The Roys Report [Chicago IL]
January 9, 2023
By Sarah Einselen
The former assistant pastor of a rural Minnesota church will spend about a month in jail after pleading guilty to molesting a girl in his youth group.
Sean Patrick Masopust, 33, was sentenced Thursday to 30 days’ confinement and 10 years of probation after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct, a fourth-degree felony, according to Minnesota court records.
Masopust will be allowed to attend sex offender programming and is eligible for work release, his court record shows. If he does not successfully complete probation, he could go back to jail for 18 months.
Meanwhile, the survivor of Masopust’s crime is confronting leaders of the Assemblies of God (AOG) for allegedly supporting Masopust and “coddling” those who covered up his crime.
In a victim impact statement read during the sentencing last week, Masopust’s victim Katie Morgan wrote, “(AOG leaders) decided to give Sean a severance pay, allowed him to keep living in the home the church provided for free, and coddled the people who covered this up the whole way.”
Previously, The Roys Report (TRR) withheld Morgan’s identity at her request, due to the nature of the crime. However, she told TRR after Masopust’s sentencing that she’s ready to reveal her identity now.
Mark Dean, superintendent for the Minnesota District Council of the AOG, did not respond when TRR asked for comment on Morgan’s statement.
However, Dean replied to an earlier inquiry from TRR, saying that he couldn’t comment on court proceedings the district was not involved in or on specific victim issues.
“The District’s policy is to extend compassionate care to anyone who requests it,” Dean wrote in an email to TRR.
Masopust admits actions were “absolutely wrong”
An attorney for Masopust didn’t immediately respond to a message left seeking comment. The Owatonna People’s Press reported Masopust acknowledged in court that what he did “was absolutely wrong” and said he is committed to becoming a better person.
Authorities arrested Masopust in February 2021 after a woman told police he had groped her three years before, The Roys Report (TRR) previously reported.
At the time of the assault, the woman, Katie Morgan, was 17 and part of the youth group at Northridge Church in Owatonna, Minnesota, where Masopust worked.
The church fired Masopust in 2018 shortly after misconduct allegations first surfaced. No police report was filed at that time.
Former church members previously alleged Masopust’s father-in-law, the church’s former senior pastor, Mark Perryman, tried to cover up Masopust’s misconduct.
Police got involved in late 2020 after Morgan contacted the Minnesota District Council of the Assemblies of God (AOG). A district representative reported her allegations to police, TRR reported last year.
Previously, Northridge had also employed Masopust’s wife, Felicia Masopust, as its youth pastor, and Perryman’s wife, Tammy Perryman, as director of its daycare.
AOG Superintendent Mark Dean told TRR that Masopust, his wife, and his in-laws are no longer employed by any AOG churches in the district.
‘I am a survivor’
In her impact statement, Morgan wrote, “It is my turn to tell my story and be heard. I will no longer be known as the victim of a youth pastor who groomed his student. I am a survivor and I will act as so.”
Morgan added that she had been told for four years that what happened to her was her fault—but she now understands that it wasn’t.
“I should never have been put in a position to respond to an inappropriate message,” Morgan wrote. “I should never have had to ask Sean to not try to put his hand in my pants or try to take my shirt off. I should not have had to even think about telling him no. . . . Sean Masopust groomed and abused me.”
Morgan described how members of the youth group looked up to Masopust as an older brother, and he took advantage of that. As a result, she wrote, she struggles with relationships and her mental health has suffered.
“I am now no longer able to walk into a church without having a panic attack,” Morgan wrote. “It will take a lifetime to heal from the harm Sean caused me, but I know I will get there someday.”
Morgan also called on AOG state leadership to “do the right thing” the next time they receive information alleging abuse. She said they should not have supported her abuser by providing him severance and housing, but instead should have supported her.
Morgan said AOG leaders initially offered her therapy, but said she hasn’t heard from them since Masopust’s arrest last February.
“I pray that when a young woman sits in a room to tell you her story, you listen and act,” Morgan wrote. “I pray that woman will not feel targeted like I did. I pray you will stand up for her and let her know she is not alone in any of this. I pray that you not make her tell her story in a room full of men, and in front of the man, and his wife, that did the horrible act.”
Morgan also addressed Northridge Church, where she was born and raised, in her statement.
“I pray that the next time a situation like this occurs, you believe the victim,” she wrote. “I pray that they are not silenced and blamed, much like I have been. I pray that their parent is brought in and made aware of what has happened to their child.”
New pastor responds to sentencing
Northridge’s new pastor, Josh Geary, joined the staff on November 4, 2022. He declined to comment on Masopust’s sentencing other than to say “we’re praying for healing and restoration for everybody involved.”
Geary told TRR the church is doing “as good as can be expected” and is moving forward—“not dwelling on the past” but not ignoring it, either.
Morgan ended her statement with a message to Masopust.
“I pray that someday you will fully understand the pain and turmoil you have caused in so many people’s lives,” she wrote. “I hope that you will feel the full weight of the shame and guilt for the things you have done, and when that happens I hope you know that forgiveness is right around the corner. . . .
“I pray that your family and your friends will heal both spiritually as emotionally,” she added. “In the meantime, it is my turn to start healing.”
Julie Roys contributed to this report.