Spring Grove Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Jehovah’s Witness Church in York County Settles in Sex Abuse Lawsuit
In February 2017, a Lancaster woman reached a settlement agreement in a sexual abuse lawsuit against a Jehovah’s Witness church in Spring Grove, PA. This is just one of many examples of lawsuits recently filed against this organization for allegedly mishandling and failing to report complaints of sexual abuse against church members.
On the fifth day of the civil trial, Stephanie Fessler settled the suit against the Spring Grove church. When she was a teenager and a member of the Jehovah’s Witness church in Spring Grove, she was sexually assaulted repeatedly for a two-year period beginning in 2002 or 2003. The perpetrator was Terry J. Monheim, who was in her late 40s and early 50s while the abuse occurred.
In 2012, Monheim pleaded guilty in York County Court to charges of indecent assault of a person less than 16 and corruption of minors. In May of that year, she was sentenced to 3-23 months in York County Prison, running concurrently with five years of probation.
Fessler’s suit named Monheim, as well as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Spring Grove Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to the lawsuit, Fessler’s family reported her abuse to church elders, but the elders did not notify authorities. The family argued that this resulted in additional sexual abuse by Monheim.