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Jehovah's Witnesses Child Molestation
Victims Seek Justice

August 8, 2001

Victims of child molestation have served a lawsuit against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the corporate entity that controls the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. The law firm of Reinhardt and Anderson, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is filing the first of several lawsuits in behalf of victims who have been injured by the Watchtower's policy of ignoring reported child sexual abuse.

The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is a closed society that requires its members to turn inward to the organization with any problems, rather than seek outside help. This practice conflicts with laws requiring the reporting of suspected child abuse. Victims' attorney Jeff Anderson states: "Child sexual abuse is not tolerated anywhere else. With the onset of the laws protecting children such as neighborhood notification laws and mandatory reporting statutes, the days when child molesters enjoyed a cloak of silence are past, except within the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. This church seems to think they are above the law the rules do not apply to them. This case is simply about making Jehovah's Witnesses understand they have the same rules as everyone else when it comes to protecting our children."

Jehovah's Witnesses are accused of creating an organizational policy that, in the opinion of victims, has shielded child molesters, while continuing to harm victims. It is alleged that when a victim comes to the church elders to report child sexual abuse by a church member, Watchtower has instructed the elders to require the victim to present proof of the sexual abuse before the victim is to be believed. According to church policy, the proof can include two eyewitnesses to each act of abuse. Failure to present such proof can result in the victim being ostracized and shunned by elders and the congregation for false accusations against a member.

Anderson states: "The very nature of child sexual abuse is that it rarely happens in the presence of others. Child victims of sexual abuse are especially traumatized as the perpetrators often threaten them into silence. Jehovah's Witnesses policy is no different. The victims do what they are supposed to do, go to the church, and the church turns against them." Victims claim that elders often do nothing to prevent known child molesters from having contact with children, including requiring all church members to solicit Watchtower literature on the doorsteps of unsuspecting residents.

The first lawsuit will be filed in Nashua, N. H., where Jehovah's Witness church member, Paul Berry is alleged to have repeatedly sexually molested his stepdaughter and his daughter, starting when they were three years old. When the girls' mother went to the church elders with her suspicions of abuse, the elders told her she should be a better wife, and to pray more about the situation, ignoring New Hampshire's mandatory child abuse reporting statute. The abuse continued and Berry was ultimately criminally convicted for the abuse of his stepdaughter and was sentenced to 56 years in prison. The same church elders who initially received the mother's reports of abuse several years earlier, spoke to the judge at Berry's sentencing hearing and maintained their belief in his innocence.

The stories of many victims can be found at www.silentlambs.org ran by the non-profit organization silentlambs, inc. Founded by one of Jehovah's Witnesses, William H. Bowen of Calvert City, Kentucky, the organization offers resources, healing and closure to victims of child molestation. Bowen states, "I felt compelled to resign as pastor of my local congregation in protest of internal policies that shield sex offenders and hurt children. When the church promotes child molesters to positions of leadership and requires them to call at the homes of the unknowing public that is bad policy."

If you would like to receive more information on this topic, see our website at www.silentlambs.org or contact William H. Bowen at (270) 527-5350.

silentlambs, inc, PO Box 311, Calvert City, Kentucky 42029 USA.
Telephone: 270-527-5350 Fax: 270-527-5351

For further legal information: Jeff Anderson, 651-227-9990

Hotline for Jehovah's Witness victims of abuse
1-877-WTABUSE

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

HILLSBOROUGH, SS. SUPERIOR COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT


HOLLY BERRY and HEATHER BERRY

v.

WATCHTOWER BIBLE and TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC.,
WILTON CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES,
and PAUL BERRY


WRIT OF SUMMONS

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

  1. Plaintiff Holly Berry, who is currently an adult woman, and at all times relevant to this Writ, was a child residing in the State of New Hampshire.
  2. Plaintiff Heather Berry, who is currently an adult woman, and at all times relevant to this Writ, was a child residing in the State of New Hampshire.
  3. Plaintiffs Holly Berry and Heather Berry are sisters.
  4. At all times relevant, Plaintiffs and their parents were participants in an organization known as Jehovah's Witnesses. The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses refers to its participants as "publishers."
  5. The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses are governed and is an agency of the Governing Body of the Defendant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., an incorporated religious association that conducts its world-wide affairs in part through various entities, in part within the state of New Hampshire.
  6. The head of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is the Governing Body, which consists of approximately 10-13 men, also known as the Faithful and Discreet Slave, who all are anointed members of the organization's Heavenly Class. The Governing Body served until October 2000 as members of the board of directors and officers of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc. and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. The Governing Body, as directors, used those two legal entities to direct all of the organization Jehovah's Witnesses and its affairs around the world. The ultimate power of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses rests with the Governing Body which has authority over every person and all matters in the organization and its world wide operations including, but not limited to, the appointment of congregation officials, the promulgation of organizational policies and procedures, management of property and assets, conduct of organization controlled entities, the discipline of individual Jehovah's Witnesses and furthering the overall welfare of the organization and its followers, especially its children. The authority of the Governing Body in the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is absolute. The Governing Body is organized into six committees: The Chairman's Committee, the Writing Committee, the Teaching Committee, the Publishing Committee, the Personnel Committee, and the Service Committee.
  7. The central headquarters for the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is located at 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201, the address of Defendant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses maintains a central repository of records of organization members (herein "publishers") at its facilities in Patterson, New York under the control of the Service Department, including the formal disciplinary history of all publishers. A publisher who has been disciplined by being removed from the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses has been disassociated or "disfellowshipped" and cannot be reinstated without the consent of the Governing Body or its appointed entities. The Governing Body has ultimate power to bar a publisher from serving in the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in any capacity.
  8. The Charter of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. states in part that its corporate purposes are, charitable, benevolent and religious purposes, the moral and mental improvement of men and women, the dissemination of Bible truths in various languages by means of the publication of tracts, pamphlets, papers and other religious documents, and for religious missionary work, and for the purposes of maintaining and conducting classes for the instruction of men and women on the premises or by mail.
  9. The Governing Body administers the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses through a multi-level structure. The local level consists of the congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses, which consist of elders, ministerial servants, pioneers and other congregational publishers.

    A congregation's elders are appointed by the Governing Body as the spiritual leaders of the congregation and are held out by the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses as qualified spiritual shepherds. All of the elders of a congregation, whether they hold a specific servant position or not, make up the "body of elders." The specific servant positions within the body of elders are Presiding Overseer, Secretary, Service Overseer, Watchtower Study Conductor, Theocratic School Overseer and Book Study Coordinator. The body of elders presides over certain congregational matters, including judicial matters, and all publishers must respect and obey decisions made by the body of elders. Judicial matters within a congregation include any infraction of what the Governing Body has deemed to be a breach of God's law. Allegations of child molestation made by and against publishers within a congregation are considered judicial matters and are handled by the body of elders, as directed by the Governing Body.

    Ministerial servants are recommended by the body of elders and appointed by the Governing Body to administer the secondary administrative work of the congregations. According to the Governing Body, ministerial servants are viewed as examples to the flock and must be viewed with respect.

    Pioneers are full time ministers who lead the door-to-door work for the congregation.
  10. The next level of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is the Circuit Overseer. The Circuit Overseer generally appoints two foremost elders within the circuit to be Sub-Circuit Overseers, who fulfill the Circuit Overseers role when the Circuit Overseer is not available. All communication received at a congregation from a Circuit Overseer or a Sub-Circuit Overseers is considered to be instructions direct from the Governing Body. Each circuit has approximately 20 congregations.

    The level above the circuit is the district, which has a District Overseer. Each district has approximately 10 circuits.

    Above the district level are the worldwide "zones" which are made up of branch representatives and a branch office. In the branch offices, there are Branch Committees to oversee the work in the countries of their jurisdiction. Working at branches around the world are volunteer Jehovah's Witnesses who are termed Bethelites.

    In the United States Branch there are three Bethel complexes; one at the worldwide headquarters in Brooklyn, New York; one in Patterson, New York; one in Walkill, New York. The major departments at the Brooklyn complex are the Writing Department, Treasury Offices and Executive Offices, including some of the Governing Body offices such as the corporate heads. Each Governing Body member oversees a particular department. The major departments in the Patterson, New York complex are the Legal and Service Departments. The Service Department is responsible for overseeing the preaching work, assembly programs, and has direct oversight of the congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses, including the elders, circuit and district overseers in the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Service Department regularly issues letters to congregation elders, circuit and district overseers and congregations concerning administration, discipline, oversight and all matters pertaining to the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. All of the entities discussed above ultimately answer to the Governing Body and the corporation known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
  11. The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses has comprehensive, pastoral and administrative responsibility including primary responsibility for developmental programs involving congregational publishers and youth, overseeing the work of adults called to assist in teaching and spreading the word, determining the worthiness of all publishers who attend the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses and based on that determination choosing men who are called to serve as ministerial servants, elders, circuit and district overseers, and other positions of responsibility within the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. The Governing Body, through its departments and other entities, is authorized to initiate serious disciplinary proceedings against all publishers including disassociation, disfellowshipping, deletion, acceptance of resignation, reinstatement, restrictions, restoration of privileges, public and private reproof, marking and removal.
  12. Publishers are encouraged to believe that the overseers, from elder to the Governing Body, are "appointed by Holy Spirit" to their office, that decisions of each overseer within the scope of their authority are guided by the Holy Spirit and the overseers are specially endowed with wisdom and understanding from their reading of the Bible. These "gifts in men" are entrusted with Bible education, congregational activity and spiritual direction of all the publishers including the children of Jehovah's Witnesses that attend the local Kingdom Halls. Publishers are expected to seek and comply with the advice of congregation elders, ministerial servants, circuit and district overseers, Bethel elders, and ultimately the Governing Body on matters involving important decisions in their daily lives.
  13. All Jehovah's Witnesses, including those who serve an appointed capacity within the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses as elders, overseers, ministerial servants and pioneers, are functionally indistinguishable from and each of the identified entities in the conduct of the organization's affairs when acting under the direction, guidance and policies promulgated by the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.
  14. Individuals in the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses become publishers through a ritual of baptism. As directed by the Governing Body, publishers donate through the local congregation to the worldwide operations for its worldwide preaching work
  15. Adult male publishers are eligible to be "elders" of the church and elevated to this position by meeting certain Scriptural requirements. These male publishers are then recommended to the Service Department in Patterson, New York by the Service Committee of the local congregation to have met the precepts laid out by the Governing Body. Publishers are instructed that all elders are exemplary in conduct if they are appointed.
  16. All publishers are expected to proselytize the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses and to offer and provide religious instruction to prospective converts, including children
  17. At all times relevant, Defendant Paul Berry was Plaintiff Holly Berry's step-father and Plaintiff Heather Berry's father, and one of Jehovah's Witnesses, a publisher and ministerial servant of the Defendant Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Wilton, New Hampshire. Defendant Paul Berry is a convicted felon and has a history of sexual and physical abuse of children under his care including, but not limited to, his biological children and step children.
  18. Bob Ward, Jim Hilton and Robert Michalowski at all times relevant were elders in the Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. As directed by the Governing Body, the elders of the congregation have specific authority regarding dissemination of communication, and are authorized representatives of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses to receive reports of possible wrongdoing and offer congregational discipline to the organization's publishers.
  19. Between approximately 1980 and 1989 Defendant Berry lived with the Plaintiffs and was married to their mother, Sarah Poisson. During this time, Berry was one of Jehovah's Witnesses and an active publisher of the Wilton Congregation. Over a period of approximately six years, Defendant Berry repeatedly sexually molested the Plaintiffs, beginning when Holly Berry was approximately three years old and continuing to and through the age of ten and beginning when Heather Berry was approximately three years old and continuing through the age of six.
  20. During this time, Plaintiffs' mother, Sarah Poisson, was also one of Jehovah's Witnesses and a publisher of the Wilton Congregation. Plaintiffs and their mother were taught to respect the teachings of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses and to bring any problem with a fellow publisher to the elders. Pursuant to these instructions and teachings, Sarah Poisson repeatedly reported suspected abuse by Berry of his children to elders, Bob Ward, Jim Hilton and Robert Michalowski, Sarah Poisson also told Ward, Hilton and Michalowski of Berry's suspected sexual abuse of the Plaintiff Heather Berry.
  21. In accord with directions to publishers, policies and practices of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, the elders Ward, Hilton and Michalowski told the Plaintiffs' mother she should keep the matter within the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. As elders of the Wilton Congregation, Ward, Hilton and Michalowski were at all times material agents of the church defendants, acting within the course and scope of that agency. The elders told Plaintiffs' mother she should "be a better wife" and that she should "pray more about the situation." Plaintiffs' mother was a devout Jehovah's Witness and was taught to respect the word of the elders as the word of Jehovah or God and follow the directions, guidance, policies and practices of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses as promulgated by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
  22. At all times relevant, New Hampshire had a mandatory reporting statute, NH RSA 169-C:29, requiring the report of suspected child abuse including sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities. Said statute mandates a report by ministers of suspected child abuse to designated authorities. See NH RSA 169-C:29 and 32. At all times material, the elders of the Wilton Congregation were "ministers" of the church defendants such that they had a duty to report under this reporting statute. None of the elders of the Wilton Congregation reported the suspected abuse of Plaintiffs to any designated authority.
  23. Defendant Berry was ultimately convicted of 17 counts of sexual abuse of Plaintiff Holly Berry and was sentenced to a prison term of 56 years.
  24. As a result of the sexual abuse, Plaintiff Holly Berry has incurred and will continue to incur, costs for counseling and psychological treatment, has lost earning capacity and has suffered and will continue to suffer extreme, permanent emotional distress and psychological harm with accompanying physical manifestations.
  25. As a result of the sexual abuse, Plaintiff Heather Berry has incurred and will continue to incur, costs for counseling and psychological treatment, has lost earning capacity and has suffered and will continue to suffer extreme, permanent emotional distress and psychological harm with accompanying physical manifestations.
  26. That the information reported to elders Ward, Hilton and Michalowski by Sarah Poisson was such that they were required by law to report the information to law enforcement authorities. The elders were agents of Defendant Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and were acting in the course and scope of this agency in accordance with the organizational policies and practices of the Defendant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
  27. Despite knowing of his abuse of Berry's children, Holly Berry and Heather Berry, the Wilton Congregation gave Berry the title of ministerial servant in the Wilton Congregation, rather than investigating and taking proper remedial action against Berry and taking reasonable steps to protect children of the Congregation, including the Plaintiffs. As a direct result of the failure to report the child abuse by Berry of Plaintiffs, the sexual abuse continued.
  28. Prior to and during Berry's physical and sexual abuse of Plaintiffs, Defendants Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc., through agents and elders knew or had reason to know that Berry had the propensity and an uncontrollable urge to engage in sexual abuse of children under his control, and that he had sexually abused one or more Jehovah's Witnesses' children under his control. Defendants negligently failed to take reasonable steps to prevent Berry from further abusing children, including the Plaintiffs.
  29. After reports of suspected abuse were made to the elders of the Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses by Plaintiffs' mother, the elders responded in accordance to the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses instructions, practices, policies and procedures, as promulgated by the Governing Body, in regard to possible abuse of children by one of Jehovah's Witnesses. The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses has specifically developed policies, practices and procedures which dictate that the elders are the appropriate authorities to whom abuse by publishers is to be reported. The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses requires adherence to an ancient edict/policy that has been restated to the public and to the publishers within the organization repeatedly. The edict/policy requires two eyewitnesses to abuse before a matter can be established. Pursuant to this edict/policy, the elders are charged with investigating the accusation. The elders have no experience or training in child abuse investigation. Under this edict/policy, if the accused denies the charge, the elders require the accuser or victim to produce witnesses and/or supporting evidence to prove the allegation. The accuser and/or victims are required to prove they are telling the truth by producing people who watched the abuse happen, or present tangible proof such as photographs, DNA or physical evidence. Because child physical and sexual abuse is not susceptible to eyewitness, physical, photographic or other tangible proof and is not committed in the presence of eyewitnesses, the victims often cannot offer the required proof and the organization regards and adjudicates the accused innocent. The victim and/or accuser is required to not warn others, pursuant to practice, policy and procedure, or to speak about the matter to anyone under penalty of discipline by the organization which could include disfellowshipping. Disfellowshipping results in termination and isolation from family and all friends who are Jehovah's Witnesses until the victim/accuser agrees to live by the edict/policy of the organization. Further the victim/accuser is routinely encouraged and required not to report suspected abuse by a publisher to the authorities outside the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses as it would bring reproach on God and the organization.
  30. When one of Jehovah's Witnesses violates organizational policy and reports suspected child abuse to authorities outside the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, that publisher is sanctioned by the organization and sometimes disfellowshipped. In contrast, the accused Jehovah's Witness is routinely given sanctuary, protection, sympathy and support from the organization and other publishers. As a result of those policies and practices, Plaintiffs' mother was sanctioned by the organization for reporting her suspicions of Berry's abuse of children , while the elders of the Wilton Congregation spoke at Berry's criminal sentencing hearing in support of him.
  31. When Plaintiffs' mother brought the information of suspected abuse of the Plaintiffs to the elders in the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, the elders acted in accord with the above-mentioned practice, policy, protocol and instructions in all respects and in the course and scope of their positions as agents of the church defendants. The organization's longstanding policy and practice of minimizing, defending and tolerating abuse by congregation publishers, negligently permitted the abuse to occur and breached a legal duty to Plaintiffs to protect them and to prevent said abuse from occurring.
  32. Defendants Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc, and Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses knowingly allowed, permitted and encouraged Berry's abuse of the Plaintiffs in one or more of the following ways:
    1. by Defendant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Inc.'s longstanding pattern and practice of: (1) openly and notoriously tolerating, minimizing and defending the abuse of children by publishers and elders; (2) blaming, humiliating and disciplining victims/accusers of abuse instead of the perpetrators; and (3) refusing and failing to report such abuse to law enforcement and governmental child welfare agencies and discouraging church publishers from making such reports and requiring church publishers to not make such reports.
    2. by allowing Berry to continue to have unsupervised, unlimited access to his own children and remain a publisher in good standing in the organization.
    3. by failing to report Berry's abuse of children to law enforcement or child protective agencies.
    4. by failing to warn other organization publishers, family publishers and others at risk of Berry's abuse.
    5. by failing to train its employees, volunteers and appointed overseers to prevent, identify, investigate, respond to or report child abuse.
    6. by failing to adopt policies and procedures for the protection of children, other publishers and appointed overseers in the congregation to monitor the implementation and compliance with such procedures that did exist.
    7. by representing to the organization's membership and continuing Berry as a publisher of the congregation in good standing, ultimately promoting him to ministerial servant within the Wilton Congregation.
  33. Defendants' wanton negligence and breach of fiduciary duty are the result of intentional, conscious and outrageous indifference to NH RSA 169-C:29 and to the health, safety and welfare of the Plaintiffs so as to constitute aggravating circumstances entitling Plaintiffs to compensatory and enhanced compensatory damages.
  34. The sexual abuse of Plaintiffs and the circumstances under which it occurred caused Plaintiffs to develop various coping mechanisms and symptoms of psychological distress, including great shame, guilt, self-blame, depression, repression and disassociation. As a result, Plaintiffs were unable to perceive or know the existence or nature of their psychological and emotional injuries and their connection to the sexual abuse perpetrated upon them by Defendant Berry.

COUNT I - (Negligence)

Plaintiffs, for their first cause of action against Defendants Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Inc. and Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses states as follows:

  1. Plaintiffs incorporate all paragraphs of this Complaint as if fully set forth under this count and further alleges
  2. By failing to report the suspected abuse of the Plaintiffs, and by the other acts alleged herein, Defendants permitted the sexual abuse of the Plaintiffs to continue to occur.
  3. As a direct result of Defendants' negligent conduct, Plaintiffs have suffered the injuries and damages alleged herein.

COUNT II - (Breach of Fiduciary Duty)

Plaintiffs, for their second cause of action against Defendants Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Inc. and Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses states as follows:

  1. Plaintiffs incorporate all paragraphs of this Complaint as if fully set forth under this count and further allege:
  2. Defendants owed a fiduciary duty to the Plaintiffs, minor children, to protect them from harm.
  3. Defendants negligently breached the fiduciary duty to Plaintiffs by failing to take reasonable steps to prevent Berry from continuing to molest them, and/or by failing to warn or protect the Plaintiffs.
  4. As a direct result of Defendants' negligent conduct, Plaintiffs have suffered the injuries and damages alleged herein.

COUNT III - (Statutory Failure to Report Suspected Child Abuse)

Plaintiffs, for their third cause of action against Defendants Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Inc. and Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses states as follows:

  1. Plaintiffs incorporates all paragraphs of this Complaint as if fully set forth under this count and further allege:
  2. The elders of the Wilton Congregation are mandatory child abuse reporters pursuant to New Hampshire RSA 169-C:29 and 32.
  3. The elders failed to report their knowledge of Berry's abuse of children to law enforcement agencies or the state of New Hampshire Child Services Division or other governmental agency in accord with statute.
  4. If the elders had complied with the law, Berry would have been prevented from abusing and continuing to abuse Plaintiffs and other vulnerable minors under his control.
  5. As a direct result of Defendants' breach of their statutory duty to report, Plaintiffs have suffered the injuries and damages alleged herein.
  6. The elders were agents of Defendants Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. and the Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, acting in the course and scope of this agency at all relevant times. Thus Defendants are vicariously liable for the negligent and unlawful conduct of the elders.

COUNT IV - (Deceit and Breach of Fiduciary Duty)

Plaintiffs, for their fourth cause of action against Defendants Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Inc. and Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses states as follows:

  1. Plaintiffs incorporates all paragraphs of this Complaint as if fully set forth under this count and further allege:
  2. At all relevant times, Defendants knew or should have known that an individual who is likely to have sexually abused one child under his control is often at risk of continuing to abuse and abusing numerous other children under his control.
  3. Victims of physical and/or sexual abuse by an authority figure are unlikely to openly disclose the abuse or seek counseling for the effects of it by reason of the position of authority the perpetrator or the age of the victim until such time the elders and other publishers of the organization or persons in the control have acknowledged the crime and offered spiritual support to the victim.
    Without such acknowledgment, the victim will tend to believe that they are responsible for the abuse and suffer in secrecy and silence and are unwilling and unable to openly disclose the abuse for fear of retribution, humiliation by the perpetrator or be disfellowshipped from the organization.
  4. After receiving reports of Berry's abuse of one or more children, Defendants with intent to keep that information from Plaintiffs and other victims similarly situated thereby willfully concealed that information and has continually breached their duty to Plaintiffs by failing to investigate adequately whether others had been victimized, failing to notify others that it was safe to disclose they had been abused by Berry and failing publicly to acknowledge Berry's crimes either to the public or within the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.
  5. As a direct result of Defendants' concealment of Berry's crimes and its breach of fiduciary duty, the Plaintiffs did not know that they were not at fault, did not know that they could be believed if they would report it and to various degrees maintained the secrecy of the abuse, blamed themselves and failed to seek counseling for the effects of it and have thus been unable to heal from the effects of the abuse and discover or appreciate how the abuse had permanently and indelibly affected her psychological well-being. Thus Plaintiffs have not discovered defendant's concealment of Berry's crimes and its breach of fiduciary duty until two years within the filing of this complaint.
  6. As a result of Defendants' concealment of Berry's crimes, Plaintiffs have suffered the injuries and damages alleged herein
  7. Defendants' concealment of Berry's crimes and its breach of fiduciary duty was intentional and malicious and/or the result of reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and a conscious indifference to Plaintiffs' health, safety and welfare which conduct is socially intolerable and part of a longstanding pattern of concealing abuse of children by publishers and officials of the church. Plaintiffs are entitled to enhanced compensatory damages.

COUNT V - (Battery)

Plaintiffs, for their first cause of action against Defendant Berry state and allege as follows:

  1. Plaintiffs incorporates all paragraphs of this Complaint as if fully set forth under this count and further allege
  2. Over a course of six years, Defendant Berry engaged in a pattern of intentional, unwanted sexual touching of Plaintiffs Holly Berry and Heather Berry.
  3. As a direct result of this unlawful conduct, Plaintiffs have suffered the injuries and damages alleged herein.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs demand judgment for compensatory and punitive damages against each of the Defendants, individually, jointly and severely in an amount in an amount within the jurisdiction of this Court. Plaintiffs also demand judgment against each of the Defendants for their costs and disbursements, including reasonable attorneys fees, interest and any other relief the Court deems is just and equitable.

DATED this _______ day of ____________, 2001.

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