LDS Church seeks dismissal in lawsuit alleging rape at the Missionary Training Center

McKenna Denson speaks to reporters at a news conference alongside her attorney, Craig Vernon, over her lawsuit against the LDS Church. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking a federal judge to once again dismiss a woman’s lawsuit alleging she was raped by the former leader of the Missionary Training Center.

A federal judge previously dismissed all of McKenna Denson’s claims against Joseph Bishop and the LDS Church, except one.

Denson has sued, claiming Bishop sexually assaulted her when she was a young sister missionary in 1984 and he was the president of the MTC. A recording of her confronting Bishop, who is now 85, and him acknowledging some improper behavior, wound up on the MormonLeaks website where it sparked criticism against the LDS Church over how it handles abuse cases.

The judge allowed Denson to proceed with her lawsuit on a fraud claim, alleging the LDS Church had knowledge of Bishop’s problematic past. In a filing in U.S. District Court on Monday, the LDS Church’s attorneys asked for Denson’s remaining claim to be dismissed on the grounds that the statute of limitations has been dismissed, she waited too long to pursue a claim and under the First Amendment.