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Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 543

  • Broadcast in Self Help
Bill Murray

Bill Murray


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Special guest Candace Conti, the first person to successfully sue a Jehovah's Witness elder for childhood sexual abuse. She'll be joined by her attorney, Rick Simon. Mr. Simon was the lead attorney in the coordinated cases in Northern California known as Clergy 3 (primarily Catholic victims) and has represented over 250 victims of childhood sexual assault (CSA). He tried 5 cases to jury trial verdict. Candace is a survivor who was the first victim to successfully bring a case to trial against the Jehovah's Witnesses, resulting in the largest jury verdict ($28,000,001) for a single victim of child sex abuse in a religious setting in the country. The Jehovah's Witnesses is responsible for the entire punitive damages amount and 40 % of the compensatory damages, explained Rick Simons. Sixty % of the compensatory damages was assessed against Jonathan Kendrick, the man accused of abusing her. "The ultimate goal of the lawsuit was to have a change in policy, to be able to ID these people, child molesters, to the congregation to protect children," according to Ms. Conti. "Secondarily, to have silent ones come forward and tell their stories and to bring to light that overall issue of violence and the hush-hush policy." Both her parents were Watchtower congregation members at the time of the abuse, she said. "I was trying to be the best Jehovah's Witness I could be at that time." The jury found that the elders who managed the congregation in the 1990s knew that Kendrick, a member, had recently been convicted of the sexual abuse of another child, but they kept his past record secret.