Seattle, WA (PRWEB) September 25, 2013
The fourth in a series of child sex abuse civil lawsuits against Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations around the country has now been filed against a congregation in Clark County, Washington.
The suit was filed in the King County Superior Court by the Seattle law firm of Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC and The Zalkin Law Firm located in San Diego, CA (case no 13-2-32756-2 SEA). This new lawsuit was filed on behalf of a former child member of the Hazel Dell Kingdom Hall Congregation, located in Vancouver, WA. The plaintiff, identified in the suit by the initials T.O., was a minor child whose family was active in the congregation at the of the alleged abuse.
Three other similar lawsuits have been recently filed by the Zalkin Law Firm in San Diego, New Mexico and in Ohio. (See Lopez v. Defendant Doe 1, San Diego Superior Court #37-2012-00099849-CU-PO-CTL, case # D-1314-CV-2013-00948, Thirteenth Judicial District Court, County of Valencia, New Mexico and Case # 13CV181056 Lorain County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court). Each case alleges sexual abuse of a minor child within a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation.
According to this newest civil complaint, the Plaintiff T.O. was sexually abused as a child by congregation member and was not protected from this alleged abuse by congregation leadership. The Plaintiff T.O. is now 39 years old and the alleged abuse occurred when she was 8 years old in 1981 to 1984 at Hazel Dell Congregation and at the homes of congregation members.
The complaint alleges that between approximately 1981 and 1985, several members and publishers of the Hazel Dell congregation repeatedly sexually abused Plaintiff T.O. The alleged sexual abuse often occurred during activities that were sanctioned by the defendants and when T.O. was in the custody and control of the defendants, such as regularly scheduled church activities, bible and book study sessions that took place in the homes of the members of the defendants. The alleged abuse also occurred in the homes of elders of the defendants while T.O.’s family was there for church activities.
“This lawsuit highlights a disturbing trend of victims coming forward to tell their stories about sexual abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations,” said Irwin Zalkin, of The Zalkin Law Firm. “The allegations by this victim and the victims of other cases show an alarming tolerance for abusers of children within the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion.”
The complaint alleges that the defendants named in the case, the Hazel Dell Congregation and The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. were negligent in their legal duty to protect the minor child in their care and failed in their duty to prevent the perpetrators from sexually molesting children. The complaint also alleges that the defendants maintained complete authority and control over the publishers who sexually abused Plaintiff, and the defendants were empowered with an obligation to prevent their abuses of Plaintiff. The complaint alleges that despite knowledge that their publishers were sexually abusing children, the Watchtower and congregation leader defendants continued to give the alleged perpetrators access to Plaintiff and they continued to sexually abuse Plaintiff.
As a result of this extreme and outrageous conduct alleged in the complaint, the Plaintiff T.O alleges severe emotional and psychological damages including severe mental anguish, humiliation and emotional and physical distress. The complaint asks for compensatory and punitive damages and costs.
About The Zalkin Law Firm
With offices in San Diego and New York, The Zalkin Law Firm (http://www.zalkin.com) 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 sex abuse cases.
About Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC
With offices in Seattle and Tacoma, WA, Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC offers experienced and compassionate legal advocates who are committed to protecting the rights and interests of victims and their families. PCVA attorneys and their legal team have substantial experience in handling claims involving complex personal injury, including childhood sexual abuse. Their attorneys have represented hundreds of abuse victims in cases involving the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America, the Mormon Church, and numerous other corporate and religious organizations. They have negotiated tens of millions of dollars in settlements in sex abuse cases and have obtained multiple jury verdicts on behalf of abuse victims. (http://www.pcvalaw.com)