Ryan Muehlhauser, Cambridge pastor, allegedly sexually abused men seeking ex-gay therapy
Muehlhauser's church issued a statement expressing sadness about the allegations and asking any other victims to contact authorities.
Ryan Muehlhauser, the 55-year-old senior pastor at Lakeside Christian Church in Cambridge, faces eight felony counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly sexually assaulting two young men who were seeking ex-gay therapy.
Muehlhauser, a pastor at Lakeside since 1989, is accused of sexually assaulting the men at least eight times from 2010 through October 31 of this year.
The two alleged victims were taking counseling through Outpost Ministries, an organization that works with men and women trying to "break away from the gay lifestyle," according to its website.
One of the alleged victims met with authorities Nov. 4 and said Muehlhauser would minister and mentor him, and help him through his "homosexual tendencies."
[Victim one] said on multiple occasions Muehlhauser would place his hands on his genital area and call the sexual occurrences "blessings."...
On at least one occasion, Muehlhauser said he didn't want people to see [he and victim two together] because they wouldn't understand. Muehlhauser also said he would "lose everything" if anyone found out what they were doing together.
[Victim two] said he went along with the acts because Muehlhauser was his minister and spiritual advisor.
KARE provides more details about victim one's allegations:
Muehlhauser asked the victim to arouse himself in front of him and called it, the victim said, "spiritual strength."
The victim also reported that Muehlhauser would have him strip naked for more "spiritual guidance" and have him masturbate while Muehlhauser prayed over him.
After being arrested, charged, and making his first court appearance Tuesday, KARE reports that Muehlhauser posted bail and was back at home on Lakeside's property yesterday evening. His next court appearance is scheduled for December 12.
Each of the eight charges Muehlhauser faces carries a maximum of ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Assistant Isanti County Attorney Stacy St. George told the Isanti County News that prosecutors will seek a stiff penalty.
"Mr. Muehlhauser preyed on these young men during a time when they've been rejected by their friends, family and religion," St George said. "These young men trusted him with their deepest thoughts and vulnerable feelings and the defendant used his power to sexually abuse them for two years."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.