October 30, 2020
By Jean Hopfensperger
Women describe decades of sexual misconduct by church musician.
Amy Anderson has kept a letter from Catholic composer David Haas for more than 30 years, an apology he sent to her parents after they reported to the St. Paul Seminary that Haas had sexually abused their then 18-year-old daughter.
“I know that you have had several conversations with Fr. [Charles] Froehle, here at the seminary,” Haas wrote on his letterhead stationary on Jan. 22, 1988. “I had no idea that I was making Amy uncomfortable … I do, however, hold ultimate responsibility for the entire incident …”
Haas added that he was getting counseling from the Rev. Kenneth Pierre, a psychologist with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Anderson remains baffled, and “mortified,” that Catholic leaders let Haas continue his work as artist-in-residence at the seminary and failed to monitor his future behavior.
“We thought we’d taken the necessary steps to make sure this [sexual abuse] didn’t happen again, much less to nearly 50 women,” said Anderson, referring to the avalanche of sex abuse complaints against Haas reported this year.
“This should never have happened,” said Anderson, an executive at a St. Paul-area nonprofit. “People should have been warned.”
Anderson is among 44 women who alleged sexual misconduct spanning 41 years in an October report by Into Account, a Kansas-based victims’ rights group that compiled the report.
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