“My boy is dead,” Herrity said. “Gustafson is getting paid.”
The family also sees the abuse as a factor in the struggles of Brian’s older brother, Jeff, who died in 2010 at age 45.
“People who say, ‘Move on,’ don’t have a clue how sexual abuse tears at a family,” said Herrity. “You cope. But the family suffers forever.”
The archdiocese paid for Brian’s therapy for a couple of years, Herrity said. A court settlement of $150,000 went into an account for Brian to tap at age 18. After paying the attorney, most of that money “went up his nose,” said his father, referring to his son’s drug use.
As Brian was dying from AIDS, Herrity said he met with the Rev. Kevin McDonough, the former vicar general who handled clergy abuse cases, to ask if the archdiocese could provide any financial help for the medical bills and hospice care. Instead, he said, McDonough “gave me a list of public social workers.”
Church supports priest
After Gustafson’s release from jail, then-Archbishop John Roach pressed for his return to active ministry.
“I want him back in a parish,” Roach wrote to McDonough in 1990. “He has received and complied with far more treatment than anyone else, and it seems to me he has done it well.”
While no parish assignment materialized, Gustafson was allowed to give presentations about his sex offenses and help out at the chancery and at Catholic Charities, according to a written summary of McDonough’s testimony in a 2004 lawsuit against Gustafson.McDonough has since become a central figure in the controversy over the archdiocese’s handling of sex abuse cases. In his 2004 testimony, McDonough estimated that Gustafson abused between four and 15 victims.
Scott Domeier, a former accounting director for the archdiocese now in prison for embezzling more than $600,000, said Gustafson was in a group of sexually abusive priests who were paid greater amounts than those paid to priests who were still active in ministry and in good standing. In Gustafson’s case, the church also paid for his education, travel, room and board and other expenses, at least until 2007, Domeier said.
According to accounting ledgers obtained by the Star Tribune, Gustafson received recurring checks of $600 each for room and board from 2003 to 2006. In November 2002, Gustafson shared a $6,209 education provision with the Rev. Michael Stevens, another priest removed from ministry for child sexual abuse, according to the documents.
Domeier, interviewed by phone at the state correctional facility in Faribault, said he asked McDonough more than once about Gustafson’s multiple sources of income.
“I was told it was transitional, to get him up and running in his own business,” Domeier said. “It didn’t seem fair to me.”
School leaders not informed
Gustafson’s hiring as a leadership consultant for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis in 2009 enraged some school supporters when his background became known after the fact.
The Rev. David Haschka, the school’s founding president, said he hired Gustafson based on a recommendation that he received after calling the chancery. Haschka remembered Gustafson’s criminal history but was assured by a priest personnel expert that Gustafson was safe, he said.
“As far as I knew, Mr. Gustafson had done everything he could do to straighten out his life and become a good citizen,” said Haschka, a Jesuit official who has handled clergy sexual abuse cases.
Haschka said he made sure Gustafson was escorted at all times but never disclosed to the team of school officials that Gustafson was a pedophile with multiple victims.