July 16, 2005

High court rejects claim against Wilton church

The Union Leader

Union Leader Staff

CONCORD — The state Supreme Court ruled, 3-1, yesterday that two girls who were molested by their father cannot sue the Wilton Jehovah’s Witness congregation and the church’s governing body for allegedly concealing the abuse from authorities.

The high court said although the criminal statutes require the Jehovah’s Witnesses to report to police any sex abuse against children, they cannot be held liable in civil court if they do not report it.

Justice Linda S. Dalianis, in a dissenting opinion, concluded that the church did have a common law duty to the victims.

She pointed out that the children’s mother made approximately a dozen complaints to church elders and they instructed her not to report it to authorities and advised her to “be silent about the abuse and to be a better wife.”

Posted by kshaw at July 16, 2005 03:38 AM