Calling a jury decision “a watershed moment for children’s safety in the Jehovah’s Witnesses,” a self help group for men and women who were molested by denomination members is praising the child sex abuse victim who took her case to court this week in California.
Yesterday, Bay Area jurors awarded $21 million in punitive damages – on top of an earlier $7 million in actual damages – to an Oakland woman who was sexually assaulted as a child by a now-convicted Jehovah’s Witness.
“Until now, a jury has virtually never held the JW national headquarters responsible for repeated heinous child sex crimes and cover ups by church members or officials,” said William Bowen of Nashville, who founded and heads a support group for those molested by Jehovah’s Witnesses (270-703-2257, email@example.com) “This is a ground-breaking case and a watershed award against an especially callous group of church bureaucrats.”
“The Jehovah Witnesses have the most dangerous abuse policy on the planet – requiring two eyewitnesses to a child sex crime before an accusation can be deemed ‘credible,’” said William Bowen of Kentucky, who founded and heads a support group for for those molested by Jehovah’s Witnesses (270-703-2257, firstname.lastname@example.org) “So justice and prevention isn’t happening within the church, and that’s why this decision is so crucial. We hope it prods more JW victims to report child sex crimes to secular authorities and take legal action to expose predators and protect kids.”
In 2007, 17 victims shared a $13 million dollar settlement from church officials. It involved victims in three states California, Texas and Oregon and six Jehovah Witnesses perpetrators.
Bowen says this is the largest amount the Jehovah’s Witness have ever had to pay in one child sex case.