New report details 44 accounts of alleged abuse by David Haas

National Catholic Reporter

October 6, 2020

By Sophie Vodvarka

[See Into Account’s David Haas page, with links to 19 survivor accounts and a detailed report on the allegations.]

Accusers request ban on Haas’ liturgical music, saying it retraumatizes them

Margaret Hillman cantors at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Sarasota, Florida, this fall. (Alex Dilan)
This summer while cantoring during Mass, Margaret Hillman was overcome by traumatic flashbacks that caused her to have panic attacks while singing music by Catholic composer David Haas.

Hillman’s flashbacks were triggered by a press release from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) that supported the reports that the advocacy group Into Account collected from several women accusing Haas of sexual and spiritual abuse. Hillman said the allegations “felt so familiar.”

Two weeks later, Hillman described sexual abuse by Haas in her own report with Into Account, an organization that supports survivors of sexual abuse in Christian contexts. Hillman, a 53-year-old musician, serves as cantor, choir member and assistant with the youth choir at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Sarasota, Florida, and cantor at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Venice, Florida.

Hillman also asked Venice Bishop Frank Dewane to tell parishes in the diocese to stop playing Haas’ music at Mass and was pleased the bishop responded by sending a letter to all parishes to put a moratorium on Haas’ music.

This July, Hillman, fellow survivor Susan Bruhl and former Haas colleague Laurie Delgatto-Whitten sent letters to all dioceses requesting to publicly ban Haas’ music from liturgies, to ban him from working in the dioceses, and to reach out to other potential survivors of abuse.

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