Many opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses have placed their faith in the law firm of Love and Norris hoping they can win a big judgment against the Watchtower Society in the courts of the land and thus hoping to discredit the Watchtower's child abuse policy. So far, they have been unsuccessful. After Kimberlee Norris read much of the information presented in the previous chapter called Deal or No Deal, she felt the need to respond and did so on the site known as Topix. She stated:
"I find it interesting that current WTS apologists voice very strong (and uninformed)opinions about the 'strength' of past cases against Watchtower with little if any ACTUAL information about the ongoing litigation between Watchtower and abuse victims. Settlements occur for various reasons. The emotional health of the litigant is one consideration.
In any case, 3rd witness is CLUELESS about actual settlement value. We don't pursue cases wherein we cannot prevail; not good for client, and not good business. In general, I can't spend what it takes to pursue abuse cases without significant return.
BTW, it is lunacy for any attorney to ever say she/he WILL NOT SETTLE, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. The best interest of a client is often served by settling a case, whether because of passing time, health needs or emotional strain. Kimberlee D. Norris attorney at law"
"WTS apologists" responded with evidence and documentation and difficult questions left unanswered by Ms. Norris.
Thirdwitness responded: "Assuming you are really Kimberlee D. Norris, first I would like to thank you for your reply. I certainly realize that you would want to recoup the money spent plus a little pocket change for yourself and those you represent. But by saying that '3rd witness is CLUELESS about actual settlement value', are you saying that the settlement was indeed for MILLIONS of dollars? I suspect that would be highly unlikely at this stage of the trial. Here is why.
Take a look at the abuse case brought against the Mormons because of John Charles Blome. Quoting from one source we read: "This civil case was filed in Montgomery County, Texas and went to jury trial. The case settled for $4 Million after the Mormons were found negligent. A 13 year old boy who was molested by a Mormon Church youth leader in Magnolia Ward was awarded more than his own lawyers sought October 8, 1998. Blome molested many other boys from the same area and in other areas. Sheriff's deputies were upset that the Mormon Bishop tipped Blome to the pending investigation, and he burned evidence before it could be seized. In an earlier case against Blome the Mormon Church was also found negligent."
As you see this case went before the jury and the Mormon Church was found negligent. Then what happened? It was settled for 4 million dollars. As you see this was the SECOND time the Church had been found negligent because of this man. You must surely realize that this is one of the worse cases of negligence that could possibly happen.
Now, when considering the above case, do you actually expect us to believe that the WTS would make a settlement offer of 3 or 4 million dollars per case equaling what the Mormons paid after being found negligent in court, not once but twice, in addition to burning evidence? Do you expect us to believe that the WTS offered 3 or 4 million per case when the cases had not even went to trial yet. And not only that, the WTS had not already previously been found negligent because of abusers in any of these cases nor had they been found guilty of burning evidence as the Mormon church had been? Millions of dollars offered by the WTS pre-trial?
Are you telling us that?
Additionally you say: "The emotional health of the litigant is one consideration." It would be quite a huge coincidence if all 16 cases were settled for that reason. Is that what you are trying to tell us?
Looking forward to your reply."
When met with the evidence and documentation how would she respond? Would she respond with a clear presentation of the facts to prove her position? Take note of how in her response she put forth no evidence and actually got off topic stating:
"The amount of settlement cannot be communicated on a public forum, due to confidentiality agreements.
You apparently know little of the facts of the cases brought against WTS. What you are describing is referred to as 'notice', and necessary to hold any defendant responsible for the actions of its agents, employees or volunteers, at least in this context.
You are welcome, for the response.
Kimberlee D. Norris"
Diogenes then asked: "How exactly did you prevail? I noticed all your cases were dismissed with prejudice. That doesn't sound like winning to me. And why did you advise all your clients to agree to a settlement with a gag attached? Could it be that during discovery you found out that your cases weren't as rock solid as you thought?
You have been actively soliciting to JW abuse victims (just like the ambulance chasers you see on TV) for quite some time now. After all the years just exactly how many cases have you won? By my count itís still stuck on 0."
Thirdwitness also again responded: "Ms Norris, And just for the record it is one of your friends at JWD named Gerard who said:
"On the other hand, I am extremely disapointed on Kimberly Norris, their attorney. I asked her a couple of years ago in this list and she said she would never settle. I guess everyone has a price...lawyers standing on the sidelines are not exeption. A lawyer needs more abuses in the future to keep settling them out of court. Why kill the hen that lays gold eggs?"
I suppose he could be lying. But it seems very unlikely since he is a supporter of you. Later after being reprimanded by some for his friends at JWD for his comment he said:
"For the record: Kim told me she would not setle, so that was disapointing and caused me anger as I felt she lied. Actually, Kim, you are the only one that has brought the WT to their knees. Your work is amazing and my opinion on your change of tactics should have been kept private, after all, I am not a victim but an observer.
I am very happy these victims got closure and substancial settlement. The root of my frustration (that I took on Kim) are the dozens or hundreds of children that are and will become victims of sexual abuse.... We must find a way that this settlement will help them too, but with a gag order, no reporter will want to touch it and the WT is winning."
Unfortunately, some of your posts at JWD have mysteriously been wiped clean and we can no longer verify what Gerard said.
Just wondering if you could tell us if those you represented were 'forced' to sign the confidentiality agreements as claimed by Bowen and others. Also please enlighten me about the cases if you can since I 'know little of the facts'. I would be happy to look at any information or court transcripts or depositions that you could provide for us. Thanks again for taking the time to reply."
The replies of the 'WTS apologists' were met with silence from Kimberlee Norris. We have to wonder why she even responded in the first place. Was it merely an attempt to belittle 'WTS apologists' by using bullying tactics to show her superior knowledge of the cases and legalities involved? When getting off topic was it just to show all that the 'WTS apologists' were out of her league when it came to understanding legal terms or expressions. She certainly presented absolutely no evidence to support her position. Using the same ploy that opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses often use, she merely tossed out meaningless phrases meant to belittle and prejudice readers against the 'WTS apologists'. Notice some of those phrases: "WTS apologists voice very strong (and uninformed)opinions...with little if any ACTUAL information...3rd witness is CLUELESS...You apparently know little of the facts "
In reality, we surely must feel bad for Ms. Norris because she has been misinformed and misled about the true child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses. Notice, according to law.com, where Norris received much of her information about the child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses. It says of Norris: "...she searched the Web site www.silentlambs.org, a group that assists the survivors of alleged JW abuse. She then contacted silentlambs' founder, Bill Bowen, a former church elder. Bowen says that the religion's organizational structure is so intricate, its apocalyptic vision so unconventional, "it takes up to six months to get a lawyer up to speed." In Norris, a self-described "preacher's kid" who had briefly attended Bible study sessions with Jehovah's Witnesses as a teenager, Bowen found someone ahead of the curve. With Bowen tutoring her, sadly, she was apparently duped into believing in Bowen's invented mythical Watchtower child abuse policy that has never existed.
Thus you will find that what Kim Norris says often sounds like quotes from Bill Bowen. Notice this from the law.com article quoted from earlier: "Moreno says, ... "Victims and their families also have the absolute right to report abuse to the authorities." Norris counters that church practice is just the opposite. In each of the JW suits, her clients allege that Watchtower defendants enforce an "organization-wide policy preventing the reporting of child sexual abuse to law enforcement." And notice this article by Jennifer Rouse of the Mid-Valley Sunday: "Kimberlee Norris, one of the Texas lawyers filing cases against Jehovah's Witnesses, contends that church policies create an opportunity for abuse to occur. One policy, she says, tells church members to report problems involving other believers to church leaders instead of police. Another requires two eyewitnesses to an incident before the accused person can be punished."
Of course, we have previously shown those statements to be in direct conflict with the Watchtower's policy and practice as shown by this 1992 letter from the Watchtower Society which clearly states: "It is also a personal decision if the alleged victim chooses to report such accusations to the secular authorities....all in the Christian congregation would want to consider their personal and moral responsibility to alert the appropriate authorities in cases where there has been committed or there exists a risk that there might be committed a serious criminal offence of this type..." And this statement from the Watchtower policy found at their website: "However, if two persons are witnesses to separate incidents of the same kind of wrongdoing, their testimony may be deemed sufficient to take action."
It would be our hope that Ms. Norris would read the information presented here and realize that Bill Bowen and company have invented a child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses that does not exist. The real child abuse policy is presented in these writings with detailed documentation and instructions from the Watchtower Society. In time, we would hope that Ms. Norris would come to see that rather than being a pedophile paradise, the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses is just the opposite, a pedophile's nightmare. We would hope that Ms. Norris would see that her time, money, and efforts could be better spent pursuing organizations that do not disfellowship and shun practicing pedophiles, that do not keep a database to ensure that no former molesters are given responsible positions, that really try to hide pedophiles by simply moving them to another church to continue serving. And we would hope that Ms. Norris would see the truth, that she is pursuing a religious organization that has a child abuse policy 'unequaled in the religious community'. But somehow Ms. Norris is probably finding that out case by case!
During the discovery phase of the California lawsuits a child abuse telememo was submitted by the Watchtower Society as evidence. Opposers claim this telememo was damaging to the Watchtower Society. We will examine it next.
Chapter Twenty: The Tell-Tale Telememo