An Alameda County Superior Court jury has awarded $21 million in punitive damages and $7 million in compensatory damages to Candace Conti after finding that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were partially responsible for the sexual abuse suffered by Conti for two years, starting when she was about nine-years-old. Conti is now 26.
According to MSNBC, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York was found responsible for all punitive damages, and 40 percent of the compensatory damages. Jonathan Kendrick, a Jehovah’s Witness member and alleged abuser of Conti was found responsible for 60 percent of the compensatory damages.
Conti filed the lawsuit in 2011 against Watchtower, a Fremont, California congregation, and Kendrick. “The ultimate goal of the lawsuit was to have a change in policy, to be able to ID these people, child molesters, to the congregation to protect children. Secondarily, to have silent ones come forward and tell their stories and to bring to light that overall issue of violence and the hush-hush policy,” Conti told MSNBC.
In the case, the jury found that the congregation elders, who were supervised by Watchtower in the 1990s when the alleged abuse occurred, knew that Kendrick was a convicted child sex abuser, however, they kept that information from the other members of the congregation.