Anna Crenshaw rejects Hillsong’s offer after megachurch allegedly asked her to sign NDA, lie

Anna Crenshaw.
Anna Crenshaw. | YouTube/60 Minutes Australia

A legal agreement that was being brokered between Hillsong Church Australia and former member and ex-Hillsong College student Anna Crenshaw to settle a lawsuit over the harm she suffered from being indecently assaulted by a married church administrator in 2016 fell through Thursday. Crenshaw alleges that Hillsong asked her to lie and sign a non-disclosure agreement.

“We were unable to come to a settlement today because Hillsong changed their plan in a ploy to intimidate and silence me. And I will not give up my voice. This has never been about money for me but about justice and accountability, which we’ve not received this week,” Crenshaw told reporters outside an Australian court Thursday.

On Monday, just over three years after she went public about being indecently assaulted by married Hillsong Church administrator Jason Mays, Crenshaw's attorney announced they had reached an undisclosed settlement agreement with the megachurch for the harm she suffered as a result of the assault.

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The settlement was expected to head off a five-day trail which is now back in play. Crenshaw, who is the daughter of Victory Church Senior Pastor Ed Crenshaw in Pennsylvania, said she was disheartened when the church asked her to sign an NDA as part of the settlement and also asked that she release a joint statement saying the church had immediately reported her assault to local police when she came forward, even though it took the church five months.

“There is so much shame that comes with these types of abuses and victims shouldn’t feel shame. I worked so hard in finding my voice in coming forward from my initial report to Hillsong and they have from day one tried to silence me,” Crenshaw said. “That is not what I was seeking in the justice process. It wasn’t to come here, get their money, and walk away without my voice,” Crenshaw said. “It was to get some accountability and a real sense of justice and hope that they would really change in moving forward. I think this is just evidence that despite their new leadership, they have the same tactics.”

Crenshaw was just 18 in 2016 when she says Mays, who was then serving as a Hillsong staff administrator and volunteer singer, sexually assaulted her at a social gathering in Australia. Crenshaw and her father said it took a serious fight from them to hold Mays accountable. He eventually pleaded guilty to indecent assault.

“Jason grabbed me, putting his hand between my legs and his head on my stomach and began kissing my stomach. I felt his arms and hands wrapped around my legs making contact with my inner thigh, butt, and crotch,” she wrote in a 2018 statement reviewed by The Christian Post.

She said she told Margaret Aghajanian, then-head of Hillsong Church's pastoral care oversight, that Mays — the son of John Mays, the church’s then-head of human resources — had assaulted her, but her complaint was minimized.

“I felt like I could not say anything about the Jason incident because his friend had said not to, insisting that he was a good guy, and this was not a normal behavior for him. After the incident until now I feel uncomfortable when I come into the same area as him,” Crenshaw said in her statement to Aghajanian.

If she didn’t have a strong support network, Crenshaw told CP she wouldn't have been able to get Mays to plead guilty to “assault with an act of indecency” in 2019.

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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