I am hearing rumors that another investigation is underway in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, with people being contacted for questioning by William McNab of Winthrop & Weinstine. [I learned this morning that a local journalist spoke with McNab yesterday, and that he declined to comment and referred all questions to the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese has declined to comment, citing the need to protect the privacy of the priest in question]. However, in this case it does not appear as though the topic is the conduct or misconduct of Archbishop Nienstedt. Rather, what I am hearing is that the questions asked relate to Father Kevin McDonough.

McDonough has, of course, been under fire before. The docsociety (founded in the aftermath of the 2002 murder of Dan O'Connell and James Ellison by Reverend Ryan Erickson), began calling for his resignation from Archdiocesan duties as early as 2006 (see the organization's 'Founding Document'). 

And, those who have been ordained in recent years or who have taken prominent positions within the Chancery will recall that the publication of those events in The Catholic Spirit would almost always result in the receipt of an anonymous letter, purportedly from members of an SA group (a twelve step program for recovery from sexual addiction), alleging misconduct by Father McDonough and several other priests and bishops. These letters arrived with such predictability that I could guess what had occurred even before responding to the frantic emails and calls from the stunned recipients, who were, as would be expected, horrified by what the letters contained. I think at one point the Chancellor for Civil Affairs, Andy Eisenzimmer, made some sort of effort to have the letters traced, but other than that I don't recall any action being taken about them or any investigation taking place as to what was alleged. 

This calls to mind a question I was asked by a reporter after my affidavit was released in July of 2014. The reporter was referring to the part of my affidavit where I discuss phone calls the Chancery was receiving from a 'pimp' who was calling to complain because one of the Archdiocesan priests had failed to pay one of his 'girls' for her services (pg. 52-53). The reporter wanted to know my reaction, and kept asking if I didn't think that getting such a call 'was strange'. My guarded response was to say, basically, that sure it 'was strange', but no stranger than most of the other things that were happening at that Chancery. 

The anonymous letters are a case in point.


12/17/2014 10:42am

What is an "SA Group"?

P. Favorite
12/27/2014 2:50pm

Hello, Jennifer. I'm wondering if you recall when you first read the docsociety's founding document. Can you narrow down the season and year? Or just the year? Thanks, and Happy Christmas to you.

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    Jennifer Haselberger is a canon lawyer who served as the Chancellor for Canonical Affairs in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis until April of 2013, when she resigned in protest of the Archdiocese's handling of sexual misconduct by clergy.

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