Colleagues Concealed Sex Abuse to Protect Faith

[Original publication date: March 8, 2004]

Vicki Boer

Maintaining a “Clean image” took priority. Colleagues concealed sex abuse to protect faith,” statement by a Jehovah’s Witness elder. In Toronto, two church elders from an Ontario group of Jehovah’s Witnesses were more worried about the “clean image” of their faith than they were the well-being of a young sexual abuse victim, according to one of their former colleagues.

By James McCarten / The Canadian Press

Harald Momm was one of eight elders in the Shelburne, Ontario congregation in 1990 when he learned that one of their young disciples had accused her father of sexually abusing her several years earlier.

But fellow elders Steve Brown and Brian Cairns were more interested in protecting the accused, Gower Palmer, than they were the welfare of his young daughter, Momm testified.

“They didn’t want to have anything to do with the law of the land … they wanted it kept quiet, and we didn’t agree with that,” he told lawyer Charles Mark.

“This has been going on for 13 years and all I ever got out of it is: ‘It is important to keep a clean image. Never mind about the victims.'” Continue reading “Colleagues Concealed Sex Abuse to Protect Faith”

Sex Criminal Out of Hospital

[Original publication date: March 1, 2004]

Convicted sex predator Cary Verse was released Thursday from Atascadero State Hospital in San Luis Obispo County, hospital sources said, but his whereabouts and the location of his new home were unknown.

cary-verse-jw-2Cary Verse, 33, a Jehovah’s Witness who has a history of sex crimes, has previously indicated that he would like to live in Martinez to be close to a place of worship for his faith. But a Martinez rental fell through last year after a landlord backed down.

Verse was convicted and sentenced in Contra Costa County, but he may not necessarily be freed there, authorities said.

Contra Costa Superior Court Judge John Minney ordered details of Verse’s new home sealed for fear of stirring up public outcry that would prevent him from settling in.
Continue reading “Sex Criminal Out of Hospital”

Banned Church Member Sues Jehovah’s Witnesses

[Original publication date: September 5, 2003]

A Normandy resident who was disfellowshipped from Jehovah’s Witnesses is suing the organization for $7 million on grounds the alleged action against her was wrong.

Joe and Barbara Anderson
Joe and Barbara Anderson
© Barbara Anderson

By BRIAN JUSTICE, The Sunday News Staff Writer
Tullahoma News (Tullahoma, Tennessee)

Barbara Joanna Anderson filed the lawsuit Thursday in Coffee County Circuit Court.

She is seeking $2 million in compensatory damages, plus $5 million in punitive damages.

The defendants are listed as:

* Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc.
* Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania Inc.
* Watchtower Enterprises LLC.
* Watchtower Foundation Inc.
* Watchtower Associates LTD.
* Kingdom Support Services Inc.
* Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
* Religious Order of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
* The Watchtower Group Inc.
* Manchester Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses Elders.
* Lawrence A. Seely, Gary Hobson, Dale Dormanen, Robert E. Matthews, David Semonian, J.R. Brown, and John Does No. 1 through No. 4.

Mrs. Anderson and her husband, Joe, had publicly spoken about alleged sexual child abuse being widespread among the Jehovah’s Witnesses denomination. Continue reading “Banned Church Member Sues Jehovah’s Witnesses”