LDS Church responds to allegations of sexual abuse by former MTC president

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Dani Jardine
Flags from various countries where missionaries will be sent upon completing training circle the outside of the new MTC buildings. A former missionary is accusing the former Provo MTC president of sexual assault, according to a statement from the LDS Church. (Dani Jardine)

The LDS Church is responding to sexual assault allegations against a former president of its Missionary Training Center in Provo.

The accusations come from a former church member who served as a missionary in 1984, according to a statement released Tuesday, March 20. She reported to the leaders of the Pleasant Grove West Stake in 2010 that Joseph Bishop had sexually assaulted her when she was at the MTC.

The woman accusing Bishop reported the alleged sexual assault to the BYU Police Department on Nov. 28, 2017, according to a report obtained from the department.

The case was closed on Dec. 23, 2017 because of the statute of limitations, which was four years at the time of the alleged assault.

According to the church statement, the stake leaders reported the claims to the Pleasant Grove Police Department. “The church does not know what she said in that interview, but the church received no further communication from the police concerning the matter,” according to the statement.

The statement also says Bishop denied the allegations, both in 2010 and after the recording of Bishop and the accuser’s conversation was provided to the church in January 2018.

The report from the BYU Police Department said officers met with Bishop at his home on Dec. 5, 2017 and that Bishop said he asked the woman to show him her breasts and she did.

“The church, as a religious organization, does not have the investigative tools available to law enforcement agencies. Nor can the church substitute for the courts in adjudicating legal claims. The church has great faith in the judicial system to determine the truth of these claims,” the statement reads. “Nevertheless, the church takes seriously its responsibility to hold its members accountable for their conduct with respect of the laws of God and man. To that end, the church is continuing its investigation of this individual’s claims and will act consistent with its long-standing policy of no tolerance for abuse.”

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