Former Omaha Chancellor Confesses to Stealing Over $100,000

A former chancellor for the Roman Catholic Church’s Archdiocese of Omaha has been charged with a new count of theft after he admitted to stealing money from the church to give to a homeless man.

During an police interview in September 2021, Rev. Michael Gutgsell admitted to taking $106,000 from his former parish St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Springfield, Neb. The archdiocese announced Gutgsell’s resignation in August, 2021 after a routine audit uncovered his theft.

Gutgsell was arrested in October 2021 and was first charged with attempted theft and abuse of a vulnerable adult. Gutgsell was assigned power of attorney to take care of retired Omaha priest Theodore Richling. Richling had been accused of several accounts of sexual misconduct with minors. In 2020, the archdiocese investigated the claims and found them to be true. Richling was also suffering from Alzheimer’s and passed away in December 2019. Gutgsell admitted to stealing $180,000 from Richling’s bank accounts while he was caring for him.

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