Statement Regarding Gilbert Gustafson File Release

From Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Documents from the priest file of Gilbert Gustafson given to the court earlier this year were released today by Jeff Anderson and Associates. This release is in the interest of public disclosure and transparency.

As was reported in the media in 1983, Gil Gustafson pleaded guilty to third degree criminal sexual misconduct involving a minor and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. His sentence was stayed with the condition that Gustafson abide with conditions of probation for 10 years and serve six months in the Ramsey County Workhouse. According to criminal records, his conviction was based on sexual abuse of a minor that began in 1977 and continued over the course of five years while Gustafson was assigned as an associate priest of St. Mary of the Lake in White Bear Lake. After Gustafson’s release in late 1983, Archbishop Roach allowed Gustafson to engage in non-parish ministry under the restriction that he not have contact with youth and provided that he continued psychiatric treatment. This 1983 decision is not how we would handle such a case today. In 2002, the archdiocese permanently removed Gustafson from all public ministry and prohibited him from presenting himself as a priest in any way, consistent with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The Charter bars from public ministry any member of the clergy who has sexually abused a minor.

Today, Gustafson lives a lay life in St. Paul and is monitored by the Promotion of Ministerial Standards program. He is prohibited from having unsupervised contacts with minors. He received salary and housing payments from the archdiocese until 2007, until he was eligible to receive his pension. In the past, Gustafson was a consultant to certain parishes and Catholic schools. Archdiocesan leadership is not aware of any current consulting work by Gustafson in parishes or Catholic schools within the archdiocese.

Archbishop John Nienstedt, I and all other archdiocesan leaders are committed to doing everything we can to prevent abuse of the young and the vulnerable and to help abuse victims/survivors and their loved ones heal. I again apologize for the grave harm caused by clergy sexual abuse to victims/survivors, their families and their communities.

View Gil Gustafson’s assignment history.