Woman breaks her silence 30 years after she says she was raped in secret room by Mormon Church officials

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY) — For more than 30 years, McKenna Denson says she’s tried to get the Mormon Church to punish one of its top leaders for allegedly raping her in a secret room when she was a teenager training to be a missionary.But she says her decades-long attempt to get justice only led to her being blamed and shamed by officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and that the words of her attacker have continued to haunt her: “‘No one will believe you.’” A day after filing a federal lawsuit in Utah against the Mormon Church, Denson, 55, spoke publicly for the first time of her ordeal in 1984, when she says Joseph Bishop, a high-ranking official of the religious organization and the former president of Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, took her into a secret room and raped her.“The movement to protect our children is absolutely vital in this case because if I had been taught early on it is not OK to be alone, one on one, with a priesthood leader, no matter how high up he is, I honestly believe this would not have happened,” Denson said during a news conference Thursday in Utah.Her attorney, Craig Vernon, said that while the statute of limitations has long expired to criminally prosecute Bishop, now 85, Denson hopes to hold him accountable by filing the civil suit against him and the Mormon Church, which allegedly covered up numerous sexual assaults by Bishop. “The reason McKenna filed this lawsuit is twofold: First she wants justice and second she wants policy change. Part of justice is having the sexual predator who raped her bear some accountability and responsibility for what has happened,” Vernon said.  The lawsuit asks the federal court to compel the Mormon Church to change its policy and require officials of the church to go to the police when members complain of being victims of crimes perpetrated by Church leaders.Denson is the second woman to accuse Bishop of sexual assault. Last month, the Mormon Church said it was investigating both complaints and vowed to “bring accountability” for what occurred.“Our hearts ache for all survivors of abuse, and the Church is committed to addressing incidents of abuse wherever they are found,” a spokesman for the Mormon Church said in a statement to ABC News today. “As this is now an active legal matter, we are unable to make further comment at this time. We are confident that the legal system will ensure a just result in this case.”Denson said she joined the Mormon Church as a teenager, after meeting a group of young members who inspired her.“It changed my life,” she said, adding that she was raised by an abusive stepfather. “I started taking the missionary lessons, and I loved the Gospel. I felt joy, I felt peace, I felt safe for the first time in my life.”At the age of 15, she enrolled in the Mormon Church’s Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Bishop was the president of the training center and Denson said he immediately singled her out for attention, asking her to give her testimony to the other missionary trainees and to lead prayers.“You have to understand that President Bishop made me feel special,” Denson said. “He told me I was special. He told me I was going to be amazing. I had never had anyone in the church that was so high-ranking ever pay attention to me. I loved it, I needed it, I was desperate for it.”She said he began calling her out of classes to come to his office and initially other female missionary students were also present as Bishop counseled them.“And then it became one on one,” she said. “So I was called out of class to visit with the MTC president in his office one on one. Those conversations were inappropriate and sexual in nature.”She said one day, Bishop invited her to go into his secret basement room at the Provo facility, a space he allegedly told her was where he went for prayer and “spiritual contemplation.”“So we went down the dark tunnel … where he unlocked the room, where he had a bed, a TV, a VCR and unlabeled VHS tapes,” she said, pausing to collect her emotions. “Joseph Bishop tore my blouse open, pulled my garments and pantyhose down” and allegedly raped her.She said she was eventually able to kick and fend him off.“When I was pulling up my pantyhose or trying to button up my blouse, or put myself together, he said to me, ‘No one will believe you. Look at you. Look at me,’” she said. “So when I left his secret room in the basement I went to my dorm and I laid down and I pretended I was sick.”She said she never told anyone about the attack until 1987 when she went to a bishop at the Mormon Church and he promised her he would investigate her complaint. But nothing ever happened, she said.“We’re taught in the Church, we don’t go to the police, we go to the bishop, we go to the state president,” Denson said. “Trusting that, and obeying that and believing that, that’s the reason why I didn’t go to the police all those years ago. It was never suggested to me that that would be appropriate. So I went through the church for three decades.”  She said that with the encouragement from friends, family and the #MeToo movement in which women began to speak up about being victims of sexual assault and harassment by powerful men, she decided to finally go to the police.In November 2017, she reported Bishop’s attack to the Brigham Young University Police Department. She also tracked down Bishop in Arizona, where she confronted him about the attack.In the conversation Denson recorded, Bishop said he couldn’t recall the assault, but confessed to other sexual attacks, Denson said. The recording was posted in December on the website MormonLeaks, a Church watchdog group.“The Church has great faith in the judicial system to determine the truth of these claims,” the Mormon Church said in a statement last month. “Nevertheless, the Church takes seriously its responsibility to hold its members accountable for their conduct with respect of the laws of God and man.”An attorney for Bishop did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Redbirds Bash Bees

first_imgJune 13, 2019 /Sports News – Local Redbirds Bash Bees Tags: Memphis Redbirds/PCL/Salt Lake Bees FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmail(Memphis, TN)  —  The Bees scored three runs in the first inning, but couldn’t hold on in an 11-5 loss to the Redbirds in Memphis.Kaleb Cowart clubbed a three-run double for Salt Lake in the first, and Matt Thaiss added a solo homer in the second.  The Bees gave up five runs in the seventh inning.The series continues in Memphis tonight. Written by Robert Lovelllast_img read more

Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins could determine outcome of NBA Finals — for better or worse

first_imgMORE: Warriors players call out Raptors fans for “bulls—” behaviorCousins quickly made headlines after Golden State’s Game 5 victory for his comments about the smattering of fans who cheered when Durant went down with an Achilles injury. Cousins had a pointed response.”F— them.”Cousins doubled down and labeled the fans “trash.””We’re only idolized as superstar athletes, not human beings,” he said. “It’s always about what we can do between those lines.””Trash. So trash. Like I said, we’re only idolized as superstar athletes. Not human beings.”– DeMarcus Cousins on Raptors fans cheering after KD’s injury pic.twitter.com/hV3blpMbof— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 11, 2019Most people stop reading after the F-bomb, but the back half of Cousins’ comments have more value. His attitude has been dissected throughout his career. If anybody could come close to the criticism Durant faces — and it’s still not close — then that player would be Cousins.Maybe that’s why Cousins responded the way he did between the lines in the aftermath of Durant’s injury. Cousins checked in with just under 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter after Durant was helped off the floor. He scored seven straight points with a pair of layups and a 3-pointer and grabbed two rebounds. That burst allowed Golden State to build a 46-35 lead it held until the 5:13 mark of the fourth quarter.Cousins’ contribution to the game was crucial considering he’s missed most of the playoffs with a quad injury. He played for nearly 20 minutes and finished with 14 points (6-of-8 shooting) and six rebounds. In Golden State’s two wins, he has averaged 12.5 points and 8.0 rebounds. In the three losses, he is down at 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.Cousins is a 20-10 player for his career, but it’s unrealistic to expect that kind of production now. If he can be close to a double-double guy and play a little more than 20 minutes per game, then the Warriors will have a chance to be the second team to come back from a 3-1 deficit.With Cousins, you never know. He was involved in three key plays in the final two minutes. Cousins was called for offensive goaltending on a Stephen Curry miss with 1:59 that could have gone either way. He also triggered a defensive goaltending call on Kyle Lowry (it was) and got caught on an illegal screen (it was) that set up Toronto for a potential game-winning shot.Chances are Golden State will need Cousins on the floor in these same critical situations in Game 6.Replay Review (Foster): whether call of offensive basket interference was correct in Q4 of #GSWatTOR. Ruling: Confirmed, offensive basket interference (ball was partially inside the cylinder). pic.twitter.com/ub1CNEwa9a— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) June 11, 2019That’s the chance they will have to take, and it circles back to those comments.”F— them.”Cousins is talking about Toronto fans, but it might as well be everybody who wants the Warriors’ reign at the top of the NBA to end. For those who thought this series was over when Durant went down, Golden State had something to say about that. Cousins had even more to say afterward.This is exactly the kind of against-the-world attitude Golden State needs to have for the rest of the series without Durant and perhaps Kevon Looney, who exited Game 5 with a chest injury. Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are not used to trailing in a series, but they typically respond well when facing playoff deficits.The “Splash Brothers” will splash, and Green and Iggy know their roles on both sides of the ball. They need Cousins to be the X-factor in Game 6 on Thursday. The Warriors need everything DeMarcus Cousins brings for the rest of the 2019 NBA Finals.Even if it’s a volatile mix of attitude, minutes, buckets, rebounds, fouls and controversial plays, the Warriors will take what they can get here. With Kevin Durant out, Golden State needs Cousins to be the complementary piece to a core that has delivered three NBA championships in the last four seasons. With one more victory, Golden State could put the pressure back on a Toronto franchise that missed the first of three chances to close the door.Who would you take in a Game 7? The home team or the defending champions?If Cousins is that missing piece in Game 6, then we already know our answer.last_img read more