SALT LAKE CITY – A woman who sued a former Mormon missionary leader who claims that he raped her in the 1980s went to his church in Arizona on Sunday and told his congregation that the leaders of the church are that for a ” sexual predator.”
McKenna Denson was ushered away from the podium at the Mormon church in Chandler, Arizona, shortly after she started talking during a monthly segment in the Mormon services as members of the church are invited to bear their testimonies, shows a video posted online.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints criticism of Denson’s actions, calling it disappointing that someone would interrupt worship for personal gain.
A judge recently dismissed part of Denson’s lawsuit against the church, because the limitation period had expired, but allowed a fraud claim to stand because the alleged cover-up was discovered recently. The claims were dismissed against the Bishop, who has denied assaulting the woman.
Denson, 55, Pueblo, Colorado, introduced himself as a visitor and said that they loved the savior for telling everyone that the now 85-year-old Joseph L. Bishop, “sexual predator” who raped her, and that Mormon leaders are now falling for him.
It is unclear whether the Bishop is in the church.
Bishop has assisted hundreds of young people as president of the missionary training center in Provo, Utah, in the 1980s.
After Denson made it clear why she was there, a man then approached Denson and told her that she had to sit down, offers to talk with her later. She said that she was not ready.
“For the atonement to take place, we have to be accountable for what we do,” said Denson, as the man continued to try to stop her.
If the man then grabbed her by the shoulders, she resisted and told people to call the police, and told him that he was invading her personal space.
“To keep the church safe to have sexual predators responsible, or they are pedophiles, or they are rapists, just as Joseph Bishop,” said Denson.
The man then said, “This is not the place for you to share this, come on,” and Denson left.
The video was posted Monday on YouTube by Mike Norton, who runs the channel with the name “NewNameNoah.” The channel offers videos critical of the Mormon faith.
Denson’s lawyer, Craig Vernon, said that his client will not comment further on the incident.
A statement from the Mormon church spokesman Eric Hawkins told the members that personal grievances should find other ways to communicate without disrupting church services.
“It is disappointing that someone would interrupt such a service to bring the attention of their own personal cause,” the statement said. “The recording and posting of these disruptions on social media to seek public attention and the media attention, unfortunately, shows an unfortunate lack of respect for others.”
The Mormon church has said repeatedly has “no tolerance for abuse.”
Bishop’s lawyer does not immediately return requests for comment.
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Denson has said that she wants her story to be public.
In a secret recording she made during a visit to confront the Bishop in December, the Bishop was heard to apologize to Denson while he doesn’t specify what happened.
Denson says the church failed to take action against Bishop after she reported the attack a few times in the past three decades. The church, said Bishop was not punished because he denied the allegations and the members of the church could not verify.