LDS Church, former MTC leader file motion to dismiss sexual assault lawsuit

Local News

Attorneys for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against a former Missionary Training Center leader.

McKenna Denson says she was raped by former MTC president Joseph Bishop while serving as a sister missionary in 1984 but his attorneys argue the statute of limitations has already passed. 

A lawsuit filed last month names the Church and Bishop as defendants (Identified as COP in court documents). It alleges there were public complaints, before Bishop served as MTC president and known to Church leaders, of Bishop’s inappropriate behavior toward women.

“All claims asserted by Ms. Denson against [Bishop] are time-barred and should be dismissed. Her claims for assault and emotional distress are subject to a one and four year statute of limitations, respectively,” court papers stated.

Documents state due to the amount of time passed many of the people who knew “what, if anything” she reported have died. “Even individuals who are still alive are unlikely to have reliable memories of events from over three decades ago. That places COP in the unenviable position for defending itself against serious allegations without the benefit of key witnesses or fresh memories,” attorneys stated.

The motion comes as the Utah Supreme Court works to decide whether older sex abuse cases already expired under the old statute of limitations can be revisited under a new law passed a few years ago.

Click here to read the full motion.

If you or someone you know needs help call the toll-free Statewide 24-hour Sexual Violence and Information Hotline at 1-888-421-1100.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.