Following Allegation, Watersmeet Priest Removed from Priestly Ministry
Diocese of Marquette
November 7, 2008
Bishop Alexander K. Sample of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette has temporarily removed Father Aloysius J. Hasenberg (pronounced HOSS-ehn-berg), 86, from priestly ministry and his residence at the rectory of Immaculate Conception Parish in Watersmeet.
After a preliminary investigation and consultation with the Diocesan Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop Sample determined that there is sufficient evidence that sexual abuse of a male minor had occurred. The allegation of sexual misconduct against Father Hasenberg dates back a number of years.
The bishop will now send the case to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as required by the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons. The Congregation will then give further direction on how the bishop should proceed.
In accord with the Diocese of Marquette's Policy on Sexual Misconduct in Ministry, the bishop has also referred the matter to the civil authorities.
As soon as the diocese received the allegation in September, the staff immediately began following diocesan policy. Bishop Sample met with the Diocesan Review Board, which consists of one priest and six lay persons, including two social workers and one psychiatrist. The board advised him to open a preliminary investigation of the allegation. Father Hasenberg was informed of the allegation and removed from the parish setting.
Following the preliminary investigation, Bishop Sample again met with the Review Board and together they determined that the allegation had the semblance of truth. However, it should be noted that this is not a final determination of guilt; as in civil law, a priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor is presumed innocent under Church (canon) law until proven otherwise.
Bishop Sample has offered to meet with the person who brought forth the complaint, and the diocese has extended counseling and spiritual outreach to him.
Parishioners of Immaculate Conception Parish in Watersmeet were informed of the allegation of sexual misconduct against Father Hasenberg during weekend Masses on October 25-26. Although Father Hasenberg was officially retired, he has regularly celebrated daily Mass and one Sunday Mass at the parish since 1997.
This situation and others like it are very painful for everyone," Bishop Sample said. "My first concern must always be for the victims/survivors of abuse, and I pledge to do everything in my power to help them on their journey toward healing and peace. At the same time, we must follow the procedures that have been set in place to afford justice to the accused."
The bishop asks the faithful to pray for the person who brought forth the complaint and everyone involved in this situation. He also encourages any victims/survivors of sexual misconduct by a priest, church worker or volunteer to bring their complaint to the diocese so that they can receive outreach and pastoral care leading toward healing. Complaints can be made in the following manner:
Contact the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Rosalyn Groves, by phone: toll free 866-857-6459 (this is a dedicated phone line for this purpose) or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or call the Diocesan Director of Ministry Personnel, Stephen Lynott, at (906) 227-9107 / 800-562-9745, ext. 107. If Mr. Lynott is unavailable, call Bishop Alexander Sample at (906) 227-9115 / 800-562-9745, ext. 115; or write to Stephen Lynott, Director of Ministry Personnel, Diocese of Marquette, P.O. Box 1000, Marquette, MI 49855. Please mark the letter "Personal and Confidential" and indicate the means of response desired (by phone, by letter or in a meeting)
The Diocese of Marquette's Policy on Sexual Misconduct in Ministry can be accessed online at:
Father Hasenberg's biographical information:
1949 Assistant Pastor, St. Ann Parish, Menominee
1952 Assistant Pastor, St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish, Iron Mountain
1952 Temporary Administrator, Precious Blood Parish, Stephenson
1953 Temporary Summer Assistant, St. Paul Parish, Negaunee
1955 Chaplain, St. Francis Hospital, Escanaba
1957 Executive Administrator, Holy Name High School, Escanaba
1957 Temporary Administrator, St. John Parish, Menominee
1958 Administrator, St. Rita Parish, Trenary
1966 Pastor, St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Calumet
1968 Pastor, St. Agnes Parish, Iron River
1978 Administrator, Assumption Parish, Iron River
1983 Administrator, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Stambaugh
1997 Senior Priest Status (retirement)
1997-2008 In residence, Immaculate Conception Parish, Watersmeet
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