Ryan J. Muehlhauser, 55, Cambridge, was charged with eight counts of felony fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct-clergy-meet religious advice in front of Judge Hunter P. Anderson at the Isanti County Government Center Nov. 6.
Muehlhauser, a senior pastor at Lakeside Christian Church within Isanti Township, was taken into custody at the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 4, after complaints were received by two separate young adult males, according to the criminal complaints.
Conduct with the first male, leading to seven felony counts, occurred on separate occasions from Oct. 1, 2010 through Oct. 31, 2012. Conduct, leading to one felony count, with another young adult male was reported to have occurred on or about March 1, 2012 through Nov. 4.
With a low bail score of only 12, Isanti County Assistant Attorney Stacy St. George reminded the court that it is normal for those charged with criminal sexual conduct to have a low bail score because it is usually their first offense.
“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 prayed 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 him, they trusted him with their most deepest and vulnerable feelings, and he used that power to sexual abuse them for upwards of two years,” said St. George.
Bail was set in the amount of $50,000 conditional and $20,000 conditional with the following conditions: submission of a baseline urine analysis before release, no possession of mood-altering substance or alcohol if test is positive, subjection to random testing, no possession of firearms, no contact with the victims, that he report to probation within 24 hours of release, follow all conditions of release, remain generally law abiding, make all future court appearances and stay within the state of Minnesota.
If found guilty, Muehlhauser faces up to a $20,000 fine and 10 years in prison on each count. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2012.
Look to the Nov. 9 print edition for the full story.