Watersmeet Priest Removed from Ministry

Iron County Reporter
October 28, 2008

MARQUETTE—Bishop Alexander K. Sample of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette has temporarily removed Father Aloysius J. Hasenberg, 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.

Fr. Hasenberg was ordained in 1949 and was named assistant pastor at St. Ann Parish in Menominee. In 1952, he was appointed assistant pastor at St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish in Iron Mountain and served as temporary administrator at Precious Blood Parish in Stephenson. He was named temporary summer assistant at St. Paul Parish in Negaunee in 1953.

In 1955, he served as chaplain at St. Francis Hospital, Escanaba; in 1957, he was appointed executive administrator at Holy Name High School in Escanaba and temporary administrator at St. John Parish in Menominee; in 1958, he was named administrator at St. Rita Parish in Trenary; in 1966, he was appointed pastor at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Calumet.

In 1968, Fr. Hasenberg was appointed pastor at St. Agnes Parish in Iron River. He was named administrator at both Assumption Parish in Iron River (1978) and Blessed Sacrament Parish in Stambaugh (1983).

He retired in 1997 and was in residence at Immaculate Conception Parish in Watersmeet since 1997.

Bishop Sample has offered to meet with the victim/survivor, 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 Fr. Hasenberg during weekend Masses on Oct. 25-26. Although Fr. 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 victim/survivor 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:; or call the Diocesan Director of Ministry Personnel Stephen Lynott, at (906) 227-9107/800-562-9745, ext. 107. If 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:


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.