Hillsong Abuse Settlement Rejected Over NDA

Victim says she wants accountability more than money.

Hillsong Church Australia’s legal settlement with a former student who was groped by a worship leader fell apart on Thursday when the survivor refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

“I will not give up my voice,” Anna Crenshaw, daughter of Pennsylvania megachurch pastor Ed Crenshaw, told Australian reporters. “This has never been about money for me but about justice and accountability.”

According to lawyers, one condition of the agreement was a joint statement saying the church reported the assault immediately. Crenshaw claims the global megachurch—embroiled at the time in a scandal over founder Brian Houston’s failure to report his father Frank’s sexual abuse of a young boy—actually waited four or five months to contact police.

Crenshaw was studying at Hillsong College in 2016 when Jason Mays, an administrative staff member and volunteer worship leader, put his hand on her inner thigh. The young woman—18 at the time—got up to leave, but Mays, 24, grabbed her, wrapped his arms around her waist, and touched her legs, butt, and crotch, according to a statement Crenshaw wrote several years later.

“He lifted up my shirt and was kissing my stomach,” Crenshaw, now 26, said in a TV news interview. “So I’m just, like, stuck there with this guy groping me.”

Crenshaw did not immediately report the incident because, she said, she was ashamed.

She also didn’t believe she could report Mays to human resources, because the department was run by Mays’s father. Two years later, a counselor pushed her to report to someone, and Crenshaw went to the head of pastoral care, who said, “I’m sure he’s really sorry,” …

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