Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Joyce McKinney and the Manacled Mormon

The Kidnapping

McKinney, holding a scrawled message against the bars of a police van
McKinney, holding a scrawled
message against the bars of a police van

One Bob Bosler had called the Church of Latter Day Saints in Ewell in early September 1977, announcing that he wanted to convert. 

When he met with Mormon representatives at the tabernacle a few days later, he and Kirk Anderson stepped outside to look at a map. Anderson's roommate and fellow missionary, Kimball Smith, remained inside as Anderson followed Bosler to a beige Ford Cortina. "Bosler" was Keith Joseph May, and he had a gun. A toy gun.

Joyce McKinney was in the passenger seat. She allegedly pointed a fake revolver at Anderson and ordered him into the car where May used chloroform to knock him out. They hid Anderson beneath a blanket so he couldn't be seen as they drove him to the cottage McKinneyhad rented in Dartmoor, Devon, for £50 a week.

Nearly 25 years later, despite the dramatic trial this led to, McKinney still thinks of this as a romantic vacation they took together. To her this was just a way for her and her beloved to have a little time alone together somewhere quiet, where Anderson could relax and be himself again, and clear his head of the terrible things his church — which by then she was describing as a cult — and family had been saying about her.

She'd brought the comforter from their first night together. She presented him with a £1000 ring. She'd made all of his favorite foods, fried chicken and mashed potatoes and chocolate cake. She had some cinnamon massage oil ready, and a well-thumbed copy of The Joy of Sex at hand.

Rape or Consent?

Keith Joseph May used a long chain to shackle Kirk Anderson's leg to the bed in the Devonshire cottage, then left the love birds alone. Joyce McKinney then spent two days trying to explain to Anderson why he should marry her and give her children. Finally she slipped into a nightie and put on some romantic music. McKinney says that they danced and that Anderson got an erection, then asked for a backrub. She still gloats that she burned his temple undergarments after "ripping those ugly smelly things off."

In Morris's documentary, McKinney goes back and forth about one thing: She claims that "Mormon brainwashing" made Anderson impotent — but she also insists that his erection proved that nothing they did was against his will.

She was convinced that sex could save Anderson from the alleged brainwashing, and she would later say that she had been willing to give up her virginity in that cottage to save him (obviously, this conflicts with Delano's account of the couple's supposed first night together and McKinney's reported pregnancy). She would tell the court that her extensive reading on human sexuality had taught her that a religious man's guilt around sex could be worked through via bondage.

When Anderson responded to her overtures with panicked praying, McKinney says that she went to get a glass of water--and that he'd ejaculated by the time she was back. In McKinney's version of the story, this led to three straight days of consensual sex, during which she announced, "I guess this means we're married in God's eyes" — to which she says Anderson agreed.

Anderson would later testify, perhaps honestly, perhaps at the urging of Mormon leaders, that he refused to have sex with McKinney after that backrub — and that he was tied down with rope, leather straps, and chains secured by padlock. Spread-eagle, he was helpless, he says, when McKinney attacked him. He would insist that she performed nonconsensual oral sex on him, and forcibly had intercourse with him.

Anderson would report that McKinney had told him he couldn't leave until she was pregnant, and that, when he finally agreed to marry her, she let her guard down and he was able to get away from her.

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