It seems no sect is sacred in the stream of child sex abuse cases that have come to light more and more often over the last decade — whether those accused teach the Bible or the Koran. But at least one case is ending in justice for the abused child — a former Bible teacher at a San Diego Jehovah’s Witness church is being punished to the tune of $13.5 million for his actions, with the bill being footed by the Jehovah’s Witness church itself, reported NBC News.
Gonzalo Campos has been accused by eight different former Bible students of molestation, ranging from 1985 to 1992. The abused pupil who just won against Gonzalo in court, Jose Lopez, is now 35-years-old. But his attorney argued that though the abuse was far in the past, Jose had never really managed to escape what his Bible teacher had done to him — suffering from addiction, trust issues, and post-traumatic stress disorder for decades after the incident occurred.
“After a period of grooming him, which Campos was very adept at, one day he took him and he seriously molested him in a private residence.”
The San Diego Bible teacher is not the only potential abuser the Jehovah’s Witness church is dealing with at the moment. The church has been embroiled in child molestation scandals for the past few years — accusations that were severely exacerbated by a letter sent out by the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2012 to all church elders teaching the Bible.
“A predator is one who clearly lacks self-control and by his actions provides reason to believe he will continue to prey on children. Not every individual who has sexually abused a child in the past is considered a predator.”
As Campos himself is currently hiding out in Mexico, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York — the organization that heads the Jehovah’s Witness religion — is catching the heat for covering up the Bible teacher abuse scandal as well as the others that have to come light in recent years. Lopez’s attorney, Irwin Zalkin, told NBC 7 that Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s actions were the driver of the high pay-out for Campos’ victim.
“Damages that reflect the reprehensible conduct of the Watchtower in how they covered this up for years and allowed multiple children to be injured. They protected and harbored a criminal.”
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is set to appeal the case, saying in a statement that it is ludicrous that they would ever attempt to cover-up child molestation by this particular Bible teacher or any other church member.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts. The trial judge’s decision is a drastic action for any judge to take given the circumstances of the case. We will seek a full review of this case on appeal.”
How responsible do you think Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is for what Gonzalo Campos did?
[Image via Flickr and Expozero]