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Published January 31, 2024

Former Pastor Guilty of Theft 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
Erin Gullickson (Photo: submitted)
Erin Gullickson (Photo: submitted)

Funds Taken from Max Church 

WASHBURN – 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.  

According to an affidavit filed with the court, Gullickson told investigators that “I’ve worried about this for years” when questioned about the misuse of funds. 

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. 

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