In-Depth Report Details “Culture of Secrecy” About Sexual Abuse
San Diego, CA, February 16, 2015 – Irwin M. Zalkin of San Diego based Zalkin Law Firm was featured in an in-depth investigative report about childhood sexual abuse in the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion that was issued on Saturday, February 14th by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The report, “Jehovah’s Witnesses use 1st Amendment to hide child sex abuse claims”, by investigative reporter Trey Bundy, features an interview with Irwin Zalkin regarding his recent case in San Diego where his client was awarded $13.5 million for damages from sexual abuse that occurred when he was a child member of a Linda Vista Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in the 1980’s. In that case, the judge’s award including $10.5 million in punitive damages based up on the evidence Zalkin presented of deliberate efforts by Watchtower to cover up its tolerance of child sexual abuse, Watchtower’s refusal to follow court orders requiring it to turn over decades of child molestation files within its possession, and Watchtower’s refusal to make available the longest serving member of the Governing Body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses for a deposition to be taken in Brooklyn, New York.
The report examines efforts by the Jehovah’s Witnesses to keep records of childhood sexual abuse secret and features depositions taken from Watchtower officials in the Jose Lopez case in San Diego. In the except below, Zalkin’s question during a deposition reveals the culture of secrecy that seeks to keep incidents of abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses from being prosecuted:
During Lopez’s trial, Ashe testified that the Watchtower instructs elders that child abuse must be kept confidential.
“And it directs that that should be kept confidential from prosecuting authorities?” Zalkin asked.
“Yes,” Ashe responded.
The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) was founded in 1977. CIR is nationally respected for setting the highest journalistic standards, and for its signature approach to investigative reporting and collaboration. CIR partners with numerous media organizations to publish stories online, as well as for print, television, radio/audio, video and live events.
With NPR PRX, CIR co-produces the nationally distributed “Reveal” radio show and podcast. “Jehovah’s Witnesses use 1st Amendment to hide child sex abuse claims” was featured nationally on NPR PRX on thirty-seven stations on February 14th.
The Zalkin Law Firm now has more 16 cases against the Jehovah’s Witnesses representing victims of childhood sexual abuse at different congregations in California, Oregon, Connecticut, New Mexico, Washington and Ohio.
“All of these cases show how Elders within the Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to protect child sex abusers by blindly following the company line,” said Irwin Zalkin, of The Zalkin Law Firm, the co-attorney for the Lewis sisters. “The growing number of these cases in the U.S. and Britain shows a reckless and immoral tolerance of child sexual abuse that is ignored at the highest levels by the Governing Body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who continue to fight to keep such information secret.”
Mr. Zalkin is available for media interviews about the CIR report and this topic. The CIR report is available online at:
About The Zalkin Law Firm
With offices in San Diego and New York, The Zalkin Law Firm is one of the premier sexual abuse and personal injury law firms in the country. The firm’s lawyers have represented hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse and achieved groundbreaking results in numerous high-profile clergy abuse cases across the United States. The Zalkin Law Firm has aggressively represented hundreds of survivors of child sexual abuse, including former Boy Scouts. The firm has negotiated over $200 million in settlements in Catholic clergy sex abuse cases.
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