Woman who says she was abused by MTC president steps forward 09

In this file photo, McKenna Denson speaks during a press conference at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center on Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Salt Lake City.

McKenna Denson, the woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by her Provo Missionary Training Center president, Joseph Bishop, more than 35 years ago, is being compelled by the court to provide information from her electronic devices.

Denson’s case has been a nearly three-year back and forth between her, the defendants and even Denson’s attorneys, with most items being dismissed and the attorneys leaving the case.

The last two remaining items of her case were referred to a settlement conference in January. Several delays have continued that process.

On Wednesday, the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the defendant in the case, submitted an emergency motion to enforce a court order concerning gleaning information from Denson's electronic devices and social media accounts.

Over several months, Denson has had phone conferences with the court that included her referring to information about recordings and a book transcript she was writing on the case.

A June 29 court order said Denson was to provide Xact Data Discovery with access to her online accounts -- including social media accounts -- and to allow XDD to image her electronic devices.

Court documents indicate that on July 10, Denson told XDD that she lost her cellular phone three weeks previous and that she cannot remember her passwords for her Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Denson’s Facebook page is no longer accessible online. If the account has been deleted and is not promptly restored, the data will be irretrievable, according to court documents.

The office of The First Presidency has requested that Denson be ordered to immediately restore her Facebook accounts and recover her password.

“The lack of access to Ms. Denson’s Facebook account is particularly problematic if the account has been recently deleted,” said court documents. “According to Facebook, deleted accounts can be restored for up to 30 days. After 30 days, [the] account and all [the] information will be permanently deleted.”

The church is also asking that Denson be required to provide a sworn statement detailing the circumstances of her missing cellular phone.

Denson purchased a new phone but did not have the old phone’s information transferred to the new one.

“XDD attempted to work with Ms. Denson to recover passwords for those accounts,” court documents said. “Those attempts were unsuccessful because the accounts were connected to her 'old' phone number. Without access to that phone, her password cannot be recovered.”

The church has asked that the motion be expedited as any delay may result in further lost data.

Interest in the data comes in part from Denson telling the court that some evidence, such as a recording she made of a visit with a Ronald Leavitt, and a draft of a book she was writing about her experiences, have gone missing.

Denson also is to provide the court with details of the circumstances behind the loss of evidence.

On June 3, 2019, Denson’s former attorneys, Craig K. Vernon and Jeffrey R. Oritt, were granted a withdrawal from her case by Judge Dustin B. Pead. The attorneys did not give a reason for dropping from the case.

Since that time Denson has been seeking representation and has asked for a number of deadline extensions. She said she was hoping to find a stronger, larger law firm to represent her.

While Vernon and Oritt did not say why they left, the case documents filed May 31, 2019, state that Denson had not responded to outstanding discovery requests by the LDS Church.

Her attorneys seemingly appeared to drop Denson for a number of reasons, including reportedly provided conflicting information on issues, which includes the alleged forthcoming book.

A number of documents regarding the withdrawal of Vernon and Oritt have been redacted and sealed by the court.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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