Woman who says she was abused by MTC president steps forward 09

McKenna Denson speaks during the press conference at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center on Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Salt Lake City.

McKenna Denson, the woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by her Missionary Training Center president, Joseph Bishop, has had the last two items of her case referred to a settlement conference, and a jury trial has been vacated, according to court documents filed Friday in the United States District Court of Utah.

Denson’s case against Bishop and some issues against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were dismissed more than a year ago. Only two counts of fraud against the church remained.

On Friday, the matter was referred to magistrate Judge Cecilia M. Romero for settlement. Romero is to conduct a settlement conference within the next two to three months.

“The parties shall within the next 14 days, jointly contact the magistrate to schedule the conference,” court documents said.

The case is stayed for 90 days to allow the parties to focus on the mediation, the court documents state. Denson represented to the court that certain items have gone missing, including the recording sought by the defendant in a motion to compel.

The court has ordered Denson to file a sworn affidavit regarding the missing items within 30 days. The court will issue a written order.

On June 3, Denson’s former attorneys Craig K. Vernon and Jeffrey R. Oritt were granted a withdrawal from Denson’s case by Judge Dustin B. Pead. The attorneys did not give a reason for dropping from the case.

Since that time Denson has been seeking representation and has asked for a number of deadline extensions. She was hoping to find a stronger, larger law firm to represent her.

While Vernon and Oritt did not say why they left, the case documents filed May 31 state that Denson had not responded to outstanding discovery requests by the LDS Church.

Her attorneys seemingly appeared to drop Denson for a number of reasons, including reportedly provided conflicting information on issues, which includes an alleged forthcoming book.

A number of documents regarding the withdrawal of Vernon and Oritt have been redacted and sealed by the court.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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