George DeCosta, a retired priest who was a Youth leader at a summer music program run by David Haas at St. Catherine University, was sued by at least six men for alleged child sex abuse in his home state of Hawaii.
“I distinctly remember him [DeCosta] at morning prayer, evening prayer, sitting up front,” said Henson, who is one of 113 former Music Ministry Alive (MMA) participants, who have sent a petition to St. Catherine’s, seeking “transparency and accountability” for Haas’ alleged sexual misconduct as well as DeCosta’s presence in the program held on its campus in St. Paul. The petition, led by parents as well as former students, is seeking explanations from Music Ministry Alive, which had more than 2,200 students from 1999 to 2017.
There are over 41 women coming forward to report sexual abuse allegations that they claim occurred at Catholic music events in Minnesota.
David Haas made a public apology in the summer, and said that he was undergoing “professional intervention and treatment.”
“I have come to realize that I have caused great harm to a variety of people,” Haas wrote. “I make no excuses for any harm that I may have caused. I take responsibility for my behavior and I am truly sorry.”
St. Catherine University has begun their own independent investigation into ties between MMA, Haas, and the university.
“It’s been a betrayal of trust,” said one of the mothers of a former student.
“David Haas was a gifted composer, and Music Ministry Alive was a wonderful program,” said one of the parents who signed the petition. “This is another example of faith leaders revealed to be weak.”
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