Well you might say we had a marvelous time in Minnesota . I traveled to ST Paul Minnesota on Monday of this week to meet with Jeff Anderson and discuss upcoming defen dan ts that are coming out to sue Watchtower. On Tuesday I was able to meet Heidi Meyer for the first time. She had contacted me after viewing the Dateline program and was motivated as many others are to stand up and do something about being silenced by her local elders. Heidi reported that her molester may have molested as many as ten young girls. Yet he still remains a JW in good standing and reads for the book study. Along with Heidi is a “Jane Doe” who chose to remain anonymous to the public. Both are 22 years of age and on Tuesday through Jeff Anderson’s office filed yet another lawsuit against Watchtower. This will now make officially five young women who are in litigation with the Society over being molested.

 

The press conference was held at Mr. Anderson’s office. The office occupies the entire floor of a St Paul high rise. We were hoping to have at least two cameras and a newspaper show up for the press conference. As 1:30 pm neared the press just kept coming, we kept having to wait for them to set up more cameras. Finally fifteen minutes late we came into a huge conference room. There were five cameras running, representing a clean sweep of all televised media in the Minneapolis area. Both of the major newspapers were there along with the AP and a few othe r r eporters that I did not know who they were with. We expected the press conference to last 15 minutes, it lasted an hour. The reporters just kept asking questions , you know the kind JR Brown cannot answer unless he hands out his one year old video. It was amazing to see how quickly they were getting it and the look of disdain and shock when they realized what Watchtower Policy had done to these beautiful young ladies. After the Conference the story was up on the internet within thirty minutes. We went out to celebrate and at a local pub got to watch ourselves on television. A few people came up to the table and asked if that was us on TV and we were happy to explain the basis for our faith….no wait, instead, we talked about JW elders hiding child molesters locally. Everyone gave us atta boys and appreciation for what we were doing. One person there was so moved he bought everyone at our table a round of drinks as a salute. There are no words to describe the look of hope and vindication that was found in the eyes of these young sisters. They were no longer silentlambs they had taken their power back from those who had robbed it from them. There was also a young sister who came from over 1500 miles away when she heard about the lawsuit being filed. She just wanted to be there for support, she had never met either of these sisters before, she to is a survivor of a JW molester. It moved Mr. Anderson so much to see her there….. Well, let’s just say you might be learning her name soon in your local paper, but why should we allow Watchtower to know when or where?

 

As we sit and talked I mentioned that it appears we spanked Watchtower again. You may recall that as a quote that was made in the Paducah paper when the judicial committee failed to show for their hearing. I went on to say it seems this is getting to be a habit when you consider the events of the last year. Tim e and again when they maneuver their misinformation moves, it blows up in their faces. It was then Heidi made the comment, “Well you know Bill the bible says, Spare the rod, spoil the organization.” What better quote to end this with than that, I think I will go write that on the bathroom wall, “Spare the rod, spoil the organization.”

 

Below you will see the articles I have been able to find on this, if you find others send them to me and I will put it on the sl list. Please remember to write the reporters and editors of these papers and express appreciation for their efforts.

 

Regards,

Bill

Women allege abuse by Jehovah's Witness

http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/3033760.html

Paul McEnroe

Star Tribune, Published Jul 3, 2002

Two women who alleged they were sexually abused when they were children by a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses Church in Annandale, Minn., filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Wright County.

The women claim they were abused at various times by Derek Lindala of South Haven, Minn., while on church-related outings and at Lindala's parents' home. The abuse reportedly happened during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Lindala wasn't available to comment.

One of the women, Heidi Meyer, 22, said during a news conference Tuesday that she was between 10 and 12 years old when Lindala molested her many times. She said that when she reported to her parents that she'd been abused, elders ordered her to stay silent o r r isk being shunned by church members and losing membership in the congregation.

The other woman who sued is requesting anonymity and is identified in the suit as Jane Doe. Both women live in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities.

Lindala doesn't have a criminal record in Wright County, according to Sheriff Gary Wright. He said he could not comment on whether a criminal case had been opened in connection with the allegations. However, Jeff Anderson, the attorney representing the women, said his clients told him that they reported the case two weeks ago to sheriff's investigators.

"I was molested repeatedly by a member who was allowed to remain in good standing," Meyer said. "I came forth, and the elders of the church determined that I mistakenly interpreted the entire incident. They said that if I were to speak out, I'd face a judicial committee for spreading slander and gossip. That's a very powerful threat."

Anderson, who has filed sexual abuse cases against Catholic priests and leaders in the Mormon Church, attacked the Jehovah's Witnesses' national organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York City, saying its policy is to have elders confront people who allege abuse.

Church responds

When an abuse allegation is made, the elders on a church judicial committee speak to each party and decide who is telling the truth, Anderson said. He said such a policy is intimidating, especially for children.

In a statement issued following the suit's filing, church elders in the New York headquarters denied protecting sexual predators in congregations. "We abhor the sexual abuse of children and will not protect any perpetrator from the consequences of this gross and perverse sin," the statement said.

Bill Bowen, a Jehovah's Witnesses elder from Kentucky whose nonprofit organization helps sexual abuse victims in the church, said thousands of members have come to his organization seeking counsel.

"They live in absolute terror if they go public with their s tori es," Bowen said. "People like Heidi Meyer are heroes."

-- Paul McEnroe is at pmcenroe@startribune.com .

http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/07/02/jehovahs.witness.lawsuit.ap/index.html

CNN.com

 

Lawsuit alleges sexual abuse amon g Jehovah's Witnesses

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) --Two women sued their Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and the church's parent organization Tuesday, alleging church elders told them to remain silent about being sexually abused by a member.

The church member, who allegedly abused the women as children, is also named in the lawsuit. The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages for each of the women, now 22 years old.

No one answered the phone Tuesday at the church in Annandale, about 60 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Officials at the parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in New York, had no comment.

The lawsuit alleges Derek Lindala, 30, molested one girl repeatedly when she was between 11 and 13 years old and another girl once in 1990.

Both women say they told congregation elders but were told to remain silent. Police were never notified.

Lindala, whose uncle is an elder at the church, did not return a message Tuesday.

One plaintiff filed under the name Jane Doe. The other, Heidi Meyer of Minneapolis, spoke at a news conference announcing the lawsuit.

"Living with this secret was very hard," Meyer said. "It's traumatic."

Meyer said church elders told her she had misinterpreted Lindala's conduct, and because there were not two eyewitnesses, her comments could be seen as slander or gossip The other woman alleges Lindala molested her when she spent the night at his family's home.

The women no longer belong to the church.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, o r r edistributed.

 

 

 

 

 

Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/07/02/jehovahs.witness.lawsuit.ap/index.html

 

Minn. Women Sue Jehovah's Witnesses

The Associated Press, Tue 2 Jul 2002

http://cgi.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=14438851&template=worldnews/search.txt&index=recent

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two women sued their Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and the church's parent organization Tuesday, alleging church elders told them to remain silent about being sexually abused by a member.

The church member, who allegedly abused the women as children, is also named in the lawsuit. The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages for each of the women, now 22 years old.

No one answered the phone Tuesday at the church in Annandale, about 60 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Officials at the parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in New York, had no comment.

The lawsuit alleges Derek Lindala, 30, molested one girl repeatedly when she was between 11 and 13 years old and another girl once in 1990.

Both women say they told congregation elders but were told to remain silent. Police were never notified.

Lindala, whose uncle is an elder at the church, did not return a message Tuesday.

One plaintiff filed under the name Jane Doe. The other, Heidi Meyer of Minneapolis, spoke at a news conference announcing the lawsuit.

``Living with this secret was very hard,'' Meyer said. ``It's traumatic.''

Meyer said church elders told her she had misinterpreted Lindala's conduct, and because there were not two eyewitnesses, her comments could be seen as slander or gossip

The other woman alleges Lindala molested her when she spent the night at his family's home.

The women no longer belong to the church.

Las Vegas SUN


July 02, 2002

Minn. Women Sue Jehovah's Witnesses

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/text/2002/jul/02/070203038.html

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Two women sued their Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and the church's parent organization Tuesday, alleging church elders told them to remain silent about being sexually abused by a member.

The church member, who allegedly abused the women as children, is also named in the lawsuit. The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages for each of the women, now 22 years old.

No one answered the phone Tuesday at the church in Annandale, about 60 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Officials at the parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in New York, had no comment.

The lawsuit alleges Derek Lindala, 30, molested one girl repeatedly when she was between 11 and 13 years old and another girl once in 1990.

Both women say they told congregation elders but were told to remain silent. Police were never notified.

Lindala, whose uncle is an elder at the church, did not return a message Tuesday.

One plaintiff filed under the name Jane Doe. The other, Heidi Meyer of Minneapolis, spoke at a news conference announcing the lawsuit.

"Living with this secret was very hard," Meyer said. "It's traumatic."

Meyer said church elders told her she had misinterpreted Lindala's conduct, and because there were not two eyewitnesses, her comments could be seen as slander or gossip

The other woman alleges Lindala molested her when she spent the night at his family's home.

The women no longer belong to the church.

--




Two Minnesotans sue Jehovah's Witnessess  
By the Associated Press ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Two women sued their Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and the church's parent organizatio...
Missoulian   Wed Jul 3 15:22:00 2002 GMT Translate

Two accuse Jehovah's Witness of abuse; one says church...  
Abstract not available
Star Tribune   Wed Jul 3 05:54:00 2002 GMT Translate

Two Minnesota women sue Jehovah's Witnesses, allege...  
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Two women sued their Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and the church's parent organization Tuesday, alleging chu...
AP via New Jersey Online   Wed Jul 3 01:47:00 2002 GMT Translate

Two file sex abuse suit against Jehovah's Witnesses...  
After these incidents, said the plaintiffs attorney, Jeffrey Anderson of St. Paul, these women went to the elders, and they were told, ...
Pioneer Planet   Wed Jul 3 01:07:00 2002 GMT Translate



 

Posted on Tue, Jul. 02, 2002

http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/3588212.htm

Two file sex abuse suit against Jehovah's Witnesses congregation

BY STEPHEN SCOTT
Religion Editor

Two women filed a civil suit Tuesday alleging they were sexually abused as young girls by a fellow member of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in Annandale, Minn.

The women, both now 22 and living in the Twin Cities, say the religion's very tenets make it virtually impossible for victims to come forward, because at least two witnesses are required to corroborate any act of wrongdoing.

“After these incidents,’’ said the plaintiff’s attorney, Jeffrey Anderson of St. Paul, “these women went to the elders, and they were told, 'We don’t really believe you, because we require two witnesses to this for it to have happened, and if there aren't two, you are giving false testimony.' ”

At issue is Jehovah's Witnesses understanding of the Bible, specifically Deuteronomy 19:15, which says a single witness shall not suffice in convicting a person of a crime or wrongdoing.

Although Jehovah’s Witnesses do not interpret every passage of the Bible literally, they base their beliefs solely on principles found in the Bible.

“If the accused … denies the charges and there are no others who can substantiate them, the elders cannot take action within the congregation at that time,’’ says the group’s official statement called “Jehovah’s Witnesses and Child Protection.’’

Both plaintiffs allege that while they were between 10 and 12 years old, they were fondled by a male member of the congregation who was eight years older.

Named as defen dan ts are Derek Lindala, 30, of South Haven, Minn., who is alleged to have fondled the girls on separate occasions either in his family home or while on church-related activities; the Annandale congregation; and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, which is the Jehovah's Witnesses incorporated headquarters.

 

Guardian Unlimited

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-1851957,00.html

 

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Minn. Women Sue Jehovah's Witnesses


Wednesday July 3, 2002 1:10 AM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Two women sued their Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and the church's parent organization Tuesday, alleging church elders told them to remain silent about being sexually abused by a member.

The church member, who allegedly abused the women as children, is also named in the lawsuit. The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages for each of the women, now 22 years old.

No one answered the phone Tuesday at the church in Annandale, about 60 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Officials at the parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in New York, had no comment.

The lawsuit alleges Derek Lindala, 30, molested one girl repeatedly when she was between 11 and 13 years old and another girl once in 1990.

Both women say they told congregation elders but were told to remain silent. Police were never notified.

Lindala, whose uncle is an elder at the church, did not return a message Tuesday.

One plaintiff filed under the name Jane Doe. The other, Heidi Meyer of Minneapolis, spoke at a news conference announcing the lawsuit.

``Living with this secret was very hard,'' Meyer said. ``It's traumatic.''

Meyer said church elders told her she had misinterpreted Lindala's conduct, and because there were not two eyewitnesses, her comments could be seen as slander or gossip

The other woman alleges Lindala molested her when she spent the night at his family's home.

The women no longer belong to the church.

 

Minnesota women sue Jehovah's Witnesses  -  Miami Herald

 

Two Minnesota women sue Jehovah's Witnesses, allege...  
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Two women sued their Jehovah's Witnesses congregation and the church's parent organization Tuesday, alleging chu...
AP via New Jersey Online   Wed Jul 3 01:47:00 2002 GMT Translate

 

 

Minnesota women file lawsuit against Jehovah's Witnesses BuildVideoLink('image','false','23942','Minnesota women file lawsuit against Jehovah's Witnesses');
http://www.kstp.com/article/view/23942/

Publishing date: 07-02-2002 3:26 PM
By ASHLEY H. GRANT
Associated Press Writer

ST. PAUL (AP) - Two Minnesota women who say they were sexually abused by a Jehovah's Witness filed a lawsuit Tuesday against him, their congregation and the church's parent organization in New York.

The lawsuit, filed in Wright County District Court just west of the Twin Cities, seeks damages of more than $50,000. Three local congregation leaders are cited by name in the lawsuit, but are not defen dan ts.

Heidi Meyer, 22, of Minneapolis, claims in the filing that Derek Lindala, a member of the Annandale, Minn., congregation molested her when she was between the ages of 11 and 13. The other alleged victim, who has chosen to remain anonymous and filed as "Jane Doe," also 22, claims Lindala molested her in or about 1990.

Both women say they told congregation elders about the alleged abuse, but were told to remain silent. Police were never notified.

Lindala did not immediately return a phone message requesting comment. No one answered a phone call seeking comment at the Annandale church. Officials at the parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in New York, said they had no immediate comment.

"I was molested repeatedly throughout a two-year period," Meyer said. But she said the elders determined she "misinterpreted" Lindala's conduct.

She said church officials told her that because there weren't two eyewitnesses to the alleged abuse, any comments she made about it could be seen as slander or gossip, and that she could be excommunicated from the church.

Doe told a similar story. She said Lindala molested her only once, when she spent the night at his family's home when she spent the night with one of his sisters. She also said the elders dismissed her claims, even accusing her of dressing provocatively.

Lindala is eight years older than the two women. He is still an active member of the church, they said, but neither of the women are anymore.

Meyer said she hadn't told her parents before filing the lawsuit. She said she planned to tell them later Tuesday.

"I expect it to be a very hurt, very betrayed reaction," she said.

Also speaking at the news conference was William Bowen, a Jehovah's Witness and former elder from Draffenville, Ky., who runs a self-help group with a Web site for people molested by Jehovah's Witnesses. Bowen said he's been contacted by over 5,000 victims who want to get help or speak out.

"Many of these victims live in absolute terror," he said.

According to the lawsuit, Jehovah's Witnesses try to keep all matters internal. But Bowen said the elders are not equipped to deal with matters such as sexual abuse of children.

The attorney for the women, Jeff Anderson, of St. Paul, said he has received calls from about 100 people claiming they were abused by Jehovah's Witnesses. While this lawsuit seeks damages only for Meyer and Doe, he said the reason for the lawsuit is bigger. He wants the church to change the way it handles such cases.

"It exposes them," Anderson said.

A handful of other sexual abuse lawsuits against Jehovah's Witnesses are pending across the country, including in Washington State and New Hampshire.

 

Minnesota Women File Lawsuit Against Jehovah's Witnesses
http://www.kare11.com/news/news-article.asp?NEWS_ID=32911

Two Minnesota women have filed a lawsuit on claims they were sexually abused by a fellow Jehovah's Witness member.

A 22-year-old Minneapolis woman claims that a member of the Annandale congregation molested he r r epeatedly when she was between the ages of 11 and 13.

Heidi Meyer says she ignored warnings fro m c hurch elders when she decided to go public with her decade-old story of abuse.

"They determined that I had misinterpreted the entire incident," said Heidi Meyer, adding that she was told she "needed to be careful about what I said about this because I did not have two eyewitnesses to the event."

Meyer says she was alone with her attacker when the abuse happened. The Jehovah's Witnesses believe in a scriptural interpretation of the bible that requires two witnesses to a crime.

That rule, says a former Jehovah elder who now runs a website for victims of abuse, gives pedophiles free reign.

"I call it a pedophile paradise. These people allow children to be hurt and it's the victims that are suffering. It's the cries of these victims," said former Church Elder William Bowen.

But more and more people who claim to have been abused are going to court.

Jeff Anderson, a lawyer known for his lawsuits against alleged ab user s in the Catholic clergy is now ready to take on the Jehovah's witnesses. He says the leaders of both churches are disturbingly similar.

"They are patriarchal, they are hierarchical, and they protect the members of their church who are all male," he says.

Those men, once revered, failed Heidi Meyer. She says that when she turned to them for help they turned her away.

"I fully expected their support, their comfort, their shepherding — and I received none of that, absolutely none of that," Meyer says.

Meyer's is joined in her lawsuit by a second plaintiff, also 22, who claims the same man molested her about 12 years ago.

Officials at the church's parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in New York , issued a statement saying: "We abhor the sexual abuse of children and will not protect any perpetrator from the consequences of this gross and perverse sin."

The women are seeking more then $50,000 each in the lawsuit filed in Wright County District Court. Named as defen dan ts are the alleged ab user , the Annandale congregation and the church's parent organization in New York .

The second woman says she also told congregation elders about the alleged abuse, and was also told to remain silent. Police were never notified of either case.

Attempts have been made to reach the alleged molester for comment. He has not yet responded. KARE TV is not currently revealing the name of the alleged ab user , in part because he is not facing criminal charges and in part because he has not had the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

(Copyright 2002 by KARE 11. All Rights Reserved.) (Portions Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)