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Big damages award for JW abuse victim

Big damages award for JW abuse victim

In a groundbreaking case – the first of its kind in the UK – the High Court in London yesterday ordered the Jehovah’s Witnesses to pay £275,000 damages to the victim of clerical abuse. The sinister cult must also meet the victim’s £455,000 legal costs.

The case, according to this report, revealed that the victim was abused from the age of four in Bible study classes conducted by Peter Stewart, who began using his position in the church to molest her at Limehurst Congregation where her family worshipped.

The court ruled the the cult’s governing body, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, was told told that it had to bear legal responsibility for a ministerial servant’s actions.

The abuse continued for five years in Loughborough, Leicestershire, until 1994 when Stewart was arrested and jailed in a separate child sex abuse case.

In that case the victim’s mother gave evidence in support of Stewart’s good character.

That case prompted the latest victim to confide in her mother who wrote to Stewart in jail concerning her daughter’s allegations.

He admitted to the victim’s mother he was a pervert and said he was sorry for the hurt and damage he had caused.

The victim went to the police who interviewed her in 2001.

But Mr Stewart escaped justice as he died a month later, aged 72.

The woman’s barrister, James Counsell, said the abusive minister was a “respected and devout” member of the congregation who used his reputation and position to carry out the despicable acts.

The abuse took place during bible study classes and involved sex acts in the living room of the victim’s home and in the loft at Stewart’s home.

He told her that she would be damned as a sinner if she said anything to anyone

The manipulative minister would keep his victim silent because he would explain that:

What she was doing was fornication and that she was sinning and that she would not be saved from the Armageddon because of what she was doing.

The trustees of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society tried to argue Stewart was never an “employee” of the congregation and could not be held legally responsible for his abuse of the little girl.

But Mr Justice Globe ruled that, with Stewart’s other abuse allegations, the elders of the congregation failed in their duty to warn their congregation, and parents in particular, about the minister.

He added Mr Stewart’s role meant “no one who saw him questioned his being alone with her”.

The judge said:

Throughout, he told the claimant it was their secret and that she should say nothing about what was happening. He told her that she would be damned as a sinner if she said anything to anyone.

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In July 2014, a “depraved” Jehovah’s Witness church elder – Mark Sewell, above – who raped a fellow worshipper and abused vulnerable schoolgirls was jailed for 14 years.

Sewell, 53, showed “not a shred of remorse” for his crimes, said the judge who sent him down.

The disgraced businessman was convicted of eight historic sex charges against four women following a three-week trial at Methyr Tydfil Crown Court.

• The photo used to illustrate this report shows a Daily Mirror spread published on November 11, 2014

8 responses to “Big damages award for JW abuse victim”

  1. L.Long says:

    He shows no remorse?! Ya! So? These people let their kids suffer long painful deaths!!!! A little sex abuse is of concern???

  2. Broga says:

    The opening up to the public of the JW cult, its secrecy and its dishonesty is long overdue. Here again we see the usual practice of the preachers to protect their own kind while throwing their victims aside. The JWs’ threats of damnation are a vicious aspect of their behaviour. Such a shame that their victims are so gullible and brainwashed that they believe them

  3. Robster says:

    Will someone please explain what the hell it is these ‘Witnesses’ witness? I’ve asked them at the front door, they look away and try to change the subject.

  4. barfly says:

    There are more to come I think as well. Robster I am a former JW and I am not certain what I used to witness to either. There have been over twenty cases in the last few years that have hit the newspapers. All similar this is the first civil case in this country.

  5. JohnMWhite says:

    Among the faithful, the term ‘witness’ is a verb a bit unlike its usage in normal English. Rather than meaning they have seen something, it means they are telling you about god (Jehova). Telling someone about god is ‘witnessing’ to them, and naturally it involves having never seen the guy and having no reason to believe any of the stories about him but blind faith. Jehova’s Witnesses are people who come to tell you a story about Jehova and expect you to believe it for no reason.

  6. Robster says:

    Thanks for the response JonM and Barfly. Those selling religious nonsense often use words that mean one thing and twist and turn them to suggest another, like the “good news” of that Jesus, suggesting some sort of “good’ when obviously, it’s not. The word Witness suggests there’s something to witness when there is nothing there, to witness, like calling black, white.

  7. […] its mishandling of child abuse in courts of law on several occasions in two different countries (the latest being a landmark High Court judgment in the UK) and  in some cases being ordered to pay multimillion dollar damages for their […]