Hillsong Church Settles Lawsuit with Female Parishioner Over Sexual Assault

Hillsong Church

Anna Crenshaw has sued Hillsong Church claiming that the megachurch, which is based in Australia, has breached its duty of care after she was indecently assaulted by a church staffer, Jason Mays, when she was 18-years-old. She claims that she is on the verge of settling a lawsuit for ongoing psychiatric distress. 

The five-day trial was set to get underway in the NSW Supreme Court on Monday. Hillsong, in its defence filed with the court, had denied that it acted negligently towards Ms Crenshaw and was set to defend the case. Crenshaw sued claiming damages, aggravated damages and exemplary damages.

The court heard on Monday afternoon that the two parties had settled. The terms of the settlement was not disclosed to the court.

"The claim against the church relates to how it responded to the report, including managing the plaintiff's welfare," Hillsong lawyer Gillian Mahoney told the court as the hearing began today.

Mays' lawyer Angus Macinnis said there was some dispute over the exact nature of what occurred and the extent of the impact on Crenshaw. Macinnis argued the assault offence Mays pleaded guilty to is separate from sexual assault. 

Crenshaw came to Australia to study a Bachelor of Theology at Hillsong College and began attending Hillsong Church services. According to court documents, the indecent assault occurred in April or May, 2016, at the house of another Hillsong member, where she was present with Mays and other students.

In her statement of claim, Ms Crenshaw said Mays "put his right hand on the inside" of her left thigh.

And when she stood to leave, she said that he wrapped his arms around her upper leg and began kissing her exposed stomach.

In the court documents she said Mays left "his hand between her inner thigh and fondling her bottom and vagina." She said he repeatedly said "no, don't go".

Mays, in his defence, denied "the allegation that he fondled (Ms Crenshaw's) bottom and vagina".

Hillsong, in its defence, denied Mays "was acting in any capacity relating to his paid employment or volunteer duties with Hillsong" at the house.





Tags : Hillsong Jason Mays sexual assault hillsong church Anna Crenshaw

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