St. Paul Archdiocese whistleblower releases 107-page affidavit describing abuse "cover-ups"

The whistleblower who disclosed priest sexual abuse cases and their mishandling by the Twin Cities archdiocese has written a scorching 107-page affidavit describing top officials' cover-ups, blaming of victims, willful ignorance, lies and a "cavalier attitude toward the safety of other people's children."

Canon lawyer Jennifer M. Haselberger, who served as chancellor for canonical affairs at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from 2008 to 2013, submitted the document in the civil case of Doe 1. The plaintiff sued the archdiocese, the Diocese of Winona and former priest Thomas Adamson last year, claiming Adamson abused him in the 1970s. Plaintiff's attorney Jeffrey Anderson filed Haselberger's affidavit Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court.

Anderson's experience with church-related sexual abuse cases goes back 30 years, he said, and he found the affidavit to be "the most stinging and broad-ranging indictment I've ever seen of these practices."

Anderson claims in the Doe 1 lawsuit that the archdiocese created a "public nuisance" by moving offending priests among parishes without disclosing allegations against them.

Haselberger explained her motivation for penning the affidavit to the Pioneer Press on Tuesday. "While it is for the court to determine whether the archdiocese has created a public nuisance, I think our community benefits from the knowledge of the archdiocese's practices," she said.

Haselberger detailed the action, or lack of action, of past and present officials in the archdiocese, including former Archbishop Harry Flynn, Archbishop John Nienstedt, Bishop Lee Piche, former Vicar General Kevin McDonough, former Vicar General Peter Laird and former chancellor for civil affairs and archdiocese attorney Andrew Eisenzimmer.
continue at Pioneer Press

Wow, a substantial charge against Church hierarchy backed with alleged evidence, and not a bunch of lunatics making personal accusations against the metropolitan.  Repeatedly making false accusations against Abp. Nienstedt is only going to strengthen the archdiocesan case against any needed reforms.

Maybe I haven't been following that closely, but I'm not sure there's anything new at least in this story?  Culture of clericalism?  Perhaps, but I don't know that "A records management system that had files spread out in different locations" is exactly a blockbuster scandal.  Whatever happened to Haselberger when she worked there got her ticked off, I mean I would be too if Laird decided to walk out of the building and not listen to me.  Teaming up with Jeff Anderson who says it's "the most stinging and broad-ranging indictment I've ever seen of these practice" which is lawyer talk for, "yeah, this is the case I'm working on right now," will hopefully yield a better culture in the chancery.  Unfortunately, lawsuits generally are the only way to motivate the guys up top.

Also STrib: Archdiocese had ‘cavalier attitude’ about clergy abuse cases


  1. I have the sense she is a disgruntled employee who expected to wield a great deal more power than her job description entailed - hence the empty complaint of clericalism. A woman scorned.

  2. I think you guys need to get out more. Those of us in the outside world see this for what it is: a description of a creepy boys club (which happens to be bankrolled by the faithful) that doesn't give a damn about anyone but its club members. It is pretty obvious that the priests expect to be treated differently than anyone else. That's an empty complaint? Tom

    1. What is your answer to the crisis?

    2. 1) Dismissal and perhaps jail for those involved in cover-ups. There is no reason that Nienstedt, Piche, Laird, or McDonough have to continue in positions of power; let them work as parish priests, unless they have broken the law--then let them get jail time. 2) More lay people (preferably with families) in administrative and personnel positions, to serve as a counterweight to the clerical club (as Haselberger attempted to do). Tom

  3. I say abandon the "ontological" argument about ordinations. Grace works on human nature. Human nature is not negated. In the Acts, Peter says he's only a man to someone prostrating before him. Good starting point. Plus, Jesus said to feed his lambs and his sheep. Simple pastoral mandate which we consistently make complicated.


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