MN--New records show "dangerous situation"
For immediate release: Monday, Oct. 27
Statement by Frank Meuers of Plymouth MN, SNAP’s Twin Cities director
Newly released Twin Cities Catholic church records show that, as of 2012, a convicted predator priest
--has discontinued therapy,
--admits he’s still attracted to boys,
--works as a consultant for Catholic religious orders,
--is no longer required, by Catholic officials, to attend therapy,
--can travel anywhere without asking permission from his church supervisors or letting them know &
--knows of two or three of his victims who apparently have not yet come forward.
All of this comes “straight from the horse’s mouth” – from the last ten pages of “Gilbert Gustafson Key Documents” on the website of Jeff Anderson’s law firm: AndersonAdvocates.com. And let us stress again: Fr. Gustafson is a convicted child molester. And he is still a priest. He has not been defrocked.
Fr. Gustafson belongs in jail. Archbishop John Nienstedt and his colleagues, we believe, could likely help law enforcement put him there, by aggressively seeking out those who may have seen, suspected or suffered more recent crimes by Fr. Gustafson.
And until Fr. Gustafson is prosecuted and convicted, Nienstedt should insist that he live in a remote, secure, independent treatment facility, not live alone in West St. Paul. (Other employers could not force employees to do this. Catholic officials do, however, have this power.)
Just a few pages back from the most recent ten or twelve of these just-disclosed records and there are other stunning revelations:
--An undated memo says that Fr. Gustafson can be the “conscience” of Fr. Kevin McDonough, a high ranking archdiocesan official who long dealt with clergy sex cases.
--As recently as May 2008, Nienstedt admits he knows Fr. Gustafson appears to be presenting himself as clergy. But he takes no steps to warn the public about him.
--As recently as July 2008, church officials were aware that Fr. Gustafson was acting as a priest.
--As recently as 2011, church officials admit he continues to receive compensation from the archdiocese (and we believe this is still the case today).
--As recently as 2012, the files contain a handwritten note saying “Gil is very smart and is, I am sure, capable of fooling others and himself.” It seems the note is by Fr. Kevin McDonough.
As best we can tell, the only time church officials even talk of potentially changing anything about Fr. Gustafson’s situation is when they fear more civil lawsuits might be coming.
According to the independent website BishopAccountability.org:
--The archdiocese helped Gustafson establish a leadership consulting business, and referred clients to him. They included Pax Christi Church in Eden Prairie and the University of St. Thomas.
--A woman who attended a National Ministry Summit in Florida in 2008 was outraged to see Gustafson there, and wrote a letter of complaint to Archbishop Nienstedt.
--In 2009, he was hired by Christo Rey Jesuit High School as a leadership consultant. The school's president knew of his sexual abuse history.
--Gustafson is shown on the website for the Visitation Monastery in Minneapolis as having been involved in a 2010-2011 leadership training program. His history was known by the Monastery's sisters.
--In 2014 it was revealed that, in addition to his archdiocesan provided living expenses, since 2006 Gustafson was receiving disability payments, because of his pedophilia
The many who have been duped into thinking that Catholic bishops began handling clergy sex abuse and cover up cases differently – whether in the 1990s, when they first began making this claim, or in 2002, when they formally pledged to do so as a nation-wide body – should read these records, cry, and then join those of us who really ARE working to make the church, and our society, safer from those who commit and conceal heinous clergy sex crimes.
Anyone in Minnesota who has knowledge of or suspicions about Fr. Gustfason should speak up now. These records show that Twin Cities Catholic officials are still more interested in protecting themselves, their assets and their reputations than they do about protecting children. So the burden falls to the rest of us to do all we can to warn parents about and protect children from Fr. Gustafson and his abusive colleagues.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.