St. Cloud Priest Accused of Sexual Misconduct With Adult Woman
ST. CLOUD -- A St. Cloud Priest is charged with 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct while acting as clergy and providing ongoing spiritual advice. Fifty-one-year-old Father Anthony Oelrich is a pastor at Christ Church Newman Center and has been put on administrative leave and suspended of his priestly duties by the Diocese of St. Cloud.
The St. Cloud Police Department began investigating after an adult woman came forward in December alleging a number of sexual encounters in late 2013 and early 2014.
The woman told investigators she began seeing Father Oelrich for spiritual guidance following a sexually abusive relationship. The abuse came to light during confession in December 2013.
According to the criminal complaint, the woman said she was suicidal and Father Oelrich offered to console her whenever she needed to talk about it.
The woman said Oelrich began having her touch him sexually and the counseling sessions grew into intercourse in the early part of 2014. The woman said she was having sex with Oelrich and also continued to see him for confession during that time.
St. Cloud Police arrested Oelrich Tuesday and he's due to make his initial appearance in Stearns County District Court Wednesday morning.
According to a statement from Bishop Donald Kettler, an administrator has been appointed for the parish, as Oelrich has been removed as pastor.
Bishop Kettler encourages all victims of abuse to come forward.