McKenna Denson, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints agree to dismiss sexual assault lawsuit

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FILE – In this April 5, 2018, file photo, McKenna Denson speaks with reporters during a news conference in Salt Lake City. A lawsuit by Denson who accused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of covering for a former missionary leader who she says raped her in the 1980s is on hold as she tries to find a new attorney. Denson said Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, during a telephonic hearing that she’s been unable to find a law firm to take her case since her previous attorney, Craig Vernon, withdrew in May. Denson says some firms are “intimated” by the religion. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – McKenna Denson and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints agreed Friday to drop a lawsuit involving alleged sexual misconduct that has spanned roughly two years.

According to court documents, the two parties agreed to dismiss the action with prejudice, meaning Denson may not appeal the case.

Sam Penrod, Media Relations Manager for the Church, acknowledged that the lawsuit was dismissed in a phone call with ABC4.

Denson said she was raped by former Missionary Training Center President Joseph Bishop while she was serving a mission for the church in 1984. Denson said the alleged rape occurred in a secluded room in the MTC in Provo. She also had claimed to have reported the assault to Church leaders about 10 times between 1987 and 2017. 

In March 2018, the website MormonLeaks published audio of the former MTC president admitting to inappropriate interactions with women in a conversation in which Denson confronted him about the abuse.

In May 2019, Denson’s lawyer withdrew from the case.

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