July 8, 2020
STATEMENT FROM BISHOP DONALD KETTLER RE: SENTENCING OF FR. ANTHONY OELRICH
The following is a statement from St. Cloud Bishop Donald Kettler:
“Father Anthony Oelrich, who pleaded guilty last November to criminal sexual conduct with an adult woman, was sentenced today to 41 months in prison.
“To the victim/survivor, I am so sorry for the harm, abuse and violation of trust that you suffered because of these reprehensible acts, and I apologize on behalf of the church. I apologize, too, to everyone in the community and the diocese who has been hurt in any way by Father Oelrich. I hope that today’s sentencing and the justice it brings is a step toward healing. I am committed to assisting in this healing process.
“Father Oelrich’s priestly faculties remain suspended, meaning he cannot function or present himself as a priest. A final decision about his status in the diocese and in the Church will be made in the future.
“I am grateful for the work of our civil authorities to ensure fairness and justice. The diocese cooperated throughout this process. I waited until today to make a statement about the case, not out of a lack of concern, but because I didn’t want to interfere in any way, or create any appearance of interfering, with the legal proceedings, including today’s sentencing.
“I again encourage anyone who has suffered abuse to report it to local law enforcement. Survivors of clergy sexual abuse may also contact the diocese’s victim assistance coordinator or victim advocates for support and access to resources for healing. Information is available on the diocese’s website at http://stcdio.org/about/accountability.”