Nashville, Tenn. -- An appeals court has dismissed the claims of a Middle Tennessee couple who accused the Jehovah's Witnesses of improperly ousting them from their congregation.
Barbara and Joseph Anderson of Tullahoma claimed they were removed after the wife told (N-B-C's) "Dateline" the denomination covers up child sexual abuse.
The Andersons sought 20 (M) million dollars, claiming defamation, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled today that their ouster involved internal church matters.
The case did not directly address the issue of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses.
According to the suit, Barbara Anderson was working as a volunteer researcher at the international headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses in the early 1990s when a church official asked her to look into the handling of sexual abuse cases. She said she found hundreds of allegations that had been kept secret, and when she made those findings public, she was ousted from the church.