Rev. Gilbert J. Gustafson

Summary of Case: In 1982 the parents of a 15 year-old boy complained to the archdiocese that Gustafson had been sexually abusing their son for five years. Gustafson admitted the abuse, and that he had sexually abused two other boys. He was criminally charged and pleaded guilty to the abuse of the boy whose parents complained. Gustafson was fined $40.00 and sentenced to six months in jail. He served 4 1/2 months of the sentence. In 2000 Gustafson was accused of sexually abusing a girl for five years, beginning in 1977. Gustafson denied abusing her. His accuser in that case sued the archdiocese in 2002, and received a settlement in 2005.The archdiocese allowed him from 1983 on to work as a researcher and assistant in the chancery, to serve on an interfaith board on sexual trauma, and to serve as chaplain at a monastery for cloistered nuns. Gustafson wasn't removed from ministry until June 2002, when the U.S. bishops adopted a "zero tolerance" policy regarding the sexual abuse of children by clergy. In 2007 he was quoted as saying he was "on leave". Gustafson may have been involved with a leadership training program at a Minneapolis monastery for nuns in 2010-2011.

: 1977
Incardinated: St. Paul and Minneapolis


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


St. Paul and Minneapolis archbishop was John Robert Roach (1975-1995)

1982 St. Mary of the Lake

White Bear Lake

Gustafson admitted in the early 1980s to sexually abusing three boys during his time at St. Mary's. He abused one of the boys for five years, beginning in 1977, when the boy was a 10 year-old altar boy. His parents became aware of the abuse in 1982 and told church officials.

A woman reported to the archdiocese in 2000 that Gustafson sexually abused her for five years, beginning when she was five years old in 1977. She said the abuse happened at St. Mary of the Lake school (which she attended), in her family's home, and on vacation. Gustafson denied abusing her.

MN 2/2, 2/3

St. Mary of the Lake had a school with 205-211 students.







Gustafson's female accuser received a settlement from the archdiocese in 2005.



    Continuing Education and Spiritual Growth for Priests St. Paul MN associate director  


Washington DC archbishop was James Aloysius Hickey (1980-2000)

1983 Special Assignment/Catholic University Washington DC   Gustafson was sent for treatment. He pleaded guilty in 1983 to sexually abusing the boy whose parents complained. He was fined $40.00 and sentenced to six months in jail. He served 4 1/2 months of the sentence.
1983 1988 Special Assignment/Chancery St. Paul MN

pro tem

At the time of his removal from ministry in 2002, Gustafson was, among other things, doing research for the archdiocese and working as an aide to administrators, per news reports.

In 1988 Bishop Carlson wrote to Archbishop Roach that Gustafson was also inclined toward "some inappropriate sexual acting out" with late adolescent girls.
1983 1988 St. Matthew's St. Paul MN associate priest This assignment is per the archdiocese in Dec. 2013.
    Catholic Charities St. Paul MN   This assignment is per news reports.


St. Paul and Minneapolis archbishop was Harry Joseph Flynn (1995-2008)

2002 St. Peter's Mendota MN 2/2, 3/3, 2/3

In residence
St. Peter's had a religious education program with 579-333 students.
  2002 Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute, St. John's Abbey and University Collegeville MN board member

This assignment is per news reports. Gustafson gave talks as an expert on sex abuse to Catholic and Protestant clergy groups. Archbishop Flynn stated that Gustafson's work was making "a contribution to the Church and to society".

  2002 Poor Clares Monastery Bloomington MN chaplain

This assignment is per news reports.

Gustafson is not indexed beyond the 2002 Directory.

He was removed from ministry in June 2002 after the U.S. Bishops Conference developed a "zero tolerance" policy.


John Clayton Nienstedt succeeded Flynn

2011     MN  

In 2007 Gustafson was reported by a news outlet as "on leave" and receiving a stipend from the Church.

A Gil Gustafson is shown on the website for the Visitation Monastery in Minneapolis as having been involved in a 2010-2011 leadership training program.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1978-2002)

Church Not Ignoring Abuse, Flynn Tells Local Catholics By Stephen Scott, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, May 24, 2002
Parents of Abused Man Seek Justice, By Rick Linsk, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, May 26, 2002
Accused Minnesota Priests Still Working, By Rick Linsk and Charles Laszewski, Pioneer Press, May 26, 2002
Twin Cities: Catholics Take First Steps to Implement Abuse Policy, By Stephen Scott, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, June 22, 2002
Statement of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in Response to Mr. Jeffrey Anderson's Press Conference of Thursday, October 17, PR Newswire, October 17, 2002
Woman Seeks Sex-Abuse Settlement with Archdiocese, By Pam Louwagie, Star Tribune, October 18, 2002
Suit: Archdiocese Ejected Abuse Talks, Woman Who Says She Was Molested As Child Says Flynn Rejected Negotiations Proposal, By Warren Wolfe, Star Tribune, November 26, 2002
Woman Settles Sex-Abuse Lawsuit against Archdiocese, By Bob von Sternberg, Star Tribune, October 6, 2005
Archdiocese Settles Abuse Claim, Woman Also Wins Rare Apology from Church, By Steve Scott, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, October 6, 2005
Sins of Thy Neighbor, By Trish Van Pilsum, My Fox Twin Cities [Minnesota], February 1, 2007
Visitation Monastery of Minneapolis website
St. Paul & Minneapolis List of Credibly Accused Priests, released Dec. 3, 2013

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Gustafson's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Dec. 8, 2013