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Approaching the end of his prison sentence, Nicholson was transferred to the Wallkill Correctional Facility in New York, which had just initiated a family visitation program for qualifying prisoners.During recurring overnight visits, four-year-old plaintiff Tarah Bird was regularly forced to endure sexual assaults while her mother, Gail Nicholson, watched. According to court documents filed on behalf of Nicholson’s daughters, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses harbored a known child molester from 1974 to 2010.Instead, they are under strict instructions to promptly phone Watchtower’s legal department in Patterson New York, where anonymous men type detailed allegations into their child abuse database.Before handing the call off to the religious Service Department, legal advisors decide whether mandatory reporting laws apply to clergymen in the state where the crimes occurred.Complaint Filed by Hagan and Bird Nicholson had been arrested and found guilty of molesting the two daughters of Jehovah’s Witness elder Lee Steele, who was a New York State Trooper at the time.Nicholson pled guilty in 1982 and spent 3 1/2 years in prison.Despite being staffed with ministers, defendant WATCHTOWER’S Service Department has never made a mandated child abuse report to law enforcement.” Attorney Zalkin seeks to hold the top officials for Watchtower responsible, specifically the eight members of the Governing Body.In 2014, Zalkin filed a motion to compel the deposition of the longest-standing member of the Governing Body, Gerrit Losch.
Similarly, victims were still to be discouraged from seeking any form of therapy where Jehovah’s Witness molestations may be disclosed to non-members.
Despite clergy-mandated reporting in nearly every State, Watchtower’s legal department relies heavily upon a broad interpretation of clergy-penitent privilege, a loophole which Watchtower leaders exploit in virtually every child abuse case.
The quandary is, courtrooms across the United States disagree with the liberal interpretation of clergy privilege.
Show me this was systemic, that it came from the top down…
…We’re going after the system.” – From the 2015 film On August 14th, 2019, multiple civil lawsuits were filed in the State of New York, naming the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses as co-defendants.