Anti-Gay Pastor Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Two Men

Everything that one tries to hide in darkness will eventually be brought to light. We know this all too well. Call it karma. Call it whatever you like. But whatever it is, it isn’t good news for Reverend Ryan J. Muehlhauser of Cambridge, Minnesota. He recently had his dirty laundry unwillingly displayed to everyone in his community and congregation. He was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting two young adult males over the period of two years. Want to know his self-proclaimed area of expertise? Why, of course, it was helping those with same-sex attraction overcome their homosexual desires!

Muehlhauser was also a counselor with a company called Outpost Ministries. Their website claims to help men and women “break away from gay life”. Innumerable atrocities have been drudged up in lieu of this tragedy. Most evidently, of course, are the emotional wounds inflicted on the two victims. These men were seeking help from someone they deemed as a trusted individual. I cannot imagine the confusion they must have felt when introduced to Muehlhauser’s “therapy” methods. Here is an excerpt from the criminal complaint, as reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

One of the men told investigators that Muehlhauser “blessed” him by cupping his genitals outside of his clothing several times and that Muehlhauser asked the man to masturbate in front of him for “spiritual strength.” Muehlhauser would also fondle the man at times. Their encounters occurred over a period of nearly two years.

Another man told investigators of similar encounters spanning most of this year, adding that Muehlhauser feared he would “lose everything” if anyone found out. At one encounter, Muehlhauser fondled the man and then the two joined the pastor’s wife for a dinner outing.

The assaults of the two men occurred at the church, its prayer cabin and at a home belonging to a relative of one of the victims. The criminal complaint made a point to note that “consent by the complainant is not a defense,” given Muehlhauser is a clergy member.

Muehlhauser was a senior pastor at Lakeside Christian Church. He was taken into custody on November 4th. If convicted, he could spend up to 10 years in prison for each charge, and face a fine of $20,000.

Isanti County Assistant Attorney Stacy St. George adequately issued the following statement, as reported by The County Star:

“There is nothing more predatory than taking two individuals whose faith and whose trust is put into their minister and their spiritual leader and then abusing them in the name of the Lord. The very predatory nature is what makes Mr. Muehlhauser dangerous to the public. He preyed on the vulnerability of these men who are so confused and have turned to him in a time that they have been rejected by their family, their friends and by their religion. They asked him to assist them, they trusted him with their most deepest and vulnerable feelings, and he used that power to sexually abuse them for upwards of two years.”

Nothing depresses me more than cruelties like this. It saddens me because it is so unnecessary. If the two young men who were victimized were celebrated in their spiritual community rather than shunned, they would have no reason to seek counseling for the purpose of “curing” their sexuality. Reparative therapy is damaging; the research simply just doesn’t hold up. According to the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association, same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality. This has been the official and scientific stance since 1973 when they declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. Any licensed counselor who tells you otherwise is practicing far outside of their ethical boundaries. California governor Jerry Brown passed a bill just this past September which prohibits children and teenagers from participating in any type of conversion therapy. It is my desperate hope that this trend continues to be a reality for our remaining states.

What are your thoughts on this case? Is the lack of education within our churches an indirect cause of crimes such as these? What if those with same-sex attraction weren’t shamed into hiding? What if all Christians had opportunities to discuss homosexual issues from a loving, non-judgmental perspective? I think we’d have a lot less Ted Haggards, George Rekers, or well… any of the guys on this list.

5 responses to “Anti-Gay Pastor Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Two Men

  1. This pastor had no right to do this to these young man. I dont understand why so many people complain on how God created them. If I were gay I would be okay with it because one thing that is always in my mind is would God really mess up the one creation he made the whole world for. I mean he created the whole world so humans can be able to live comfortably but would he really screw up on his main creation? I dont think so God creates people a certain way for a reason and with a purpose. I think some people hide their sexual orientation not in fear of God but in fear of how people around them would react and I understand since even though we are in a century of acceptance some people dont accept the thought that someone related to them is gay. I personally dont think so I just accept people for who they are not what they are. Ever since I started supporting my gay friends and either sharing posts from this site I have been called into meetings to speak to my bishop and other church leaders about basically homosexuality. I was “recommended” to go to therapy since its not “normal to be so supportive about this cause”. I have so far turn down the multiple requests and have lost my leadership position and basically as my friends say it “Ive been excluded from church”. I dont feel bad about this because no matter what I know that I am doing something right and the only one to judge me will be God. Even though its been a while since I have been at a church (still searching for one) I constantly maintain the relationship I have with God and that keeps me happy and sane. Thank you Mandy for all your post and for your site!

    • I really appreciate what Brenda has shared. It is sad that Brenda’s mere support and love to a group of people who are different, who are ridiculed, who are misunderstood would cause others to question Brenda’s heart and integrity. Nobody questioned Jesus when he touched the untouchable, loved the unlovable, spent time with the criminals, and had meet ups with the social unacceptables…..oh wait, people did question Jesus. They were called Pharisees and they were called his disciples. Sorry if I have a tone of bitterness. This is my current downfall. As a follower of Christ I am working hard at loving those who are not willing to listen to the stories and to the hearts of those who are LGBT and others. I’m fortunate that my church’s leadership has shown kindness toward me as I have been open and honest with them (No abuse, like the article above portrays). A few of them have listened to new insights and one of them has indulged into some study with these new insights in mind, however they still land on the side of “one man, one woman” for marriage and I’ve been asked to not “promote the gay life-style.” I am to be publicly silent on the matter. I respect my church leadership and will honor their wishes. But even though we can still worship and serve God together despite our differences, I can not ignore the pain. There is no resolution. As a Christian I support the union of same-sex couples but as an individual I cannot allow myself that possibility. I don’t wish to leave the church family that I love, but when asked “How’s your love life?” What am I to say? When asked, “How’s things going for you?” How can I be real? When people make anti-homosexual comments. How can I educate them? I can’t.
      So, that is where I’m at. A church family who I love. A church family who loves me. And no resolution. I’m still “sexually pure” but still “sexually tormented,” (meaning, what am I suppose to do as an individual as my sexuality itself is considered sinful?). Therefor, I continue to seek the Lord in all I do, and work very hard at being patient, showing compassion towards the leadership, trying not to beat myself up, and praying that I can maintain the fruits of the spirit by the grace of God.

      One more thing….in defense of my church leadership. They really, truly want to make sure that I am not misguided and that I stay close to God and that I don’t fall to sexual temptation that is not of God. I respect that. But I think that is the ultimate dilemma all around. There are genuine hearts that stand on both sides.
      So may God help us all discern what is pure and pleasing and above all, learn how to love each other no mater where we stand.

      Feels good to be real on this website.

  2. I have to say, our first step overall in these matters is the ability to talk about these things with out judgment or trial. With friends, family members, coworkers, or churches. There is such an automatic fear set so deep with in the hearts of many individuals young and old like myself, that even our closest are real lucky to know the “real” us. The immediate judgments, comments, negative actions, and plain ignorance is astounding! I grew up in the churches pretty strong and I have to say, I never told a living soul about myself to any of my church family until way later in years. Now I’m strong enough to handle the reactions and have my own thoughts and confidences about it, but then it would have tore me apart to know the way they treat me now. I can’t imagine the pain these boys went through, but I do have to say anyone can be a preacher, pasture, or speak about the bible. It takes a real open heart of God and spiritual strength to be of the church and still love others regardless of their origin, sex, color, race, history, sexuality, age, or whatever else the scriptures can pull out of the “woodwork” to disregard faith.

  3. Lots of good conversation going on here! I’m so very thankful for each of you who share your stories. When I feel defeated, unloved, or alone, it’s helps to know that other people have been there, too.

    @Brenda… I’m so sorry you’ve had to put up with so much condemnation from your church leaders. To be told “it’s not normal” to be so supportive of this cause is unthinkable. It’s not normal to want tolerance? To want love for outcasts? To support equality? I know I speak for all of your gay friends when I say THANK YOU for being an ally. It’s just as difficult for straight allies to “come out of the closet” as it is for everyone in the gay community. I think you are right on target when you say that people don’t hide their orientation for fear of God; they usually hide it because they’re afraid of what other people will say or think. I stayed in the closet for years, even after I became accepting of myself. It’s a tragedy that so much shame and self-hatred is brought on by “religious” people. Thank you for your encouragement!

    @Josha… You and I have talked quite a bit about the things going on in your life right now. I always appreciate your willingness to be open and be real. So many of us spend time in hiding—because it’s easier, or because we know what people would think—and it just feels awesome to have a small online community where we can share our stories and encourage one another. I think the difficult thing for me (when I’ve had to deal with situations similar to what you’re going through) is trying to understand where others are coming from. Such as, WHY do they find conversations about sexuality and religion so scary? Why can’t they see that we are really trying to follow God’s will? It’s hard for me to remember that they really DO think they’re doing the right thing by trying to change us. They honestly don’t believe that gay people can live within God’s will… so they are doing it because they care. But they do not realize it hurts us so deeply. They don’t understand how much thought and prayer and meditation and study and research have gone into our decisions. They don’t know how many hot and angry tears we’ve cried over the rejection from our spiritual peers. It’s a tough place to be. But I think you’re right on when you say that we need to learn to love each other no matter where we stand. And that, perhaps, is the biggest challenge for all of us.

    @Lena Rai… your thoughts reveal a lot of wisdom. I hope that one day I can be just as confident as you are. I’m confident about my beliefs, and very confident about my walk with God. But when it comes to what others say (to my face AND behind my back), I’m not very strong. It still feels like someone knocks the wind out of my lungs when I’m rejected. But one thing I’m learning… the quality of your life is greatly affected by those with whom you choose to spend your time. I wish I’d learned that lesson much sooner. Better late than never, I suppose. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Hello America! I’m glad people are starting to get it. This is the case with all of those scary “anti gay” ministers who turn God whom is a symbol of goodness into a monster who is vengeful(what the devil is actually supposed to be). Many ministers don’t understand their own sexuality and turn it into something out of hate and other bad emotions that we could all do without. This just proves that just because some people pressure others into believening what they think the world should agree with, that it is not always the case.

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