Whistleblower files defamation claim against archdiocese

Jennifer Haselberger
Jennifer Haselberger photographed Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 at her St. Paul home.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News 2013

Updated: 8:45 p.m. | Posted: 4:10 p.m.

Whistleblower Jennifer Haselberger has filed a claim against the Twin Cities archdiocese for at least $50,000 for alleged defamation.

The claim filed Monday in the archdiocese's bankruptcy case said the defamation occurred after June 6, 2014. It did not elaborate.

Haselberger resigned as the archdiocese's chancellor for canonical affairs in April 2013 and contacted MPR News in July 2013 to reveal a cover-up of clergy sex abuse. She had served as a top adviser to then-Archbishop John Nienstedt since 2008.

More than 300 people who say they were sexually abused by priests have also filed claims in the bankruptcy. Parishes, schools and other entities also filed claims.

Haselberger's claim was one of several filed on the final day for creditors to come forward.

In a post on her blog Tuesday, Haselberger said the claim is based on "multiple incidences that have occurred over the past year."

Haselberger said she is not seeking "personal enrichment" from the archdiocese.

"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," Haselberger wrote. "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."

A spokesperson said the archdiocese had no comment.

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