Sixteen Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits Against Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Settled
Largest Deal Ever in Denomination’s History Includes Controversial Gag Order
One of the Predators is A Fugitive & Was Profiled on “America’s Most Wanted”
Two Organizations Urge All Faith Groups To Stop Requiring Secrecy in Settlements
The Nation-wide Support Groups Prod Witnesses & Victims To Come Forward & Get Help
At a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will disclose and discuss a child molestation settlement (allegedly in the millions of dollars and the largest-ever) against the Jehovah's Witnesses. One of the predators was recently on ‘America’s Most Wanted.’
They’ll also discuss
- a nationwide outreach effort to find and help more men and women who have been sexually abused by Jehovah's Witness officials, and
- publicly urge all faith groups to stop requiring abuse victims to sign gag orders.
Thursday, May 10, 10:00 a.m.
Outside the Davidson County Courthouse (in courtyard), 200 James Robertson Parkway in Nashville, TN
Several clergy molestation victims and advocates from five states, including
- a Kentucky man who is the founder of a nationwide support group for Jehovah’s Witness victims
- Tennessee leaders of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAPnetwork.org)
Over a five day period in February, 16 civil child sex abuse lawsuits against Watchtower (the Jehovah’s Witness headquarters in New York City) were quietly settled in three states (CA, TX and OR). The victims involved were essentially coerced into signing ‘gag orders’ that prevent them from discussing the cases. (Copies of the 16 dismissal notices and of 1-2 of the actual lawsuits will be provided.)
One Jehovah’s Witness leader who was sued was long time San Diego resident Rick McLean who was featured on America’s Most Wanted in March. He is suspected of molesting more than 30 children. http://www.amw.com/fugitives/case.cfm?id=35566, http://www.silentlambs.org/rickmcleanamw.htm
Victims groups and veteran clergy sex abuse attorneys (like Jeff Anderson who has filed 1,500 such lawsuits in the past 20+ years) are highly critical of gag orders because they keep the identities of predators secret and make it harder for victims to heal from the devastating effects of childhood trauma.
Attorneys for the victims in these cases are Greg Love and Kimberly Norris of Ft. Worth Texas (817 560 5600). Jehovah’s Witness officials JR Brown and David Semonian and church lawyers Philip Brumley and Mario Moreno can be reached at 718 560 5600 or 845 306 1100.
The denomination was prompted to settle the cases because of an adverse court ruling last October in California that would require them to turn over deeply-held secret records about abusive Jehovah’s Witnesses. http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20070125.html
A similar news conference is being held today in San Diego at 1:00 p.m. (Pacific time) outside a downtown courthouse there. (For details: Mary Grant 626 419 2930, Paul Livingston619 847 3998)
Six years ago, a Kentucky man, William H. Bowen reported to fellow Jehovah’s Witness church officials that another elder was in fact a confessed child molester and remains a Jehovah’s Witness in good standing to this day. Bowen was then ostracized by fellow church members, went on to start a now 6,000 member support group for those abused and silenced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. That group, SilentLambs.org, now has 6,000 members. http://www.silentlambs.org/NationalPresspacket.htm
William H. Bowen of Paducah KY, founder of SilentLambs.org 270-703-2257 cell, 270-527-5350
Mary Grant of Long Beach CA, SNAP western regional director 626-419-2930 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314-566-9790 cell
READ PRESS STATEMENT HERE
DOWNLOADABLE SERVICE BULLETIN CLICK HERE
SEE JPG OF EACH SETTLEMENT HERE