Sexual Molestation Alleged Within Jehovah’s Witness Church
Mar. 23, 2004
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday March 24, 2004
Town Hall Meeting For Victims Held Monday Night
MONTEREY, Calif. — A town hall meeting was held in Monterey Monday night for victims and others who wanted to step forward about possible sexual molestation allegations against the Jehovah’s Witness church.
A lawsuit was filed last December against the Jehovah’s Witness church in Monterey County. The suit involves a woman who claims a member of the church sexually abused children within the religious organization and that she herself was subjected to sexual touching, kissing and fondling when she was 13.
Lawyers told Action News they are working on five more cases in Monterey County against the church for alleged sexual misconduct.
The Love & Norris law firm says it is holding special town hall meetings, like the one in Monterey, to expose sexual abuse in the hope that other victims will come forward.
“You know predators go to where they have access to kids, and if someone is looking to children they go to church … that’s the last best place to get access to kids, and in this particular paradigm, it has a been more concerned about protecting the reputation of the organization than protecting children in the congregation,” lawyer Kimberlee Norris said.
Former alleged vicitms said they hope exposing the truth will finally make the church accountable and put an end to the abuse.
“I’m sorry, but slapping them on the hand and giving them penance isn’t the way to do it. They need to be prosecuted because they will molest again … and definitely in the forum of a church like the Jehovah’s Witness … they will continue to molest,” claimed sexual abuse victim Craig Hellburg said.
Church elders Action News spoke with denied the allegations and said they were not aware of the lawsuit filed in December.
The Love & Norris firm said there are currently 26 lawsuits pending against the Jehovah’s Witness church in California, most of which are in Northern California.
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