Hillsong also said it was “baffled” by what Anna’s father Ed told 60 Minutes, saying his comments didn’t “align with the truth.” The church said in an email that “Pastor Crenshaw outlined that he was surprised that the matter was reportable to police. He also said, ‘Thank you for your ongoing care for Anna. It’s good that she’s not alone and can have a sense that her church is for her.’”
Hillsong addressed Catherine’s story, saying, “it has been difficult to verify the allegations she has made due to her lack of cooperation with us and the police.”
Read the full statement Hillsong Church sent 60 Minutes below:
Hillsong Church takes any allegation of sexual assault extremely seriously and our policy is to report the allegation to police. We have a Safe Church and a legal department that handle allegations in accordance with all legal requirements and best practice, and are vigilant in their operations. Any insinuation to the contrary is false and defamatory.
In relation to Ms Anna Crenshaw, when she brought the initial allegation to our attention, we immediately began an investigation. Care was extended to Ms. Crenshaw throughout the process. At no time was she discouraged from filing a formal complaint or participating in legal proceedings, and it was Hillsong that reported the matter to police.
There are several reasons why Jason Mays was given another opportunity to remain on staff including the comments of the magistrate who chose not to record a conviction, asserted the “low level objective seriousness of the offence” and acknowledged that it occurred in the presence of several other people who did not fully corroborate her version of the events. Jason was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond for ‘assault with act of indecency’ (not sexual assault), including stringent requirements that he has followed diligently. Additionally, the Magistrate spoke to the significant punishment already received through his employer (Hillsong) with suspension relating to paid work and volunteering activities. Jason works in an administrative role and is not, and never has been, in a leadership position. One of the cornerstones of our biblical beliefs as Christians is forgiveness and redemption. It is important Jason is allowed this as well.
Regarding the October 2018 matter in Melbourne, we were not made aware of any allegation of rape until April of this year when we followed up a social media post from this person. We immediately reached out to her and asked for a meeting. During the meeting the person concerned was not forthcoming with all of the information. She made several allegations but refused to provide details of a date or name of the alleged perpetrator. She advised she had reported the matter to police, however Hillsong also made a report to police as per our procedures. She made it very clear that for personal reasons she was not willing to take the matter further with police. We have made every effort to assist this individual and we continue to stand ready to assist. However, we cannot force someone to cooperate with us or police.
The above are the facts, not speculation or allegations. These are the facts 60 Minutes clearly is not interested in. This is gutter journalism at its finest. Let us reiterate – Hillsong Church takes any claim of assault extremely seriously and we allocate significant resources so that all can attend our services and events in a safe environment.