The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.
Erin Gullickson, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Meta, North Dakota, was convicted last week of stealing $80,000 from the church.
A 12-person jury returned a verdict of guilty Tuesday afternoon in the Theft of Property trial of Erin Gullickson, 48, Benedict.
Gullickson was charged in early May 2023 with taking nearly $80,000 in funds from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Max where she served as reverend. Her involvement included moving $40,000 in church certificates of deposit to an account for her own use and secreting church donations, including checks placed in offering plates, in an account unknown to the church.
Purchases by Gullickson using church funds included personal items, home furnishings, clothing, jewelry, and a vacation in Italy. Gullickson began depositing and removing funds from a church Youth League account in 2016, an account that she opened without the church’s knowledge. Investigation revealed that $77,310.85 was deposited in the Youth League account until it was discovered and frozen in February 2023. At that time, the balance was $570.10.
The trial was brief, starting on Monday and ending Tuesday afternoon. The class B felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set pending a presentence investigation by order of South-Central District Judge Cynthia Feland.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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