Montana Court Reverses $35 Million Child Abuse Verdict Against Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Montana Supreme Court has reversed a $35 million judgment against Jehovah’s Witnesses for failing to report child sexual abuse.

A lower court had found that the church illegally failed to report a child sexual abuser to authorities, which allowed him to continue sexually abusing another child.

The unanimous decision from seven state Supreme Court justices found that religious authorities are not always obligated to report child sexual abuse to authorities due to an exemption in Montana state law.

“This is a very disappointing decision, particularly at this time in our society when religious and other institutions are covering up the sexual abuse of child victims,” Neil Smith, a lawyer for the women who were abused as children, said in a statement.