Published March 20, 2024

Former Pastor Sentenced for Theft from Church

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan

Gullickson Ordered to Repay, Additional Jail Time

WASHBURN – Erin Gullickson, 49, Benedict, will serve another seven months in the McLean County Jail, followed by three years of supervised probation. Gullickson, the former pastor at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Max, was found guilty by jury trial of theft of property on January 30 of this year. Court documents show she secretly diverted nearly $82,000 in church funds for her own use.

An audit and investigation in early 2023 revealed Gullickson spent $79,968 purchasing home decor, clothing, furniture, shoes, jewelry, cash withdrawals, and an overseas vacation. Church money taken surreptitiously included $40,304 in certificates of deposit which investigators say Gullickson spent within six months.

The theft began June 1, 2016, and continued until February 14, 2023. Purchases on a debit card unknown to the church removed funds from a Church Youth League account.

South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland presided over Gullickson’s sentencing hearing Wednesday. Citing Gullickson’s abuse of public trust, she handed down the maximum 10-year sentence allowed on the felony B theft of property charge, suspending all but an additional seven months behind bars, three years' probation, and ordered full restitution to be paid by the end of Gullickson’s probationary period.

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