Lawsuit Awards Man $13.5 Million In Jehovah's Witness Sex Abuse Case

(Photo: Reuters/Hazir Reka))The moon is seen behind the Orthodox church Christ the Saviour in Pristina, Serbia, April 13, 2007. The U.S. government cannot trade a parcel of land to private hands to allow a Christian cross to remain in the middle of a vast federal preserve, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday.

A recent lawsuit settlement in San Diego, California awarded a man $13.5 million after he claimed he was severely abused by the teacher of a Bible study when he was a youth.

35-year-old Jose Lopez alleged in the lawsuit that Gonzalo Campos, a teacher and leader at Linda Vista Spanish Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and Playa Pacifica Spanish Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, sexually abused him and other children in the 1980's and 1990's.

According to NBC San Diego, most of the money awarded to Lopez through the court ruling comes from the entities that oversee the Jehovah Witness denomination. The judge said in his ruling that these were the responsible parties in Lopez's abuse because of how they failed to handle the incident.

"Damages that reflect the reprehensible conduct of the Watchtower in how they covered this up for years and allowed multiple children to be injured," Lopez's attorney Irwin Zalkin told NBC 7, referencing the umbrella group Watchtower Bible that oversees the Jehovah's Witnesses. "They protected and harbored a criminal."

Another bombshell lawsuit was filed against the Jehovah's Witness in Plano, Texas recently, where lawyers filed a civil lawsuit against Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York Inc. for sexual abuse that occurred in Plano, Greenville and Dallas.

"[WBTS is] the top of the chain of command; they oversee and are involved in the decision-making ... daily function – everything has to be approved," Steven Schulte, a lawyer with the Turley Law Firm in Plano, Texas, said of the lawsuit. "They are intimately involved […] have absolute authority over the congregation and had every reason to know [of the abuse]."

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