He Wrote Famous Hymns, Is Accused of Sex Misconduct

Claims against David Haas, 63, date back 4 decades
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2020 1:47 PM CDT
He Wrote Famous Hymns, Is Accused of Sex Misconduct
   (Getty Images)

"There’s practically not a hymnal in existence that doesn’t include Haas songs," a Catholic theologian says of songs by composer David Haas. But the New York Times reports 10 of the 32 Roman Catholic archdioceses in the US have instructed their churches to no longer play his music during Mass due to accusations of sexual misconduct and harassment at the hands of the 63-year-old that date to his 20s; some big-name liturgical publishers have stopped working with him, too. The Times spoke with six of the 38 accusers who have shared their claims with survivor advocacy group Into Account, which brought those claims to church leaders in May. The following month, the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, where Haas lives, alerted the other archdioceses, recommending they follow its own lead and stop playing his music.

None of the women—many of them musicians or composers who looked up to Haas and say they kept quiet for fear of damaging their careers—have filed criminal or civil complaints. Among their specific claims against Haas: forced kissing, groping, cyberstalking, and sexual propositioning. One 54-year-old who met Haas as a teen says he took her to a margarita-filled lunch for her 18th birthday and tried to coax her into following him to an adjacent hotel afterward. His ex-wife also tells the Times the accusations mirror her own interactions with Haas, who she says kissed her against her will when she was 16 and he was 24. The National Catholic Register notes the country's biggest archdiocese, that of Los Angeles, on July 30 instructed its parishes to no longer play songs by Haas, including well-known ones like "Blest Are They" and "We Are Called." (More Catholic Church stories.)

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