SALT LAKE CITY – A former Mormon missionary and leader of an investigation by the church officials about sexual abuse allegations recognized to ask the alleged victim to expose herself to him in 1984 during a meeting, a police report released Wednesday reveals.
It is the first publication of Joseph L. Bishop, 85, the recognition of certain violations. She is at odds with his son on the account that the woman exposed her breasts without being asked during the meeting.
Bishop has repeatedly denied raping the woman, but is heard apologizing to her during a December conversation she secretly recorded him. The recording was this week by the website MormonLeaks, a church watchdog.
The Brigham Young University police report provides a short summary of the Dec. 5 interview with Bishop about the incident that took place more than three decades ago while he was in a position of authority over the woman.
She was a young woman in her early 20 preparing to go on a conversion of the mission, while he held the top leadership post at the missionary training center, a mini-campus in Provo, utah, where young Mormon men and women went for dozens of years to learn the foreign language, get ready for the multi-year missions that rites of passages in the Utah-based faith.
“Joseph told us that he did to this little MTC kitchen in the canteen area with (the woman),” it says. “Then during the conversation with her, he asked her to show him her breasts what she did.”
When the police asked him to explain why his account of the rape was other than the alleged victim, the Bishop said: “he can’t remember or that (the woman) was exaggerating her account.”
BYU police noted in a report sent to the prosecutors that his “account was fairly similar to (hers), except for the rape.” The Utah county Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute because the statute of limitations has expired.
“I have no reason to doubt the victim’s disclosure, and would probably have continued the Lord Bishop, but before the expiry of the limitation period,” deputy county attorney David Sturgill said in the BYU police report.
BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who said Tuesday in a statement the investigation into the allegations made in the calls “very troubling.” Church officials did not immediately respond Thursday for the note about the police report.
The now 55-year-old woman, whose name is being withheld because she is an alleged victim of sexual abuse, filed the complaint to the BYU police in November. She claims that the Bishop raped her in an office in Provo, utah, in 1984 when she was a missionary.
He was president from 1983-1986 in the missionary training center in Provo
The woman told the BYU police in the Dec. 4 interview that Joseph her out of class for one-on-one interviews, which were of a sexual nature. She said the alleged rape happened on a day, when he asked her if she wanted to see in a room that had a small bed, TELEVISION, videotapes, and a chair. Eventually pushed him off and left the room, ” she said.
The woman said that she avoided Joseph and the rest of her time in the missionary training center. Years later, in 1998, she said, and she began the reporting of the abuse to the church officials, she told the BYU police.
The church says that it first became aware of the allegations against the Bishop in 2010, and gave the information to the police in Pleasant Grove, where the woman lived. The church said it never heard from the police, and chose against the disciplining of Bishop because he denied it and they were not able to verify the allegations.
The police department is not investigating the alleged sexual assault, but it looked to be a threat the woman made against the Bishop, Lt. Britt Smith said. No arrests have been made.
The allegations resurfaced in 2016, when the woman told a regional Mormon leader in Pueblo, Colorado, the church said. Mormon officials reopened the investigation in January, when the woman’s lawyer sent them the tape of conversations from a month earlier. The church statement said that the officials had outside lawyers to interview Bishop and the woman.
“Not surprisingly, the stories, the timelines, and the memories of those involved are dramatically different,” the church said.
The son of the bishop, Greg Bishop, a lawyer in Park City, said Thursday that he had no comment on the report until he has a recording of the entire interview police did with his father.
He said Wednesday that there was no sexual abuse and that the woman behaved to his father, unasked, during the meeting. He said that his father was apologizing in the recorded conversation for all what he did to her the feeling that she can do that.
“It’s always worried him that a woman would feel that it would be appropriate or well received and acceptable for her to wear, her breasts to him,” Greg Bishop said Wednesday. “So, he wore a number of guilt about that, because he did not think it was necessary.”
He was also chairman of the Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, from 1972-1978. There is no information about the allegations of sexual misconduct, said spokeswoman Allison Barlow Hess.