Tough to build Jehovah's Witness sex-abuse case

Without documents, says plaintiff, he can’t get justice

On Friday, April 29, an attorney for Osbaldo Padron will ask a judge to impose severe sanctions on the Jehovah's Witness Church for refusing to turn over documents. The documents allegedly show the church was aware of sexual abuse committed over decades by a San Diego–based church leader on young boys, such as Padron.

The request for sanctions is the latest development in a childhood sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the church in several countries in recent years. In San Diego, the case is the ninth against church leader Gonzalo Campos; seven settled out of court.

In 2013, according to a 2014 article in the Union-Tribune, a judge ordered the Jehovah's Witness Church, also known as the Watchtower, to pay José Lopez $13.5 million for covering up sexual abuse he suffered at the hands Campos. In Lopez’s case, he was seven years old in 1986 when Campos sexually abused him in a bathroom during a Bible-study outing.

Campos’s history of molestation of young boys went beyond the eight victims, according to Padron's 2013 lawsuit.

In 1982, then–18-year-old Campos allegedly tried to have sex with his 12-year-old roommate. The boy fought back, hitting Campos multiple times with a bat. The boy told church leaders and they promised to investigate. Four years later, Campos was again accused of molesting children, including Lopez and the other seven people who later filed lawsuits.

In 1987, Campos joined the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation of the Jehovah's Witness Church. According to the lawsuit, leaders of the congregation were aware of the accusations against Campos. Despite this, he was continually promoted to a leadership role for the congregation.

In 1994, several more complaints surfaced against Campos. In April of that year, an alleged victim’s parents wrote to church leaders asking for an investigation. Months later the letter was forwarded to church officials at Watchtower headquarters in New York. It was at that time that Campos was allegedly molesting then-seven-year-old Padron.

Padron filed his lawsuit in September 2013. Since filing, says the recent request for sanctions, church officials and their attorneys have stonewalled in turning over documents, despite a March 2015 court order requiring them to do so.

Among the documents requested is a March 14, 1997, "Body of Elders" letter that was sent to congregations throughout the world requesting detailed information on alleged sexual abuse by church leaders. The letter, and subsequent responses generated during the following years, would show that leaders at the New York headquarters and throughout the church were aware of childhood sex abuse by church elders. But the church has refused to comply. And even when doing so they have turned over heavily redacted documents.

"...Watchtower produced documents that redacted the names of victims, elders, perpetrators, congregations (as well as the addresses and contact information of the congregation), towns where abuse occurred, law enforcement agencies that investigated claims, and other material," reads a newly filed court document. "The redactions are so extreme that Plaintiff cannot make use of them. Plaintiff submitted a sampling of these redacted documents to the discovery referee and this Court, who each agreed that the redactions are so broad as to undermine Plaintiff's ability to use them.

"This court determined the requested documents were relevant, unprivileged, and that production would not be overly burdensome. This court also specifically addressed third party privacy, stating: ‘all personal, identifying information pertaining to any third party/victim should be redacted from the documents to address any privacy concerns.’”

In a court motion, Padron's attorney, Irwin Zalkin, says the court must get tough with the church and issue terminating sanctions compelling church leaders and their attorneys to follow orders. If granted, terminating sanctions would impose fines on the church for each day it fails to turn over the documents. If the documents are still not produced after a reasonable amount of time, the judge could order dismissal of the case and render judgment against the Watchtower, the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation, and Campos.

The motion, as well as a request from the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation for summary judgement, will be heard in department 75 at 9 a.m. on Friday, inside the San Diego Superior Court building downtown.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


www.silentlambs.org tells it all.

Wolves in sheep's clothing. That's what this cult is. The number of victims they've damaged through sexual abuse, shunning, and refusal of blood transfusions is unfathomable but sexual abuse records exist (if they haven't already been destroyed per Watchtower directive). Elders keep records and headquarters has been aware of reported cases of sexual abuse for decades. They just won't produce the documents because they know they are guilty of harboring pedophiles. It's a sick, twisted money-making publishing company.. Stay away or you will lose your family as I have.

Brenda Lee, author "Out of the Cocoon" outofthecocoon.net

Religion is all about control. God (for those who believe) gave us free will. Free will is a threat to organized religion. Religions want to control what you think, say and do as well as take your money. One can have faith and belief without being religious. Weak people are easily led. Religion is a man made industry.

Well said. Some of the most bright, wonderful, warm and ethical people you'll ever meet have no need for religion. And this sexual abuse has gone on with many organized religions for decades, not just within the Catholic church and Watchtower.

Wow. Several comments and not one supports the Witnesses. That surprises me. I never gave much thought to what that faith believed, or how it operated its congregations. This is eye opening.

This is for anyone making accusations in reference to child abuse!

Just to clear matters up!!

There are many reasons why it may not be a good idea to notify police a case of child abuse. 1) Jehovah's Witnesses have the same right as any religion "priest-penitent in a sacramental confession privilege”. They are not required to call the police. (Regardless of the state law) The First amendment speaks to that. States make up frivolous laws which are not enforceable or they choose not to fight against priest-penitent in a sacramental confession privilege”. The same go's for "Attorney Client privilege ". You see, It applies to Ministers and Attorneys alike.
2) The parents of the victim may not want the authorities to be involved in their family's problems. Some families choose not to notify police because the perpetrator is a close friend or family member, and may not want the publicity and shame.

So notifying the police isn't the only option or required. If a family chooses to contact the police it's their right to do so. It's not mine or your's chose to do so. Keep your own business to yourself. It's not your family! And if it was, it would be your choose to notify the police, not anyone's else's. And even if someone is aware of a child abuser it's not required and should not be, to make announcements to the congregation. Just as it would be not correct to announce that there are thief's, drug abusers, murderers, rapists, prior or current in any church congregation. That would be ridiculous. There are constant new ones coming into the congregation. You may be one of these people I mentioned but it's not announced at your bingo, or little league baseball club. You would hate that. All of these people mentioned, if they do not change will be judged by God and he will have the final say whether that person will gain life or death.

kingdom come 1914,

you are supporting, being an accomplice to, enabling the watchtower society in what it is doing ~ Revelation 18:4

And if you are a jw and think that verse applies to everyone except you and the watchtower society, you need to do some soul searching and research...


By the way, did you know that Charles Taze Russell came up with the date 1914, based on his fascination with the measurements of a pyramid in Egypt? You'll find that, amongst many other facts regarding 1914 here :


“…There are many reasons why it may not be a good idea to notify police a case of child abuse. 1) JW's have the same right as any religion "priest-penitent in a sacramental confession privilege”.

No they do not. The court ruled that a ‘Judicial Committee’ is nothing like the ‘priest-penitent confession’.

“….They are not required to call the police….”

In many cases, yes they ARE. For example, in Australia, the Crimes Act Section 316 says: “… (1) If a person has committed a serious indictable offence and another PERSON WHO KNOWS OR BELIEVES THAT THE OFFENCE HAS BEEN COMMITTED and that he or she has information which might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension of the offender or the prosecution or conviction of the offender for it fails without reasonable excuse to bring that information to the attention of a member of the Police Force or other appropriate authority, that other person is liable to imprisonment for 2 years.”

Anyone with an ounce of common decency would report a horrific crime like child rape to the authorities. The fact that idiots like YOU don’t feel that your religious leaders shouldn’t have to report them, doesn’t say a whole hell of a lot about your morals or even your intelligence.

“… Some families choose not to notify police because the perpetrator is a close friend or family member, and may not want the publicity and shame….”

No parent in their right mind would worry about the reputation of a child molester, especially if it was a “close friend or family member” over the safety of their children & other children. What kind of PIG would not want to turn in a rapist because they’re worried about “the shame”?? Oh that’s right, I forgot: JWs are taught to just “suck it up” rather than do anything to “bring reproach on the Organization” by reporting criminal acts. It just goes to show how warped your thinking is are when you write something that stupid.

“…. And even if someone is aware of a child abuser it's not required and should not be, to make announcements to the congregation. Just as it would be not correct to announce that there are thief's, drug abusers, murderers, rapists, prior or current in any church congregation….”

Yes folks, you heard it here first: Jehovah’s Witnesses think it’s perfectly acceptable to conceal all criminal activities in their midst whether it means concealing “thieves, drug abusers, murderers and rapists”. As this poster has clearly said, it’s far preferable to just turn a blind eye when someone is raping a small child, so that you can continue to show the world how happified you all are!

kingdomcome1914, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this thread is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

I suppose you missed the part where the elders knew what he was and continued to let children into his care and supervision despite MULTIPLE previous instances.

Your viewpoint is abhorrent for someone defending a "religion" that prides itself on "warning" people (of an impending Armageddon.)

The lack of morality, common sense, common decency is simply stunning.

Here's what happens when a jehovahs witness questions what's going on in the organisation, and listens to their conscience regarding the covering up of, and enabling of paedophilia to continue in the worldwide epidemic proportions that it is going on to this very day, within the walls of the watchtower society... They get 'disfellowshipped' and 'shunned'. But they also get to sleep at night,with a clean conscience, and help in the worldwide work of exposing the truth about the watchtower society


Log in to comment

Skip Ad