Protect LDS Children Founder: McKenna Denson Was Allegedly Groomed for Assault with Explicit Interview Questions, Mormon Children Still at Risk

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Sexually explicit interview questions from Bishops groom young people to endure abusive behavior from their elders, says Sam Young

"Her coming forward underscores the glaring need for a policy change in the LDS Church banning these types of questions, so no child ever thinks it’s acceptable for an adult to take them behind closed doors and discuss sexual topics."

Today, rape survivor McKenna Denson announced she has filed a lawsuit against the Mormon Church and Joseph L. Bishop, President of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah from 1983-1986. Denson is seeking justice for her alleged sexual assault, as well as the ongoing emotional distress she suffered by repeatedly being ignored, disbelieved, shamed, and blamed by the Church she was working for as a Missionary.

Sam Young, of the ProtectLDSChildren Initiative, says that Mormon youth are groomed from the time they are children to accept sexually explicit questioning from Bishops and church leaders. Young recently led a rally in Salt Lake City that was attended by over 1,000 people to deliver a petition with over 55,000 signatures to the LDS Church Office asking the Church for an official policy change to stop one-on-one sexually explicit interviews with children.

“Sexually explicit questions of LDS youth can condition our young people to accept this as normal, possibly leading to catastrophic events when they get a little older, similar to what happened to McKenna. Her coming forward underscores the glaring need for a policy change in the LDS Church banning these types of questions, so no child ever thinks it’s acceptable for an adult to take them behind closed doors and discuss sexual topics. Children are very trusting, and this type of grooming can be a precursor of abuse.”

“A thousand supporters marched with me in Salt Lake City last week to deliver our petition to the LDS Church asking for them to take steps to protect children so they never have to face these types of probing questions”, Young continued. “The church sent a clerk out to accept the petition, but has yet to respond. It is clear these disturbing situations in which we are putting our children are seriously harming them, and setting an unhealthy precedent.”

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Katy Summerlin
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