“I didn’t do enough.”
That’s how one of the most heroic whistleblowers in Catholic history describes her efforts to expose predators and protect kids.
“I didn’t do enough.”
What haunting words. That must send a chill up the spine of anyone who works – or worked - for any Catholic entity in Minnesota.
That’s what Jennifer Haselberger told the Associated Press the other day.
Haselberger was, for years, a high ranking archdiocesan chancery office staffer in the Twin Cities.
When she saw that her church colleagues and supervisors were ignoring or hiding evidence of possible crimes by predatory priests (including Fr. Jon Shelley and Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer), she spoke up and stepped down.
She’s done more to expose continuing clergy sex cirmes and cover ups than perhaps any Catholic employee since Fr. Thomas Doyle.
Even so, she now feels like she “didn’t do enough.”
Imagine how her former peers – in the chancery office, in parishes, in parochial schools – will feel years from now when the teacher or seminarian or nun or priest or brother who they suspected might have acted inappropriately with a child is arrested for child sex crimes (like Fr. Wehmeyer was) or for adult sex crimes (like Fr. Mark Huberty was) or found guilty in court (like Fr. Robert Kapoun was) or suspended (like Fr. Michael Keating was).
You get the point: there are lots of Catholic employees in the Twin Cities who have hurt kids and adults. Lots of other Catholic employees have hunches or information or suspicions about them. Most, however, stay silent. Few find the courage to do what Haselberger did.
And many, maybe right now or more likely later in life, will come to regret their inaction. They’ll end up guilt-ridden, because they “didn’t do enough” to ameliorate the suffering of those already hurt and “didn’t do enough” to prevent the suffering of those who were hurt AFTER they chose to stay comfortable in their silence.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.