A former priest of the Diocese of Superior has been arrested in Minneapolis on sexual assault charges allegedly committed during the 1980s when he was a priest.
Felony charges of first-degree sexual assault of a child, second-degree assault of an unconscious victim and second-degree sexual assault of a child were filed in Sawyer County on Nov. 16 against 71-year-old Thomas Erickson, who served in the diocese beginning in 1973. He was permanently removed from the priesthood in 1988.
The assault allegedly occurred when Erickson was pastor from 1982 to 83 at St. Peter, Winter.
He was arrested in Minneapolis last week.
Bishop comments on arrest
A statement from Bishop James P. Powers, of the Diocese of Superior, regarding the arrest of former priest Thomas Ericksen on sexual abuse charges:
“As Bishop, I share the sentiments of sadness, anger, and pain with the victims of recently arrested Thomas Ericksen.
Mr. Ericksen was appropriately laicized from the priesthood by the Vatican in 1988, after a formal process. Bishop Fliss had removed former Fr. Ericksen from active priestly ministry in 1983 as a result of credible allegations of sexual abuse of minor boys.
I want to thank Fr. Jerome D’Souza, the parochial administrator of our Winter – Radisson cluster, for his genuine apology this past weekend, on behalf of the Church, to the innocent victims and parishioners who now have to relive the horrific sins and crimes.
As I have said before, I am committed to a “no cover-up” policy regarding Church abuse complaints. I have begun the process of reviewing priest personnel files, and am praying for wisdom as we move forward together to heal our Church from the abuses of the past.
Please join me in prayer for the victims of Thomas Ericksen. Please pray for me as I discern appropriate future actions for our diocese, and please pray for our currently serving priests and deacons who are faithfully serving us all during these troubled times.”