Statement of Jennifer Haselberger July 20, 2016
By Jennifer Haselberger
July 20, 2016
[includes Archbishop Hebda's letter to priests]
For Immediate Release
Today’s announcement brings to conclusion a process that I began in June of 2012, shortly after the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis learned of the abuse committed by Curtis Wehmeyer.
While I share the general sense of disappointment that individual criminal charges were not filed, I see the resolution announced today as a positive result. Thanks to the hard work of the local and national media, the Saint Paul Police Department, and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, I believe my objectives in coming forward have been met. My first objective was to ensure that the boys that were harmed by Curtis Wehmeyer understood that they (and all victims of sexual abuse) were not at fault for what occurred, that they had done nothing to deserve their abuse, and to force the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to accept responsibility for having so egregiously failed to protect them. My second objective was to send a warning to all the parents and guardians who entrust their children and other vulnerable individuals to the institutions and programs in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. I wanted them to be aware that the Archdiocese’s promises of having a safe environment, of having removed sexually abusive clergy from ministry, and of having committed itself to the protection of children and the healing of victims cannot be trusted.
Over the past four years, and especially with today’s conclusion of the criminal case, I believe these objectives have been met.
However, we ought not to forget that today’s announcement, and the admission of responsibility, applies only to the victims of Curtis Wehmeyer. It does not address the hurt of the many victims who have never received such acknowledgement, including those who are still waiting to be compensated for the harm that was done to them. Finally, the conclusion of the criminal process does not mean that all is well within the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The failures acknowledged in today’s admission of guilt are systemic, pervasive, and longstanding. It is beyond the power of any civil authority to bring about the changes that are required in order to truly create a safe environment in the Catholic Church. Therefore, we must all continue to be vigilant and to work for justice inside the Church and without.