Woman accusing former Mormon Missionary Training Center leader of sexual abuse says she may sue the LDS Church
(Tribune file photo) Joseph L. Bishop, in 1972, about a decade before he became Missionary Training Center president.
Days after MormonLeaks published an audio recording and transcript of a nearly three-hour conversation between a former Mormon Missionary Training Center (MTC) president and a Colorado woman who has accused him of attempted rape
, settlement talks between the woman and the LDS Church have stalled.
In the explosive recording, the woman details how Joseph L. Bishop allegedly ripped her clothes and tried to rape her. She also presses him to confess to other misconduct.
“Since the leak, there have been no further settlement discussions” with the LDS Church, the woman’s attorney, Craig Vernon, confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday. “My client deserves justice.”
If the Utah-based faith does not continue those negotiations, Vernon said, “a lawsuit against the church and Mr. Bishop is our remaining option.”
LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins said the church had “no immediate comment” on the discussions.
In an interview earlier this week, she told The Tribune that she did not release to MormonLeaks a copy of her recorded conversation. She had shared the recording with several people, she said, and someone gave it to MormonLeaks without her consent.
She said the release may have undermined the settlement negotiations. She asked not to be named, and The Tribune generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
In the recording, Bishop says he doesn’t remember assaulting her, but in a December interview with Brigham Young University police, he said he and the woman were alone in a small room he had at the MTC in 1984. He said that he asked to see her breasts and that she complied.
His son Greg Bishop says his father’s comments on the recording are being misconstrued. The elder Bishop, now 85, calls himself a “predator” in the recording, but his son points out that he describes a single instance of improper touching, when he admits that he gave a female missionary a back rub that turned “frisky.” His father labeled himself for conduct that others would not consider predatory, such as impure thoughts, Greg Bishop said.
Joseph Bishop was the president of Weber State College (now University) in the 1970s. He led the LDS missionary compound from 1983 to 1986, supervising thousands of young male and female missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.