Her allegations brought down megachurch pastor Bruxy Cavey. Then the anonymous trolls came for her.
Kathleen Harte was ready to leave her job in the public relations department at the Good Sam Club and a cozy retirement in Bismarck, North Dakota, when she was named CEO of the Minnesota Chorale, one of the state’s oldest and most prestigious chorale ensembles. Then the harassment and abuse began.
“I was getting death threats,” she recalled of the time she first went public in 2014. “My children were getting threats.”
Her children, she later discovered, had no idea what she was talking about.
Then there were the letters from the anonymous troll:
Dear Kathleen Harte
I have been thinking about you and our conversation. You look great and you are very wise. I want to have a conversation about your life, your faith and how God has blessed you.
God bless you Kathleen Harte.
Love and prayers from your troll
I look forward to talking to you.
Love and prayers as well from your troll.
I wanted to talk with you.
Love and prayers from your troll.
I am not a troll. I am a Christian.
The anonymous letters eventually ceased, but Harte still had to deal with what she came to describe as “the whole world” posting sexist comments on the church bulletin board and other online venues, including the church’s Facebook page.
“Everyone, literally everyone, at the church, they just were harassing me.”
A church that once embraced its LGBT members, and took pride in being an inclusive church, Harte was forced to leave after being relentlessly bombarded with insults and death threats from her critics. By 2016, Harte had come to know those critics: the anonymous trolls, who began sending her notes full of sexual innuendo.
Harte knew that she wouldn’t be able to escape the Internet trolls unless she found a way to block them from her life. It was her only option, because she was out as a lesbian and she still had children to think about while in college.
She tried, she said. She made arrangements to be home-schooled, she tried to talk to the people who continued to make