Two men who claim they were molested as teenagers by a Jehovah’s Witness leader in south Orange County, California, filed a lawsuit in late August, 2014, against the alleged perpetrator and the Watchtower Society.
The filed papers say the men were abused in middle school and high school in the 1990s. They “did not begin to discover the causal relationship between the molestation and adulthood psychological injuries until after news broke in September of 2011 regarding the rampant sexual abuse of children by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State University.”
The accused is identified as a baptized “publisher,” ministerial servant and “pioneer” “ordained” by the Watchtower Society.
Irwin Zalkin (their lawyer) told the Ocregister, both accusers, who still live in Orange County, are seeking compensation to pay for treatment to deal with the psychological effects of the abuse. The abuse happened in or near Laguna Hills
The accusers were recruited as boys by Jehovah’s Witnesses who came knocking on their door; the lawsuit says. Neither of their families was involved with the organization.
The lawsuit gives the following account of the abuse:
Doe 3 was assigned to give private Bible lessons to John Roe 1 and met John Roe 2 when the two were assigned to do “field service” for the organization in the same group.
Doe 3 took both boys to dinner separately. He also brought the boys to his house at different times, gave each one mixed drinks, undressed in front of them, showered with them and touched them sexually.
John Roe 1, now 29, says he was abused from the sixth to ninth grades. John Roe 2, now 31, says he was abused from the eighth to 11th grades. After Doe 3 was caught in bed with a married man, the lawsuit says, John Roe 2 reported the abuse he had suffered.
“John Roe 2 told the Elders he wanted to call the police, but the Elders discouraged this and insisted on handling the matter ‘in house,’” the complaint says.
After a congregation “judicial committee” heard the case, the lawsuit says, Doe 3 was disfellowshipped, but the police or child protection authorities were never told.
“Any time you file a lawsuit, they understand that the allegations are going to be a matter of public record,” said Irwin Zalkin stated. “They’ve chosen that route to bring attention and awareness to what is a substantial problem in this organization.”
Zalkin’s firm in 2013, also represented 11 Jehovah’s Witness child abuse survivors
Another case in Florida reported by the Daily Commercial
Michael Robert Paigo, 35, was arrested in early September, with a court date fixed for 29 September, in Clermont, Florida. He was accused of molesting an underaged girl that he met at a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The arrest papers note he is accused of trading inappropriate texts and pictures with the child and also two counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a person between 12 and 16 years old and remained in the Lake County jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
It is not clear how the police discovered the relationship, but in a phone call secretly recorded by officials, Paigo allegedly talks about his “deep friendship feelings” for her and saying “just talking about them things could put me in jail.”
Paigo is also recorded as saying they “shouldn’t be engaging in that stuff” since she wanted to be baptized.
Week after week cases are brought to court both for historic and recent child molestation by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Watchtower Society remains silent about policy reform to protect and support survivors of abuse, molestation, lewd acts and rape.
Orange County Lawsuit alleges sex abuse by Jehovah’s Witness leader Link
JW Meeting lands man in jail on child molestation charges Link
Secrets of Pedophilia in an American Religion Link
JWsurvey Is the game up? UK Charity Commission statutory inquiry Link