National Catholic Reporter
Luke Hansen | Jul. 20, 2017
WEST ST. PAUL, MINN.
Gilbert Gustafson was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1977, served as an associate priest at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, until 1982, pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a minor in 1983, and served four and a half months in jail and 10 years' probation. Gustafson has admitted to abusing four boys between 1978 and 1982. He was not criminally charged in the other cases.
From 1983 to 2002, Gustafson was not assigned to parish ministry, but he was in residence at two different rectories, and he served as a chaplain for a local monastery of women religious. From 1983 to 1997, Gustafson served in various administrative roles for Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. From 1997 to 2002, he worked in the archdiocese's chancery office.
In June 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops established the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, commonly known as the Dallas Charter, to address sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. Following the charter, Gustafson was permanently removed from active priestly ministry. He could no longer present himself as a priest, use a clerical title, wear clerical attire or celebrate the sacraments.
Gustafson, however, remains in the clerical state. Thus, in accord with the Code of Canon Law, Canon 1350, Paragraph 1, the archdiocese has continuously provided financial support for his basic needs. In 2006, the archdiocese concluded that Gustafson, since he had sexually abused minors, was "permanently and totally disabled" from engaging in his occupation as a priest, and therefore was "entitled to vested retirement benefits" under the Pension Plan for Priests in the Archdiocese. Gustafson also participates in an archdiocesan monitoring program akin to civil probation.