Well-known Catholic composer denies sex crimes

A Catholic composer is denying a group’s allegations of sexual misconduct and spiritual manipulation.

The group – known as Into Account Inc. allege David Haas (63) engaged in “a repeated, unethical abuse of the professional and spiritual power he has had in church music circles”.

He targeted “multiple women using techniques that abuse prevention experts identify as grooming,” coercing women into sexual favors, and exploiting women who had previously experienced abuse.

Saying the allegations are “false, reckless and offensive,” Haas criticised the means Into Account chose to broadcast their allegations.

They should not have used social media before allowing him a fair and legitimate venue to face his accusers, he says. Instead launched a marketing effort with the mission to destroy his reputation and livelihood.

Haas is the composer of several songs included in the “Gather” hymnal, which is one of the most used hymnals in American Catholic parishes. He is a central figure in the “contemporary liturgical music” movement that began in the 1970s.

Despite Hass’s denials, Into Account – which says it “provides advocacy and the most up-to-date resources to survivors seeking accountability,” – says it has heard from “nearly a dozen women”.

Into Account says some women accused Haas of “sudden, overwhelming sexual aggression,” and “incidents that we would interpret as outright sexual battery, involving groping, forcible kissing, and aggressive, lewd propositions. The youngest victim was 19 years at the time, while Haas was over 50.”

“These individuals are in positions of professional and/or personal vulnerability that make it difficult for them to identify themselves publicly. They are almost all fearful of Haas’s retaliation, and based on what they have reported, we believe those fears to be well-founded”.

“The pattern that emerges from the reports we’ve received on Haas’s behavior constitutes a repeated, unethical abuse of the professional and spiritual power he has had in church music circles”.

This is not the first time the Catholic composer has been accused of sexual misconduct.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis says it received allegations of misconduct against Haas in both 2018 and 1987.

While Haas denied those allegations, after the 2018 complaints the Archdiocese told him “the Archdiocese would not provide him with a letter of recommendation that he had requested.”

Furthermore, “he was not allowed to provide services at Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese without disclosure of the complaints made against him”.

Haas says he is “an advocate for survivors of clergy sexual abuse and discrimination of all kinds,” and “stands in solidarity and prayerful support of sexual abuse victims and encourages survivors to seek legitimate and appropriate professional services and/or to report any allegations to law enforcement.”

Haas went on to accuse Into Account of attempting to “market and solicit for potential clients,” through its letter.

“If Mr. Haas believes there are any inaccuracies in what we’ve shared, we invite him to specify what they are,” the group replied.


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