Convicted molester sentenced to 45 years to life
A Murrieta man used his daughter’s slumber parties to satisfy his perverted desires, a judge said Friday, then ignored calls for mercy and sentenced the 50-year-old father to a prison term of 45 years to life.
“The court has little doubt that if released he will move immediately to molest little children,” Judge F. Paul Dickerson III said. “The court feels there are other victims out there who have not come forward.”
Dickerson said he was compelled to impose the harshest penalty, given the pain defendant Gilbert Simental inflicted on the girls and the peril he would pose to children if released.
In April, a jury at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley convicted Simental of molesting two sisters, then ages 9 and 10, on separate occasions in 2005 and 2006.
During his trial, Simental admitted that he twice molested the younger girl but he denied abusing her older sister.
Leaders of Simental’s congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses contradicted his statements and testified Simental, during the course of their religious inquiry, admitted touching both girls.
“This case makes a bold statement to any religious organization that we are not going to allow you to abuse confidentiality privileges in order to suppress the confessions of child molesters,” said Strunsky. “The stakes are way too high.”
Elders John Vaughn and Andrew Sinay balked at testifying against Simental, when subpoenaed by Strunsky. They cited the confidentiality afforded by the penitent-clergy privilege.
Dickerson ordered them to testify after finding the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ judicial committee system is not designed to keep information confidential.
As a result, the penitent-clergy privilege does not apply since state law protects statements made to clergy members who are required by their faith’s practices to keep them secret.
See also the website of Silent Lambs:
Silentlambs is a collective of individuals that have taken the courageous step to stand up for what is right. The website was started in March of 2001 with the writing of a simple story, “The Day the Lambs Roared“.
The point of the story was that vicitms of abuse should never be silent and together they can move mountains.
On this website are hundreds of stories of individuals that have spoken out, many for the first time, on the abuse they experienced in the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is our hope that this information will help educate the public and JW’s about the extent of this problem as well as assist in helping abuse survivors to know they are not alone.