Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Tough to build Jehovah's Witness sex-abuse case

Without documents, says plaintiff, he can’t get justice

On Friday, April 29, an attorney for Osbaldo Padron will ask a judge to impose severe sanctions on the Jehovah's Witness Church for refusing to turn over documents. The documents allegedly show the church was aware of sexual abuse committed over decades by a San Diego–based church leader on young boys, such as Padron.

The request for sanctions is the latest development in a childhood sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the church in several countries in recent years. In San Diego, the case is the ninth against church leader Gonzalo Campos; seven settled out of court.

In 2013, according to a 2014 article in the Union-Tribune, a judge ordered the Jehovah's Witness Church, also known as the Watchtower, to pay José Lopez $13.5 million for covering up sexual abuse he suffered at the hands Campos. In Lopez’s case, he was seven years old in 1986 when Campos sexually abused him in a bathroom during a Bible-study outing.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Campos’s history of molestation of young boys went beyond the eight victims, according to Padron's 2013 lawsuit.

In 1982, then–18-year-old Campos allegedly tried to have sex with his 12-year-old roommate. The boy fought back, hitting Campos multiple times with a bat. The boy told church leaders and they promised to investigate. Four years later, Campos was again accused of molesting children, including Lopez and the other seven people who later filed lawsuits.

In 1987, Campos joined the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation of the Jehovah's Witness Church. According to the lawsuit, leaders of the congregation were aware of the accusations against Campos. Despite this, he was continually promoted to a leadership role for the congregation.

In 1994, several more complaints surfaced against Campos. In April of that year, an alleged victim’s parents wrote to church leaders asking for an investigation. Months later the letter was forwarded to church officials at Watchtower headquarters in New York. It was at that time that Campos was allegedly molesting then-seven-year-old Padron.

Padron filed his lawsuit in September 2013. Since filing, says the recent request for sanctions, church officials and their attorneys have stonewalled in turning over documents, despite a March 2015 court order requiring them to do so.

Among the documents requested is a March 14, 1997, "Body of Elders" letter that was sent to congregations throughout the world requesting detailed information on alleged sexual abuse by church leaders. The letter, and subsequent responses generated during the following years, would show that leaders at the New York headquarters and throughout the church were aware of childhood sex abuse by church elders. But the church has refused to comply. And even when doing so they have turned over heavily redacted documents.

"...Watchtower produced documents that redacted the names of victims, elders, perpetrators, congregations (as well as the addresses and contact information of the congregation), towns where abuse occurred, law enforcement agencies that investigated claims, and other material," reads a newly filed court document. "The redactions are so extreme that Plaintiff cannot make use of them. Plaintiff submitted a sampling of these redacted documents to the discovery referee and this Court, who each agreed that the redactions are so broad as to undermine Plaintiff's ability to use them.

"This court determined the requested documents were relevant, unprivileged, and that production would not be overly burdensome. This court also specifically addressed third party privacy, stating: ‘all personal, identifying information pertaining to any third party/victim should be redacted from the documents to address any privacy concerns.’”

In a court motion, Padron's attorney, Irwin Zalkin, says the court must get tough with the church and issue terminating sanctions compelling church leaders and their attorneys to follow orders. If granted, terminating sanctions would impose fines on the church for each day it fails to turn over the documents. If the documents are still not produced after a reasonable amount of time, the judge could order dismissal of the case and render judgment against the Watchtower, the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation, and Campos.

The motion, as well as a request from the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation for summary judgement, will be heard in department 75 at 9 a.m. on Friday, inside the San Diego Superior Court building downtown.

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Del Mar Beer Fest, Shark Summer at Birch Aquarium

Events July 21-July 24, 2024
Next Article

Tesla drivers denounce Caltrans plans for road tax

"It's really unfair to the people who bought the EVs."

On Friday, April 29, an attorney for Osbaldo Padron will ask a judge to impose severe sanctions on the Jehovah's Witness Church for refusing to turn over documents. The documents allegedly show the church was aware of sexual abuse committed over decades by a San Diego–based church leader on young boys, such as Padron.

The request for sanctions is the latest development in a childhood sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the church in several countries in recent years. In San Diego, the case is the ninth against church leader Gonzalo Campos; seven settled out of court.

In 2013, according to a 2014 article in the Union-Tribune, a judge ordered the Jehovah's Witness Church, also known as the Watchtower, to pay José Lopez $13.5 million for covering up sexual abuse he suffered at the hands Campos. In Lopez’s case, he was seven years old in 1986 when Campos sexually abused him in a bathroom during a Bible-study outing.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Campos’s history of molestation of young boys went beyond the eight victims, according to Padron's 2013 lawsuit.

In 1982, then–18-year-old Campos allegedly tried to have sex with his 12-year-old roommate. The boy fought back, hitting Campos multiple times with a bat. The boy told church leaders and they promised to investigate. Four years later, Campos was again accused of molesting children, including Lopez and the other seven people who later filed lawsuits.

In 1987, Campos joined the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation of the Jehovah's Witness Church. According to the lawsuit, leaders of the congregation were aware of the accusations against Campos. Despite this, he was continually promoted to a leadership role for the congregation.

In 1994, several more complaints surfaced against Campos. In April of that year, an alleged victim’s parents wrote to church leaders asking for an investigation. Months later the letter was forwarded to church officials at Watchtower headquarters in New York. It was at that time that Campos was allegedly molesting then-seven-year-old Padron.

Padron filed his lawsuit in September 2013. Since filing, says the recent request for sanctions, church officials and their attorneys have stonewalled in turning over documents, despite a March 2015 court order requiring them to do so.

Among the documents requested is a March 14, 1997, "Body of Elders" letter that was sent to congregations throughout the world requesting detailed information on alleged sexual abuse by church leaders. The letter, and subsequent responses generated during the following years, would show that leaders at the New York headquarters and throughout the church were aware of childhood sex abuse by church elders. But the church has refused to comply. And even when doing so they have turned over heavily redacted documents.

"...Watchtower produced documents that redacted the names of victims, elders, perpetrators, congregations (as well as the addresses and contact information of the congregation), towns where abuse occurred, law enforcement agencies that investigated claims, and other material," reads a newly filed court document. "The redactions are so extreme that Plaintiff cannot make use of them. Plaintiff submitted a sampling of these redacted documents to the discovery referee and this Court, who each agreed that the redactions are so broad as to undermine Plaintiff's ability to use them.

"This court determined the requested documents were relevant, unprivileged, and that production would not be overly burdensome. This court also specifically addressed third party privacy, stating: ‘all personal, identifying information pertaining to any third party/victim should be redacted from the documents to address any privacy concerns.’”

In a court motion, Padron's attorney, Irwin Zalkin, says the court must get tough with the church and issue terminating sanctions compelling church leaders and their attorneys to follow orders. If granted, terminating sanctions would impose fines on the church for each day it fails to turn over the documents. If the documents are still not produced after a reasonable amount of time, the judge could order dismissal of the case and render judgment against the Watchtower, the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation, and Campos.

The motion, as well as a request from the Playa Pacific Spanish Congregation for summary judgement, will be heard in department 75 at 9 a.m. on Friday, inside the San Diego Superior Court building downtown.

Comments
Sponsored

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Live Arts Fest, San Diego Bayfest, Cardiff Dog Days of Summer

Events July 18-July 21, 2024
Next Article

Del Mar Beer Fest, Shark Summer at Birch Aquarium

Events July 21-July 24, 2024
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.