Priest Accused Of Sexual Assault

Priest Accused Of Sexual Assault Click to Enlarge Photo: Stearns County Jail

(KNSI/AP) - Police have arrested a 51-year-old priest from the Diocese of St. Cloud on sexual assault charges.

St. Cloud police say they began investigating Anthony Joseph Oelrich, of St. Cloud, last year after a woman said she had a sexual relationship with him in 2013 and 2014.

The victim told authorities she began seeing Oelrich for spiritual guidance due to a previous relationship in which she was sexually abused.

State law prohibits a member of the clergy from engaging in a sexual relationship with someone under their guidance.

According to the criminal complaint, Oelrich and the victim engaged in sexual contact on several occasions, including at the rectory, where they had dinner, played cards and then had sex.

He was arrested Tuesday and taken to the Stearns County Jail and is being held pending charges of felony 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct.

Oelrich worked at the Christ Church Newman Center on the St. Cloud State University campus.

He has also served at Sacred Heart Parish in Sauk Rapids and the Cathedral of St. Mary in St. Cloud.

Bishop Donald Kettler placed Oelrich on administrative leave and suspended him from acting as a priest pending the outcome of his case.

If anyone has any more information, or would like to talk with an investigator about similar situations, contact the St. Cloud Police Department at 320-251-1200.

Leave a comment