Minn. archdiocese suggests dispute with sex abuse affidavit
Catholic News Agency July 17, 2014
An auxiliary bishop of the Saint Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese says the affidavit of a former chancellor on the handling of sex abuse allegations is not necessarily consistent with the view of others involved. “Her recollections are not always shared by others within the archdiocese,” Bishop Andrew Cozzens said July 15 of the affidavit filed by Jennifer Haselberger – who was chancellor of the archdiocese from 2008-2013. Her sworn statement in a lawsuit concerning sexual abuse by a former priest was filed July 7, and charged that while she was employed there, the Saint Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese had a pattern of failing to deal appropriately with allegations made against clergy of sex abuse. The lawsuit is filed by a man, known as Doe 1, who claims to have been abused as a minor by Thomas Adamson, then a priest, in 1976 and 1977. The suit had been filed against Adamson, as well as the Saint Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona. Bishop Cozzens statement noted that the alleged abuse would have occurred “decades before Ms. Haselberger’s service to the archdiocese.” Haselberger also served the archdiocese from 2004-2006 as a part of its tribunal. Her testimony states that when she raised concerns over sexual abuse allegations, she was dismissed and her suggestions ignored; she wrote, “my concerns were ignored, dismissed, or the emphasis was shifted to what was best for the priest involved.” The bishop stated that her experience “highlights the importance of ongoing constructive dialogue and reform aimed at insuring the safety of children.” “Since Ms. Haselberger’s departure, we have begun the implementation of the Safe Environment and Ministerial Standards Task Force Recommendations which address some of the concerns she has raised,” he added. “We continue to take concrete steps toward greater transparency and accountability in protecting children while offering hope and healing to victims.” Haselberger had quit her role in the tribunal over concerns regarding the handling of sex abuse, returning after Archbishop John Nienstedt succeeded as the archdiocese's new head. She again left the chancery last spring, over the same issue. A hearing in the lawsuit will be held Monday. The court has already received depositions from Archbishop Nienstedt; Archbishop Emeritus Harry Flynn; and Archbishop Robert Carlson of Saint Louis, who was a priest of the Saint Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese from 1970 to 1983, and an auxiliary bishop there from 1983 until 1994. In December, the judge in the case, John Van de North, ordered the archdiocese to submit a list of all priests accused of abusing minors since 2004, regardless of whether or not the accusations had been deemed credible.