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

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

McKenna Denson — the woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by her Provo Missionary Training Center president, Joseph L. Bishop, more than 36 years ago — had the last two issues in a case against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dismissed Thursday.

The last two remaining items of her case were referred to a settlement conference as long ago as January.

The civil case was terminated with prejudice, indicating she cannot sue the church on the same issue anytime in the future.

“The parties shall bear their own fees and costs associated with this action,” the documents said. “The parties have not entered into a settlement and, aside from the agreement to bear their own fees and costs, there are no further agreements between them.”

The case was terminated in the court of Judge Dustin B. Pead.

Denson’s case has been a nearly three-year back and forth between her, the defendants and even Denson’s attorneys, with most items being dismissed and the attorneys leaving the case.

Denson’s original case included accusations of being raped by her LDS mission president, when she was in the Missionary Training Center in Provo.

Denson told authorities that Bishop reportedly tried to kiss her in a room at the MTC before forcibly undressing and raping her.

In March of 2018, a secret recording was released of Denson speaking to Bishop about the incident. Bishop was heard apologizing to Denson though he didn’t specify what happened.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints then released a statement to clarify the path the allegation had taken over the decades, and the controversial audio Denson had made during the interview with Bishop. She had portrayed herself to him as being a reporter.

All but two cases of fraud against the church had been dismissed nearly two years ago.

On June 3, 2019, Denson’s former attorneys, Craig K. Vernon and Jeffrey R. Oritt, were granted a withdrawal from her case by Pead. The attorneys did not give a reason for dropping from the case.

Since that time Denson had been seeking representation and asked for a number of deadline extensions. She said she was hoping to find a stronger, larger law firm to represent her. That never happened.

While Vernon and Oritt did not say why they left, the case documents filed May 31, 2019, 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.

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

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