Priest Wants Some Evidence Dismissed

Priest Wants Some Evidence Dismissed Click to Enlarge Photo: Stearns County Jail

(KNSI/AP) - A priest in the Diocese of St. Cloud who is facing a sex crime charge wants some evidence disallowed at trial.

Rev. Anthony Joseph Oelrich was charged in February with third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Police say he had a sexual relationship with a woman who sought counseling from 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.

The 51-year-old's lawyer, Paul Engh, is challenging the admissibility of various pieces of evidence including statements made by Oelrich and Oelrich's medical and psychological records.

A hearing scheduled for Thursday has been moved to May 31st.

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

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

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

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