While Wayne is in Oklahoma countering one band of ex-gay hucksters, a pastor in Minnesota affiliated with an “ex-gay” group called Outpost Ministries is going to jail for sexually assaulting two men who were seeking spiritual leadership from him:
[Ryan Jay] Muehlhauser, 55, of Cambridge, had been an Isanti County pastor serving the community for more than 20 years when he was charged in November 2012 with eight counts of felony, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with two adult males seeking spiritual counsel.
Muehlhauser pleaded guilty to two of those counts Feb. 28. Under the plea agreement, Muehlhauser will serve 160 days in Isanti County Jail, remain on supervised probation for 10 years and register as a predatory offender. The other six counts were dismissed. Under state sentencing guidelines, a prison sentence can’t be ordered for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Muehlhauser had been serving as senior pastor at Lakeside Christian Church in Cambridge since January 2012. Prior to that he served as the church’s associate pastor for 22 years.
Muehlhauser previously admitted in court that he engaged in sexual contact with two adult males. He admitted the sexual contact with one of the victims took place throughout October 2012 inside the prayer cabin located on the church property while he was providing spiritual advice in his role as pastor. He admitted to placing his hands on the victim’s genital area and suggesting the victim fondle himself.
He also admitted the sexual contact with the second victim occurred from March 1, 2012 through Nov. 4, 2012. He admitted to feeling the victim’s genital area and calling the sexual encounters “blessings.” He said he committed these acts for his own sexual gratification.
The relations at issue surfaced when a counselor with Outpost Ministries — a group that assists individuals who “want to break away from the gay life,” according to its website — reported that two young men he was counseling advised him of sexual activity between them and Muehlhauser.
The judge did not have kind words for Muehlhauser, as he explained that he would much prefer to send him to jail for much longer:
“I’m pleased to hear you are showing remorse for these offenses,” McBride said. “If the state sentencing guidelines allowed, I would send you straight to prison without the blink of an eye. Sir, you are a criminal, and these are sexual criminal acts you performed. And what’s most egregious about this, is these were young men struggling with their own sexuality and spirituality and you took advantage of both. I can’t think of a more egregious offense than that.”
He’s right, but it’s important to point out that, even aside from sexual abuse, taking advantage of people struggling with their sexuality and spirituality is what ex-gay organizations do. The fact that Muehlhauser also sexually abused people just adds to the injury.