Mormon church wants 1984 rape suit against ex-leader tossed - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Mormon church wants 1984 rape suit against ex-leader tossed

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File). FILE - In this April 5, 2018 file photo McKenna Denson speaks with reporters during a news conference in Salt Lake City. The Mormon church has asked a judge to toss out a lawsuit accusing leaders of brushing aside rape alle... (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File). FILE - In this April 5, 2018 file photo McKenna Denson speaks with reporters during a news conference in Salt Lake City. The Mormon church has asked a judge to toss out a lawsuit accusing leaders of brushing aside rape alle...
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File). FILE - In this April 5, 2018 file photo McKenna Denson speaks with reporters during a news conference in Salt Lake City. The Mormon church has asked a judge to toss out a lawsuit accusing leaders of brushing aside rape alle... (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File). FILE - In this April 5, 2018 file photo McKenna Denson speaks with reporters during a news conference in Salt Lake City. The Mormon church has asked a judge to toss out a lawsuit accusing leaders of brushing aside rape alle...
  • NationalMore>>

  • No rain in sight: Fire fears force land closures in Arizona

    No rain in sight: Fire fears force land closures in Arizona

    Saturday, May 26 2018 7:24 PM EDT2018-05-26 23:24:49 GMT
    (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca). In a Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, a sign posted at a trail leading into the national forest in Flagstaff, Ariz., tells the public no one is allowed in. Multiple areas of national forests around Arizona are closed because o...(AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca). In a Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, a sign posted at a trail leading into the national forest in Flagstaff, Ariz., tells the public no one is allowed in. Multiple areas of national forests around Arizona are closed because o...
    Fears of massive wildfires force closures on federal and state land in Arizona.More >>
    Fears of massive wildfires force closures on federal and state land in Arizona.More >>
  • Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Amid anti-immigrant sentiment, some Spanish speakers wary

    Saturday, May 26 2018 7:24 PM EDT2018-05-26 23:24:35 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...(AP Photo/Chris Carlson). Lilly Mucarsel, a native of Ecuador, poses for a picture in her office Friday, May 25, 2018, in Tustin, Calif. Mucarsel, 62, of Southern California finds herself reverting to English when she attends a baseball game or goes to...
    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.More >>
    The Trump administration's harsh rhetoric and tougher policies toward immigrants have made some Spanish speakers self-conscious about speaking other languages in public.More >>
  • Legal hurdles may make Weinstein's prosecution an exception

    Legal hurdles may make Weinstein's prosecution an exception

    Saturday, May 26 2018 7:24 PM EDT2018-05-26 23:24:25 GMT
    (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News via AP, Pool). Harvey Weinstein, right, appears at his arraignment with his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, May 25, 2018 in New York. Weinstein is charged with two counts of rape and...(Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News via AP, Pool). Harvey Weinstein, right, appears at his arraignment with his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, May 25, 2018 in New York. Weinstein is charged with two counts of rape and...
    Harvey Weinstein's arrest in New York Friday is a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, but it remains uncertain whether it will be repeated in other cases involving powerful men accused of sexual misconduct.More >>
    Harvey Weinstein's arrest in New York Friday is a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, but it remains uncertain whether it will be repeated in other cases involving powerful men accused of sexual misconduct.More >>

By LINDSAY WHITEHURST
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Mormon church has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing leaders of brushing aside rape allegations dating to 1984 against the former head of a church training center that prepares young members for religious missions.

Many people who could have testified about what happened in the 1980s have died or have only cloudy memories, leaving the faith unable to fully defend itself, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in court documents filed Tuesday.

McKenna Denson has said she reported several times over the past three decades that Joseph L. Bishop sexually assaulted her and the church failed to take disciplinary action.

Bishop has denied raping her but acknowledged to police that he asked her to expose herself when he was president of the faith's Missionary Training Center in Provo, according to police documents. The role he held from 1983 to 1986 gave him authority over hundreds of young Mormons preparing to go on church missions.

Bishop, now 85, is also named in the lawsuit. His attorneys argue the lawsuit should be dismissed because the claims are too old.

Her lawyers said Wednesday they disagree with the church's position. There are exceptions to time limits on lawsuits, and her case is one of them, attorney Craig Vernon said in an email. He also questioned the faith's decision to contest the lawsuit.

Denson, 55, has said her experience illustrates systemic problems in the church and she sued because she wants the faith to change the way it handles sexual abuse reports. She said Bishop singled her out, groomed her and sexually assaulted her. He told her no one would believe her if she came forward, she said.

The church has said no discipline was taken against Bishop because he denied the allegations and church members could not verify them.

The Associated Press does not usually name alleged victims of sexual assault, but Denson decided to go public with her story, saying the #MeToo movement gave her the courage to think she might be believed.

The case emerged with the release of a conversation Denson secretly recorded with Bishop in December. In it, Bishop is heard apologizing to Denson after she confronts him about the incident, but he does not specify what happened.

In the same conversation, Bishop acknowledged molesting an unidentified second woman and described it as back rub that he says got "too frisky."

The Mormon church has said it is investigating both incidents and has vowed to "bring accountability." Guidelines for how local leaders should deal with sexual abuse claims also were updated.

The case exposed how the church handles sexual abuse allegations, and was followed by news that a church member supervising missionaries in Puerto Rico was kicked out in 2014, after female missionaries reported "immoral and sinful" behavior.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly