This week, Rev. Anthony Oelrich was charged third-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a woman he was counseling. Oelrich was placed on administrative leave from serving as director of Continuing Education for Clergy in the St. Cloud Diocese and pastor of Christ Church Newman Center Catholic Student Community in St. Cloud.
Investigators met with Oelrich while looking into the woman’s allegations of abuse in her previous relationship. Oelrich said he was aware of the abuse but couldn’t disclose details, citing the privilege of confession. In covertly recorded conversations, investigators said Oelrich acknowledged he had a “boundary violation” with the woman.
Oelrich has also served at Sacred Heart Parish in Sauk Rapids and the Cathedral of St. Mary in St. Cloud.
Oelrich has worked at the Newman Center since 2007 and is the director of continuing education for clergy in the diocese. Oelrich is a Milaca native and has served in the diocese for more than 20 years.
In 2014, parishioners of St. Mary’s, St. Augustine’s and the Newman Center, then a parish cluster, received a written notice that Oelrich was taking “voluntary leave for ‘depression, anxiety, and stress.’”
He went to the Saint Luke Institute, a Catholic treatment center that provides mental health services for priests, deacons and members of religious communities.
He returned to St. Cloud in June 2015. He was named priest of the Newman Center in July 2015, when the diocese made it a stand-alone parish.
The St. Cloud Police Department is urging anyone with more information or who would like to report a similar situation to call them at 320-251-1200.
Abuse of children and adults and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.