CA- Jehovah's Witness sentenced for child sex crimes; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Monday, March 3, 2014 

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected]) 

We are grateful that a Jehovah's Witness elder will spend time in prison and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Now, JW officials and congregants must aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes.

On Feb. 28, Michael Norris pleaded guilty to molesting his granddaughter in Carpinteria, CA. He also spent time in Costa Rica. We worry that there may be other kids who were assaulted by him – in both countries – who are suffering in shame, silence, confusion and self-blame. Jehovah's Witness officials and members should work very hard to find and help these victims, and beg them to call police.

Anyone who may have seen or suspected Norris' crimes should also contact police. It's possible that current or former JW officials or members could be prosecuted for concealing Norris' crimes.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])


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  • Tylin Joel
    commented 2014-03-08 10:05:35 -0600
    On approximately February 14,2013, the Felony Fugitive-Michael Johnson Norris was extradited to the United States through the co-operation of the United States Embassy, the State Department, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Investigators and Costa Rican Officials.

    On February 27, 2014, a year later, Norris was sentenced in Santa Barbara County Superior Court to 3 years in WASCO State Prison under the terms of a plea deal offered to him by the State of California.

    Because of jail time credits during the prosecution, the convicted sexual offender, Michael Johnson Norris, will be paroled in only a matter of months if he survives his prison stay.

    While he will be registered as a sex offender it should be noted that he is married to a Costa Rican National, Exxxxxxxx Cxxxxxx Norris, and he also owns and resides on farm property located just 10 minutes outside Quepos, Costa Rica. Under the terms of his parole in the United States, Norris could be allowed to return to Costa Rica and of course subject to the entry laws of Costa Rican Immigration. Costa Rica will not be protected under the umbrella of Meghan’s Law or Norris’ GPS tracking device, provisions that were made at the time of his sentencing.

    Whether Norris stays in the United States or makes his way back to Costa Rica one thing is absolutely certain: Norris will try to reintegrate with the Jehovah’s Witnesses Religion where his sex offender “status” will not be made known to congregants. In fact, Norris was attending the Quepos English Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses right up to the date of his extradition from Costa Rica.

    Norris was a high profile Elder in the Carpinteria Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States while he was perpetrating his sex abuse crimes. Once back within a congregation, Norris will also be allowed to go door to door as Jehovah’s Witnesses do in their preaching activity. Norris’ guilt still is not established within the religion because there was not a “second witness” to the abuse he perpetrated. These are internal policies held by Jehovah’s Witnesses and they will not see Norris as a “convicted sex offender” because he accepted a plea bargain. This means that upon his return to Costa Rica, if permitted, he will be able to go undetected or marked as a child sex offender by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and surrounding communities where they preach from house to house.

    California Residents, (Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Ventura, Santa Clarita)Costa Rican Officials, Jehovah’s Witnesses and surrounding Communities: PLEASE BEWARE. Michael Johnson Norris is a Convicted Sexual Predator that will use his knowledge and the avenue of the Jehovah’s Witness religion and their egregious policies to act out against innocent children and their families once again.
  • Barbara Dorris
    commented 2014-03-03 16:39:38 -0600
    Ms. Barbara Dorris has one slight error in her report above. The local Jehovah’s Witness community were not silent in this case. They were very vocal in supporting the pedophile, with their elders sitting on his side and testifying in his behalf and against the victims. Disgusting. I am a Jehovah’s Witness and am very ashamed!
    This note is from George in California
  • @pams54
    commented 2014-03-03 12:05:15 -0600
    All Priest & Nun’s " who have raped children; should be registered sex offenders
    rape is rape;" even if they wear the black & white uniform;" it still rape;"
  • @ tweeted this page. 2014-03-03 09:35:54 -0600

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