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Anna Crenshaw Says Settlement With Hillsong Has Fallen Through Because Church Tried ‘To Intimidate and Silence Me’

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Screenshots from @The Chronicle

Legal negotiations between former Hillsong College student Anna Crenshaw and Hillsong Church fell through this week, despite the parties reaching an “in principle” settlement Monday, April 29. Crenshaw, who sued the church over its handling of her 2018 report of sexual assault by a former church staff member, said Thursday that the megachurch wanted her to sign an NDA and agree to a timeline of events different from her account.

“We were unable to come to a settlement today because Hillsong changed their plan in a ploy, I would say, to intimidate and silence me, and I will not give up my voice,” said Crenshaw, speaking to reporters outside the New South Wales Supreme Court in Sydney. “This has never been about money for me but about justice and accountability, which we’ve not received this week.”

RELATED: Hillsong Church Settles Assault Case Involving Former Staff Member Jason Mays

Anna Crenshaw: Hillsong Has ‘Delayed the Pain’

Anna Crenshaw was 18 and a student at Hillsong College when she was assaulted in 2016 at a social gathering by Jason Mays, a former staff member of Hillsong Church. Crenshaw reported the incident to the church in 2018. 

Mays initially denied the allegation but in 2020 pleaded guilty to indecent assault. Hillsong implemented a one-year ban on Mays, who also received two years of probation without the incident going on his criminal record. He was later reinstated at the church.

Crenshaw went public with her story in 2021 and later filed a lawsuit against Hillsong, alleging the church was negligent in its response when she revealed that Mays had assaulted her and that Hillsong breached its duty of care. She is claiming damages, aggravated damages and exemplary damages.

Mays is also a defendant in the suit and denies some of the specific allegations Crenshaw has made about where he groped her. 

Crenshaw traveled from the U.S. to Sydney prepared to participate in a trial Monday, but instead, she and Hillsong reached an “in principle” settlement. It fell through, in part, said Crenshaw, because the church wanted her to sign an NDA. 

According to NCA NewsWire, one condition of the failed settlement was that Crenshaw would release a joint statement with Hillsong saying that the church had reported the assault immediately. She has said it took the church five months to report the incident to police. 

Hillsong has denied culpability and stated that when the assault occurred, Mays was not “acting in any capacity relating to his paid employment or volunteer duties with Hillsong.”