WT will actually tell elders to report every reasonable suspicion to cover its own rear end, and not to take a chance on being out of compliance with such an injunction.

    All of the WT reasons for not reporting are lies. WT knows the reasons it gives has nothing to do with Bible scriptures and everything to do with its reputation and possibly the money it could lose in lawsuits if it admits its policies were illegal. Sooner or later reporting policies will change with WT.

    • August 15, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Sooner it’s starting to look like ? Lol

  • August 14, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Great Article Mark, i was an Elder in the late 90’s in Australia & don’t recall any letters regarding child molestation, the only thing i do remember was at an Elders School where i was on a panel discussing the issue of a convicted pedo moving in to the congo, we were supposed to keep this confidential, i stated in private to the CO that i couldn’t do that & if the person re offended then we would be just as guilty, the reply was you just have to keep an eye on them, well i said we can;t watch them 24/7, so i would be quietly warning people, it never happened.Here we are 20 plus years later & we have had 2 recent cases here on a cover up, knowing people involved we are seeing lies, bullying & a CO pulling the pin & quiting, so much corruption, i can’t understand how these men still believe these stories are all satanic lies, they are saying the same about the Australain Royal Commision, stagering.

  • August 14, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Here is a comparison between the type of actions taken by the GB (WT) and Christ. I believe it’s a relevant point of consideration whether you believe in the Bible and Christ or not, since the GB not only claim to follow Christ as his FOOT-STEP FOLLOWERS, but the GB also insists they are the only ones that can ACCURATELY INTERPRET SCRIPTURE today.

    1.The GB spend most of their time, as far as most Witnesses can tell, making sure all Christ’s TRUE disciples understand CORRECT Bible doctrines (correct scriptural understanding).
    2. Christ spent most of his teaching efforts telling people to follow him and believe he was their savior. Though the people he taught believed different doctrinal ideas about scripture Christ didn’t spend a great effort debating doctrinal ideas or condemning followers of the Jewish faith that had doctrinal beliefs that were different than his. For instance, Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection. Pharisees believed in it. While Christ spoke of a resurrection he didn’t seem to make a big issue of that conflicting belief of the Sadducees. And what about all those Jewish rituals? Christ may not have observed some of them, but he didn’t spend a great effort explaining how wrong observing those were, or how pagan they were.


    1. The GB and WT will surely nail a member or kick them out of their church for various reason. For instance, Eric Wilson was recently kicked out of the Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, even though he voluntarily stopped attending meetings and left the Kingdom Hall four years ago. Despite the fact he left the congregation so long ago WT elders tracked him down after four years to tell him he is now kicked out.
    2. Who did Christ EVER kick out of his religion? No one! Who did he try to get kicked out of his religion by going to those in charge and accusing them of something worthy of expulsion? No one!

    Does anyone who reads this site believe the two witness rule of WT means not to obey the biblical command in Romans, given to all Christians, to obey governmental authority? WT doesn’t either, as WT is not THAT stupid!!! Government laws legally require reporting don’t they?. .

    • August 15, 2019 at 11:32 pm

      There’s an easy way to beat the constant confusion, messenger. Just realize the Bible is a clumsy attempt by Man to explain life, the universe and everything and as such is unworkable in reality. Two thousand years of trying and still nothing but confusion and hypocrisy. What did Einstein say?….something like; ‘the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time’.

      • August 16, 2019 at 10:37 pm

        Outy, hey buddy, I don’t believe you understand what the Bible says. WT doesn’t understand it either, and look where that’s led them. Not that I am comparing your actions with the exact actions WT takes, but I am comparing yours with WT’s, as both yours and their actions are influenced by not understanding scripture. You can look at WT and see where that has led them, and yet it is impossible for you to see you have been led also, because of it.

        So, here’s another point; can someone who doesn’t know what something means have a meaningful opinion about it to share with others? Yes, but their opinion could only be meaningful to other people who don’t understand the real meaning. Again, I could use WT to prove that point to you. Because only JWs believe WT’s misinterpretation of scripture and act on those wrong interpretations. It is meaningingful to them only, because like WT, JWs fail to understand the actual meaning of scripture. What would make that idea work in differently with you, and the people who feel you make a valid point, if they also don’t understand scripture?

        • August 17, 2019 at 3:06 pm

          The point, messenger, is that ok, you have your version of the bible and millions of others have their version. People find their own truth by essentially cherry picking what suits and pretending what doesn’t suit doesn’t exist. Just like being a Trump supporter who is against immigrants coming in and soaking up welfare when the reality is immigrants paid something like $329 billion in taxes but have no access to welfare. Tell me again about how immigrants don’t contribute. Immigrants do work that Americans can’t stand to do and Trumps Russian wife is proof of that. Can you imagine any decent American woman having a slug like Trump heaving away on top her.

      • August 23, 2019 at 3:01 pm

        What you are describing is quantum physics — repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time! ;)

  • August 16, 2019 at 12:15 am

    Agreed. Bible is too clumsy, but its also too long. It should have been a one- pager, with a few words from Jesus, in plain language, not in parables. Things like dont harm another person or animal. Be who you want to be. Be environmentally conscious. Only use what you need. Dont be greedy. Dont take advantage of the frail or the handicapped. Dont think youre better than others.
    Its too long, the bible, and too complicated, with silly stuff like a guy having to lie on his side for I dont remember howmany years; or Solomon suggesting that a baby be split in two to see who the real mother is. Or the description of wild beasts with horns n stuff that nobody really knows what its sposed to mean. Or educated scientists squabbling over what a day means. Or some groups losing sleep over which day is the sabbath. Or the moon standing still. Or a king having the hots for some pretty lady and taking her husband out so he can get her. Or some guy telling his son to lie still so he can kill him with a sword or with fire cant remember to prove he loves god. Or noah building a huge boat and getting hundreds of animals on it. See what Eddie Izzard says about that! Or dumbasses pretending that their calculations predicting “the end” are spot on.

    • August 17, 2019 at 3:30 pm

      One could write a book, Trevor, and indeed, someone has. The Skeptics Annotated Bible can be read online. For centuries the churches persecuted honest questioning and the listening to ones common sense. Now we get to see why.

  • August 16, 2019 at 3:02 am

    @Messenger, Can you help clear up something for me? This latest Watchtower in Focus examines the civil law suit which two victims of child sex abuse in the congregations have brought against the Governing Body, amongst others. I can’t understand what is the use of suing the GB. It isn’t a criminal case, so it’s not as if the GB will be put into prison. What possible outcomes can there be for the GB by this action of suing them?

    • August 16, 2019 at 9:48 pm

      I’m not a lawyer, and even a lawyer might take a different strategy that Zalkin is, or they might not know the reason for that strategy he is taking. I raised a point in one of my comments above, and if I was a lawyer trying to stop WT I would attempt to file a class action suit on behalf of all JW victims (in general). You know the way some attorneys do who represent a group of clients, along with any potential future plaintiffs that might attach themselves to the suit, against large corporations that have harmed the group. Then I would file a motion to get a court injunction, which is a restraining order, preventing the GB, WT and subsidiary corporations from giving orders or directions to any WT elders not to report child abuse suspicions . If that is possible this farce will be over, as I am pretty sure WT would not violate such an injunction. It’s probable they would appeal a court’s decision to grant such an injunction, but as long as it’s in force I doubt the GB and WT would violate it.

      As a layman it is reasonable to me that such an action is possible; because it is criminally illegal for any administrator of a mandated reporter to interfere in anyway with a mandated reporter reporting child abuse. In my state an administrator who does that is subject to the same criminal penalties mandated reporters face who fail to report a suspicion. As a layman I also believe if Zalkin can get that done the court’s ruling would be upheld in any appeals court WT takes it to. The reason I believe that is because the GB and WT are breaking criminal laws by interfering with reporting.

      I feel that getting such an injunction would be far easier through a class action suit than when representing single defendants in lawsuits, because future victims might attach themselves to a class action lawsuit, at some future time. Injunctions are designed to prevent future harm, and injunctions are attached to lawsuits as attempts to mitigate future damages along with preventing future harms. Single victims suing have already been harmed (the damage there has already been done), and it is very unlikely that someone suing WT for child abuse will continue to be harmed from WT telling elders not to report child abuse. For that reason, I feel a court would have sound reason to deny such a request in a single victim lawsuit. I feel Zalkin would have a much better chance if he names all present and future victims associated with WT who wish to attach themselves as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit.

      • August 16, 2019 at 10:00 pm

        I am not one to put down attorneys, as I don’t believe they are all corrupt. However, almost all attorneys are working for profit. If any attorney successfully gets an injunction against the GB and all WT corporations, preventing them from directing elders not to report child abuse, they are killing the golden goose (WT), as WT’s violation of the law is a cash cow for attorneys to the tune of millions of dollars.

  • August 16, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    @Messenger, but why is Zalkin suing the GB in this instance? What use is suing them?

    • August 17, 2019 at 11:32 am

      Good hearing from you again Ricardo.

      A simple answer is that when lawyers file lawsuits they usually file against everyone involved, even possible defendants, until the case goes into the discovery process. In the discovery process the plaintiff’s attorney might decide that they have a weak case against one or more of the defendants, and withdraw their suit against them while continuing that suit against the remaining defendants. That’s a standard legal practice. Because if lawyers don’t do that a defendant’s defense could be someone else is to blame, and you should have gone after that other person or organization instead of me. I believe back when the Governing Body separated themselves from some of the corporations and corporate positions that’s the reason they did it. Remember one GB member said that when he was sued. He said WT didn’t control him and he didn’t control WT. However, it’s too easy to prove the GB oversees everything, so if WT or a subsidiary corporation loses a suit the GB is attached to, GB members will most likely lose also.

      Another reason Zalkin could be doing it is because lawsuits are a pain in the butt. The reason the GB continues to break the law is because they personally have not suffered enough pain. When they hurt bad enough they will start following the law. But I don’t feel a single lawsuit against the members will stop them, unless Zalkin can do what I previously suggested and get an injunction prohibiting WT, the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the GB from telling elders not to report. Or if he can get them thrown in jail as I bring out at the bottom.

      There is no policy in my school district that gives any administrator any type of access to advise me whether or not to report a SUSPECTED incidence of child abuse or neglect. The opposite is true. At the start of every school year I have to go through training sessions, administered through an outside corporation, that teach me about various types of child abuse, my responsibility to report, and the laws surrounding those issues. Since my school year started August 12 I just finished and passed those training sessions scoring 100% on the two tests given at the end of each session. I can say with certainty that in my state, CA, USA , if any WT administrator is telling any elder (if elders in CA are mandated reporters) not to report an incident of SUSPECTED child abuse to child protection agencies or the police that administrator is breaking the law. It’s not a legally debatable issue, it’s a black and white issue. Administrators that get in the way of a valid report being made are subject to the same fines as mandated reporters that don’t report, which is up to 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. If a child dies because a report wasn’t made a mandated reporter can get a five year jail term and is subject to a higher fine.

      I imagine Zalkin could also turn over his discovery to a CA district attorney’s office in hopes he can get GB members thrown in jail. I haven’t watched the video, so I don’t know if this case is filed in CA or not; but a lot of our states probably have similar laws if it’s not. Most likely CA elders are mandated reporters, like I am, because I have read parts of other cases Zalkin filed in CA when he previously sued WT for interfering in the past. If CA elders were not mandated reporters Zalkin would not have had reason to sue WT in those other cases. I think if I was Zalkin, I would turn this over to a district attorney’s office along with discovery I obtained in those other cases, and hope the district attorney prosecuted the GB and threw them in jail. One stay in jail for six months would probably stop them too.

    • August 23, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      @Ricardo, the JW organization goes a long way to protect its image. Optics is everything to these men. What better way to show them for what they truly are in a court of law where everything is documented and kept indefinitely!

      Unfortunately, the rank and file brethren will only see this as an assault by Satan, but slowly but surely all of their misdeeds will come to light and their numbers will keep dwindling. Eventually, the only ones left will be the ones who live under a rock, shielded from civilization and all the information that comes with it!

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