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Oregon JWs face $10.5 abuse law suit

Oregon JWs face $10.5 abuse law suit

Two people who say that they were sexually abused as children by a leader in a Hillsboro Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation have filed a $10.5 million lawsuit against the cult.

According to this report, attorneys for Velicia Alston, 39, above, and an unnamed man said the Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership continues to cover up sexual abuse against children by leaders. They say it is more than a decade behind other organisations, such as the Catholic Church, that have been forced to address their problems through many years of civil litigation.

Said Irwin Zalkin, one of several attorneys representing Alston and the man:

There is a crisis of silence in the Jehovah’s Witness organisation.

Zalkin described the religious organization as:

More concerned about protecting its reputation than it is about protecting its children.

For example, Zalkin said the seven men who make up the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Governing Body have a policy requiring a confession from the perpetrator or two eye witnesses to the abuse before leaders will take any action.

Even if they do disfellowship a perpetrator, they don’t tell the congregation why. No one but the elders can ever know that there is a child predator lurking in that congregation.

Zalkin, an attorney from San Diego, said this is the first case of its kind that he knows of in Oregon. His firm has 14 active cases against the Jehovah’s Witnesses in other states that include California, Connecticut and New Mexico. Several others also are pending in the US.

Portland attorneys Kristian Roggendorf and Paul Mones also are representing the two plaintiffs who filed Monday’s lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

The suit alleges that Daniel Castellanos, who held the equivalent position of a baptised ordained minister in the North Hillsboro Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, molested Alston in 1986 or 1987 when she was 11 or 12 years old. The suit claims Castellanos also molested a boy, described only as John Roe in the suit, when the boy was 8 to 10 years old.

Alston said she chose to use her name and speak to reporters because she wants to give victims a voice. She said filing civil litigation in hopes of changing the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ policies did not amount to committing an act against God, even though her attorneys say the Jehovah’s Witnesses might shun her for doing so.

Said Alson, who now lives in San Diego:

I know that there are other victims. I know that you’re scared because you’re worried about being punished by God. But God would never do something like this. So it’s OK to say something. Because if you don’t say something it’s going to keep happening.

The suit alleges Alston was kissed and fondled under her clothes multiple times by Castellanos, a piano teacher, while he was supposed to be giving her piano lessons at his house. She eventually told her mother, who went to the Hillsboro congregation’s elders. Alston said the elders told her and her mother to tell no one – including police.

Zalkin said Castellanos was ousted from the congregation for three to five years but eventually let back in.

Castellanos was married and had children at the time of the abuse, Alston said. She and her attorneys don’t know how old he is or where he lives, but they believe it’s outside of Oregon. They said they don’t think he has any criminal history.

Oregon’s statute of limitations doesn’t allow Castellanos to be criminally prosecuted because too many years have passed. But state law does allow alleged victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits up until age 40 or within five years of when they realize the damaging effect the abuse has had on their lives.

Castellanos couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Last October, a California judge awarded $13.5 million to a man who said he was molested as a child by a San Diego Jehovah’s Witnesses leader.

Jehovah’s Witnesses count about eight million people within more than 113,000 congregations.

10 responses to “Oregon JWs face $10.5 abuse law suit”

  1. Caute says:

    All religions harbour sexual deviants who prey upon the weak and credulous. No doubt there are many decent priests, pastors, imams, vicars, bishops, mullahs, rabis and other religious officers who do not get their kicks raping and molesting children. But religions, by their very nature, attract all kinds of oddballs, ranging from the dangerously exploitative calculating cunning pedophiles through to stupefied sad losers who are so unattractively peculiar that they cannot get their sexual satisfaction through mature consensual relationships.The ranks of the pious are heavily freighted with these criminals and deviants and thus we can conclude that there are no divine omnipotent beings. What other proof of the non existence of god is required? This is why all religions try to cover up the enormous scale of this problem. But its too late. Decent people are increasingly aware of what has been going on and turning their backs on religion. God is going down … and we should all do our best to hasten the end.

  2. AgentCormac says:

    God is going down … and we should all do our best to hasten the end.

    I’m with you every last step of the way on that one, Caute.

  3. L.Long says:

    The abuse is against the JWs well what about the dimwitted parents of these people?? If still alive are they a part of the suit?? My dad cussed out a nun because she blamed me for protecting my self from a bully. If I would have told him about some dude messing with me he would have beat the crap out of him. So their parents did nothing…because a pack old farts said to keep quiet!!!!! Sue the parents as well, they are crappy piles of schite!!!!

  4. Vanity Unfair says:

    You have to have sympathy for the JWs; they still haven’t got over the shock of the world (or complete universe) not ending in 1975. Forty years of disappointment must make for a very unhappy congregation.
    Mention this next time they knock on your door. The young ones seem never to have heard of it so look upon it as your own missionary enterprise to enlighten them. The older ones will sometimes try to claim that the prophecy, in The Watchtower in 1966, was never made or was only symbolic but most will try to get the youngster away before too much harm is done.

  5. Robster says:

    Being witnesses should mean lots of eye balls to back up the JW’s, aren’t they all witnesses?

  6. Vanity Unfair says:

    My favourite sect is the Jehovah’s Bystanders; they are witnesses but just don’t want to get involved.

  7. barfly says:

    There are more and more of these cases up until recently the WT soc settled out of court and things where kept secret. There was a case a couple of years ago the victim said no to this and went to court since then there have been a number of cases coming to light. There have been about 22 cases in the uk the last few years these are the cases that have made the papers, There are many more pending and I am sure more to come,
    Vanity unfair most jw as you say don’t know about 1975 they have altered there publications and some of the older ones are no longer available as there teachings chop and change all the time

  8. Cali Ron says:

    Another denomination protecting pedophiles. What a shock-NOT. As usual, the church values their reputation more than their congregations souls, and their sexual organs. My son has some j-hole witnesses who have been trying to convert him for a long time (he finds verbal sparring with them amusing I think, but he’s an atheists). I’ll have to have him ask about the aborted rapture in 1975, since they won’t talk to me anymore. Lucky me!

  9. barfly says:

    @ Cali Ron one of there older books printed prior to 1975 was later altered in later publications Their older books are no longer available they have been withdrawn to avoid embarrassment

  10. Cali Ron says:

    barfly-Too late, that’s only 1 of many things they should be embarrassed about, starting with that pesky belief in a nonexistent god.