Whistleblower files claim against archdiocese for defamation


A former employee of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who went public with concerns over how the local church was handling clergy sex abuse cases has filed a claim against the archdiocese in bankruptcy court.

Jennifer Haselberger's claim is for at least $50,000 in damages for defamation of character, MPR News reports.

She filed the claim on Monday, which was the court-imposed deadline for filing claims against the archdiocese as it reorganizes its finances under bankruptcy protections.

Haselberger was the archdiocese's chancellor for canonical affairs when she resigned in April 2013, and shortly afterward went public with her accusations that the archdiocese had covered up decades of clergy sex abuse.

In a post on her blog, Haselberger wrote Tuesday that she has not sued the archdiocese, but filed the claim by the Aug. 3 deadline to reserve her right to do so at some point.

Haselberger said her claim is based on "multiple incidences" of defamation that have occurred over the past year, although she didn't provide any specifics, the Associated Press notes.

Haselberger also wrote that while she is contemplating legal action, she is not doing so for "personal enrichment."

"If I do pursue a claim for damages my intention is to use any award in furtherance of the goal of ensuring that the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis becomes a safe and welcoming place for all individuals. I have a very specific idea about one step that can be taken towards accomplishing this, and my intention is to use any award as seed money for that project."

As of the Monday 5 p.m. deadline, 655 claims against the archdiocese had been filed, with more than 400 of them relating to sex abuse.

What now?

Now that all the claims have been filed, the archdiocese and its insurance companies will review them and negotiate how much money insurers will put into a fund for victims.

Mike Finnegan, an attorney with the Jeff Anderson law firm, tells the Pioneer Press the insurance companies are “absolutely fighting back” at the negotiating table and the archdiocese has already taken some insurers to court.

The amount that insurance companies must pay could also be affected by the outcome of a criminal case against the archdiocese, which argues officials turned a blind eye to clergy sex abuse.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.34.43 AM

Watch: Drunk squirrel in Minnesota captures the world's attention

The squirrel was immediately cut off after nearly tipping over.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 7.15.09 PM

Small town gym refusing to close facing lawsuit from attorney general

The gym is facing a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to halt their operations.

credit card, payment

Money Gal Coaching: Bouncing back after living your best life

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.


When do stores open on Black Friday this year?

Many major retailers will be open Black Friday, some for extended hours.

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead outside home near Cass Lake

The man was reportedly shot outside the property.


Gov. Walz announces $1M in grants to boost Minnesota tourism

The money will be used for marketing efforts to attract people to Minnesota's hard-hit tourist spots.

coronavirus, ICU

Nov. 25 COVID-19 update: 72 deaths ties Minnesota's single-day high

A COVID-19 update will not be provided on Thanksgiving Day.


Revival to open its fourth Twin Cities location

The fried chicken and smoked meat maestros are moving to St. Louis Park.

Duluth and Case Recreation Center

St. Paul to open two extra temporary shelters for homeless people

Mayor Melvin Carter announced the new shelters will be opened in the event of excess demand.

vote, election

Minnesota once again had the highest election turnout in the country

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a record percentage of voters also sent in absentee ballots.