Jehovah's Witness suit

Chicago Sun Times/February 8, 2002

A woman who said her family was shunned after reporting sexual abuse by a Jehovah's Witness leader claimed in a federal lawsuit this week that the denomination protects pedophiles.

The suit by Erica Rodriguez, 23, now of Sacramento, Calif., contends the religion's policy has given pedophiles ''sanctuary, protection, sympathy and support'' while blaming and shaming victims.

Rodriguez seeks undisclosed damages from the international Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Manuel Beliz, a former Jehovah's Witnesses leader in Othello, Wash., who was sentenced to 11 years in prison last year for molesting Rodriguez.

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