Civil Cases – U.S.

The number of civil lawsuits filed against the Jehovah’s Witnesses over the past 30 years has risen drastically, especially with the changes in State laws that have extended the Statues of Limitations for filing civil cases against persons or Organizations who abuse a child, or who were negligent in the protection of a child.

While the number of cases filed is extensive, there are an equal or greater number of cases that have never been filed in a civil court, but have been settled privately between the victims and attorneys for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. These settlements are always associated with Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) that stipulate confidentiality concerning the amounts paid to victims of abuse.

In addition to cases filed against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Witnesses themselves file litigation to achieve a specific result.

For example, the JW church filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to protect their elders from being criminally charged for violating State mandatory reporting laws for clergy members.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are extremely concerned that their elders may be prosecuted as a result of following corporate direction; direction that advises elders they are shielded from reporting child abuse to law enforcement as members of clergy who receive confessions and confidential information from congregants.