David Robert Haas (born 1957 in Bridgeport, Michigan) is an American author and composer of contemporary Catholic liturgical music. In 2020, dozens of women accused him of sexual misconduct spanning several decades, and he issued a public apology for harmful behavior.
Education and career
Haas graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1975. He studied vocal music performance at Central Michigan University from 1975–1977. From 1977–1978, Haas served in parish and school communities in the Diocese of Saginaw. From 1978–1980, Haas was a seminarian for the Diocese of Saginaw, studying at Saint John Vianney College Seminary and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. From 1980–1981, Haas served as a pastoral musician at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, Minnesota. From 1981–1982, Haas was the Director of Music and Youth Ministry at Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Church in Ankeny, Iowa. From 1982–1985, Haas was Director of Music/Liturgy at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Paul Park, MN. From 1985–1988, Haas was Composer-in-Residence/Adjunct Instructor at Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1991, Haas completed his B.A. in Theology and Vocal Music Performance from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. From 1991–1994, Haas served as Composer-in-Residence / Pastoral Musician at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From 1992–2020, Haas served as Director of The Emmaus Center for Music, Prayer and Ministry in his hometown of Eagan, Minnesota. From 1997–2011, Haas worked at the preparatory school Benilde-St. Margaret's in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, where he was Campus Minister and Artist-in-Residence. From 2011–2015, Haas served as Campus Minister at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minnesota.
He has produced over 45 original collections and recordings of liturgical music and is the author of several books on the topics of prayer and liturgical music. His music has been published in the hymnals of GIA Publications, Oregon Catholic Press, Liturgical Press, World Library Publications, Augsburg Fortress, The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Celebrating Grace, Disciples of Christ, The Anglican Church of Canada, and others. Among his most widely known hymns are "Blest Are They", "We Are Called", and "You Are Mine". Haas has collaborated on recordings, concerts and workshops with Michael Joncas, Marty Haugen, Jeanne Cotter, Lori True, and others.
From 1999 to 2017, Haas directed the program Music Ministry Alive!, a five-day liturgical program for youth and adult leaders that met on the campus of St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. From 1985–1996, Haas served as a Faculty/Team Member for Institutes with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, helping develop liturgical and musical aspects of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). From 1986–2020, Haas presented at the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. Haas is a member of St. Cecilia's Parish in St. Paul, where he has volunteered as a cantor.
Haas married fellow composer Jeanne Cotter in October 1988, after the relationship started when Cotter was 16 and Haas 23. Haas and Cotter divorced in March 1995, and the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis granted an annulment.
Allegations of sexual misconduct
On May 29, 2020, advocacy group Into Account sent a letter to Catholic organizations, accusing Haas of sexual misconduct with "nearly a dozen" victims. This was subsequently reported by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and Catholic News Agency. Following publication of the letter, an additional 14 women approached Into Account with allegations of sexual misconduct by Haas. Initially, he denied the allegations and denounced them as "false, reckless and offensive". Then, on July 9, 2020, Haas issued an apology on his website, announcing that he was beginning "professional intervention and treatment" and saying: "I have come to realize that I have caused great harm to a variety of people. I make no excuses for any harm that I may have caused. I take responsibility for my behavior and I am truly sorry." On October 1, 2020, Into Account released a report detailing 44 allegations of Haas's sexual misconduct spanning 41 years. The report alleges that from 1979 to 1982 Haas "targeted girls from 13–17 for rape, forced oral sex" and "false romantic and sexual relationships", and that from 1981 to 2019 Haas targeted "girls 14–17 for grooming" and "false mentorship bonds" and targeted "young adults and women 18–60 for grooming and forced sexual acts." A lawsuit further alleged that his Music Ministry Alive program shielded a suspended priest who had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse and prohibited from contact with minors.
- On June 13, 2020, GIA Publications announced that it had terminated its relationship with Haas and was removing his works from its publications. On July 15, GIA announced the establishment of a code of conduct for all its composers and authors. On August 4, GIA announced that "We have identified and retained a prominent, independent law firm to conduct an internal assessment of our actions, policies, and procedures related to the allegations against David Haas."
- On June 15, 2020, Oregon Catholic Press announced that it was removing Haas's songs from its website.
- On June 17, 2020, Twenty-Third Publications announced that in response to allegations against Haas, "his works are no longer available through the Twenty-Third Publication brand."
- On June 18, 2020, Clear Faith Publishing announced that in response to allegations against Haas, "we have decided to suspend our sponsorship and promotion of his works done through our publishing company immediately."
- On June 23 and June 30, 2020, the MennoMedia publishing arm of Mennonite Church USA announced it would be removing Haas's music from the upcoming edition of the Voices Together hymnal and replacing it with other songs.
- On November 2, 2020, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America announced that "Both the ELCA and 1517 Media / Augsburg Fortress have taken steps to discontinue suggesting hymns by Haas in worship planning resources for this church and to amend existing resources currently available online. The ELCA and 1517 Media have no plans to include his works in future resources and publications."
- On June 16, 2020, Cretin-Derham Hall High School, where Haas worked from 2011–2015 and ministered at worship events until 2018, released a statement recognizing that he was under investigation for sexual misconduct, and expressing sympathy with the victims. According to the statement, Cretin-Derham Hall is not aware of any allegations involving students or employees.
- On August 4 and August 10, 2020, St. Catherine University, where Music Ministry Alive! was held, released statements offering support to anyone abused by Haas and announcing an "independent investigation of its history and relationship with Mr. Haas and the allegations against him involving Music Ministry Alive! and other campus events."
- On October 10, 2020 the Seminaries of Saint Paul, where Haas was Composer in Residence from 1985-1988, released a statement sharing the results of an internal investigation. The investigation found that an allegation of sexual assault of an 18-year old woman was made against Haas in October 1987, that Rector/Vice President Rev. Charles Froehle notified the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and that Froehle met with the woman and her parents, and arranged for counseling for Haas.
- On June 14, 2020, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis confirmed that it had received similar complaints against Haas in 1987 and 2018 (which it then required him to disclose to prospective archdiocesan employers) and that he had requested a letter of recommendation (which the archdiocese refused). On July 8, the archdiocese further announced that its events would no longer allow Haas's music or presentations, and encouraged diocesan institutions "to consider the sensitivities involved with using Haas' music in liturgies or other parish or school events, and to take appropriate steps to fully support those who have been harmed by sexual assault or abuse." On October 8, the archdiocese responded to Into Account's report against Haas, which alleged that his sexual abuse of a 13-year-old in 1979 had been promptly reported to the archdiocese. Although "a review of archdiocesan records ... has not surfaced any such report", the archdiocese forwarded the allegation to law enforcement and encouraged anyone with knowledge of criminal behavior to share this information with law enforcement.
- On June 30, 2020, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles stated that it was opening an investigation into the allegations, and that it "is also reviewing GIA Publications' announcement that it is suspending its relationship with Mr. Haas as his sponsor and publisher". Haas was prohibited from performing in the Archdiocese, and on July 30 the Archdiocese asked all its parishes, schools, and ministries to refrain from using his music.
- On June 30, 2020, the Diocese of Venice in Florida stated that it would be inappropriate to continue using Haas's music at Mass.
- On July 9, 2020, the Crosier Fathers, who had previously awarded Haas their Outstanding Service in Ministry Award in 2004, issued a statement condemning abusive behavior and expressing empathy for survivors.
- On July 24, 2020, the Liturgical Composers Forum suspended Haas's membership and returned his financial contributions to As Music Heals.
- In July–November 2020, at least 84 American Catholic dioceses announced they were urging or imposing a suspension of Haas's music, out of concern for abuse victims.
- On August 21, 2020, Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church requested that congregations not perform Haas's music, pending an investigation and possible court proceedings.
- In October 2020, The Archdiocese of Detroit announced that parishes throughout the Archdiocese would cut his music from their repertoire.
- On November 2, 2020, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America strongly encouraged congregations to discontinue using works by Haas.
Awards and recognition
- 1995: Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of St. Thomas (together with Michael Joncas and Marty Haugen) — rescinded in July 2020 due to sexual misconduct allegations
- 2003: Outstanding Professional Book Award from the Catholic Press Association
- 2004: Pastoral Musician of the Year from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians — rescinded in July 2020 due to sexual misconduct allegations
- 2004: Outstanding Service in Ministry Award from the Crosier Fathers - rescinded in July 2020 due to sexual misconduct allegations
- 2014: Emmaus Award for Excellence in Catechesis from the National Catholic Education Association
- 2015: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Portland — rescinded in August 2020 due to sexual misconduct allegations
- 2017: Pax Christi Award from St. John's Abbey and University — rescinded in August 2020 due to sexual misconduct allegations
- Fazio, Marie (August 10, 2020). "Catholic Churches Drop Hymns After Accusations Against Composer". The New York Times.
- Haas, David (2018). I Will Bring You Home. Chicago, IL: GIA Publications, Inc. pp. 405–413. ISBN 978-1-62277-284-1.
- "Dioceses restrict David Haas hymns and concerts after abuse accusations". America Magazine. August 12, 2020.
- Kuruvilla, Carol (August 14, 2020). "Catholic Archdioceses Ban Music Penned By Composer Accused Of Sexual Misconduct". HuffPost.
- "North American Forum on the Catechumenate Records". University of Notre Dame Archives. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
- "LA parishes asked not to use David Haas music amid misconduct investigation". Angelus News. July 31, 2020.
- Haas, David (2018). I Will Bring You Home. Chicago, IL: GIA Publications, Inc. pp. 434–435. ISBN 978-1-62277-284-1.
- Cotter, Jeanne (June 21, 2020). "Facebook Post". Facebook. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
- Flynn, JD (June 16, 2020). "Catholic composer David Haas denies 'sexual battery' and coercion allegations". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
- "SNAP Stands in Solidarity with Into Account and the Survivors of David Haas". Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. June 12, 2020. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
- Flynn, JD (June 14, 2020). "Catholic composer David Haas accused of 'sexual battery' and 'spiritual manipulation'". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- "David Haas Apology Statement". David Haas. July 9, 2020. Archived from the original on July 15, 2020.
- Vodvarka, Sophie (October 6, 2020). "New report details 44 accounts of alleged abuse by David Haas". National Catholic Reporter.
- Krehbiel, Stephanie; Yoder, Jay; Scarsella, Hillary; Bergen, Erin (October 1, 2020). "David Haas Report". Into Account. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
- Hopfensperger, Jean (September 9, 2020). "Priest accused of child sex abuse was allowed at Minnesota Catholic music camp". Star Tribune.
- "Press Release" (PDF). GIA Publications. June 15, 2020.
- "Statement regarding Code of Conduct" (PDF). GIA Publications. July 15, 2020.
- "GIA Selects Firm for Internal Assessment" (PDF). GIA Publications. August 4, 2020.
- "Statement regarding David Haas". Oregon Catholic Press.
- "We recently received notice of sexual misconduct allegations". Oregon Catholic Press. June 15, 2020.
- "A Statement from Twenty-Third Publications and Bayard Inc". June 17, 2020.
- "Our statement regarding recent allegations against David Haas". Clear Faith Publishing. June 18, 2020.
- "Replacing the songs of David Haas". June 30, 2020.
- "Haas songs removed from Voices Together hymnal". June 23, 2020.
- "When Trust Is Broken: A Response to Allegations against Musician David Haas". Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. November 2, 2020.
- "Statement on Allegations Related to David Haas". Cretin-Derham Hall. June 16, 2020. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
- "Statement Regarding David Haas". St. Catherine University. August 4, 2020.
- "Statement to the Community Regarding David Haas". St. Catherine University. August 10, 2020.
- "Statement Regarding David Haas". The Seminaries of St. Paul. October 10, 2020.
- O'Malley, Tim (June 16, 2020). "Statement Regarding David Haas". Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
- O'Malley, Tim (July 8, 2020). "Additional Statement Regarding David Haas". Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
- O'Malley, Tim (October 8, 2020). "Statement Regarding David Haas". Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
- "David Haas Statement" (PDF). Archdiocese of Los Angeles. June 30, 2020.
- "Los Angeles Archdiocese: Do Not Sing David Haas Hymns". National Catholic Register. Catholic News Agency. July 31, 2020.
- "Catholic music publisher vows investigation into Haas as allegations mount". National Catholic Reporter. July 27, 2020.
- "Crosier Statement Regarding David Haas". Crosier Fathers and Brothers. July 9, 2020. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
- "Statement from the Liturgical Composers Forum Board of Directors Regarding David Haas", July 24, 2020.
- O'Donnell, Erin (December 8, 2020). "Update: Dioceses and Parishes Consider Survivor-Centered Approaches to David Haas's Music". Awake Milwaukee.
- Statements from American Catholic dioceses, July–November 2020:
- "Diocese of San José Statement on David Haas Sexual Abuse and Spiritual Manipulation Allegations" (PDF). Diocese of San José. July 16, 2020.
- "Statement Regarding David Haas, Catholic Composer". Diocese of Gaylord. July 17, 2020.
- "Moratorium on use of music by David Haas". Diocese of Jefferson City. July 20, 2020.
- "Statement of the Office for Divine Worship with Regard to the Use of the Music Composed by David Haas" (PDF). Archdiocese of Philadelphia. July 20, 2020.
- "Statement of the Diocese of Paterson on using the liturgical music of David Haas". Diocese of Paterson. July 27, 2020.
- "David Hass [sic] not permitted to perform or speak in the diocese; music to be discontinued". Diocese of Spokane. July 28, 2020.
- "Diocesan Memorandum: Accusations against David Haas". Diocese of Cleveland. August 2020.
- "Memo from Department of Liturgy and Worship Re: David Haas". National Association of Pastoral Musicians, Diocese of Pittsburgh Chapter. August 2020.
- "Statement regarding David Haas". Diocese of Sacramento. August 3, 2020.
- "Archdiocese of Boston Statement Regarding David Haas". Archdiocese of Boston. August 7, 2020.
- "Statement regarding allegations concerning Mr. David Haas". Archdiocese of Anchorage and Diocese of Juneau. August 7, 2020.
- "Statement regarding David Hass". Diocese of Baker. August 7, 2020.
- "Diocese of Albany will no longer allow music by David Haas". Diocese of Albany. August 12, 2020.
- "Most Reverend Robert J. McManus has issued the following". National Association of Pastoral Musicians, Diocese of Worcester Chapter. August 14, 2020.
- "Parish Update #34". Archdiocese of St. Louis: Mary, Mother of the Church. August 14, 2020.
- "Statement Regarding Musician/Composer David Haas". Diocese of Grand Island. August 19, 2020.
- "Statement On David Haas". Diocese of Bridgeport. August 22, 2020.
- "Music by David Haas Should Be Removed". Diocese of Oakland. September 4, 2020.
- "Diocese of Saginaw's statement regarding David Haas, Catholic Composer". Diocese of Saginaw. October 7, 2020.
- "Directive Regarding David Haas" (PDF). Diocese of Cheyenne. October 7, 2020.
- "Bishop Lucia Suspends usage of David Haas Music in Diocese of Syracuse". Diocese of Syracuse. October 13, 2020.
- "Diocese suspends all use of music by composer David Haas". Diocese of Davenport. October 14, 2020.
- "Diocese of Scranton Statement Regarding David Haas". Diocese of Scranton. October 16, 2020.
- "Regarding the Use of Music Composed by David Haas". Archdiocese of Detroit. October 16, 2020.
- "Bishop Issues Directive Regarding the Music of David Haas". Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. October 19, 2020.
- "Statement regarding David Haas". Diocese of Superior. October 30, 2020.
- "DIOCESE OF HARRISBURG SUSPENDS USING MUSIC FROM DAVID HAAS". Diocese of Harrisburg. November 4, 2020.
- "Discipleship Ministries Statement Regarding Hymnwriter David Haas". United Methodist Church. August 21, 2020.
- "Past Recipients". University of St. Thomas, Minnesota. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
- "St. Thomas Rescinds Alumni Award". University of St. Thomas. 2020-07-31. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
- "Statement on Mr. David Haas" (PDF). National Association of Pastoral Musicians. July 3, 2020. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
- "University of Portland rescinds David Haas' degree". catholicsentinel.org.
- "Pax Christi Award to David Haas rescinded". College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.