According to an article in the Star Tribune, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis continued to pay the salary and health insurance premiums — as well as provide living expenses — for a pedophile priest who was convicted on child sex abuse charges over 30 years ago.
In 1983, the Reverend Gil Gustafson admitted to a Ramsey County District Court that he molested Brian Herrity for five years, beginning when the boy was 10 years old. He was fined $40 and sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years on probation. The vicar general in charge of clergy abuse cases, Rev. Kevin McDonough, believes that Gustafson abused between four and fifteen victims, including Herrity.
After four-and-a-half months in jail, he was released into the care of the Church, and the archbishop at the time, John Roach, lobbied to have Gustafson reinstated.
“I want him back in a parish,” Roach wrote in 1990. “He has received and complied with far more treatment than anyone else, and it seems to me he has done it well.”
When no parish offered Gustafson a position, the Church had him give presentations about his sex offenses. In 2009, he was hired as a “leadership consultant” by Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. When news of his criminal history became known, supporters of the school were outraged.
The school’s president, Rev. David Haschika, said he knew about Gustafson’s crimes, but “as far as I knew, Mr. Gustafson had done everything he could do to straighten out his life and become a good citizen.”
According to the Star Tribune, in addition to the salary, insurance and living expenses given to him by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Gustafson also receives disability. The father of Brian Herrity asked the paper, “since when is a crime a disability? If that’s the case, everyone in prison should be disabled.”
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Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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