Rev. Thomas E. Ericksen

Summary of Case: A priest of the Superior, Wisconsin diocese, Ericksen was the subject of a lawsuit that settled in 1989, in which he was accused of sexually abusing four boys. He was said to have raped a 17-year-old boy and that boy's 8 to 9 year old cousin. Further, he was caught assaulting two boys in the rectory, one of whom was the younger cousin of the 17-year-old. Ericksen said in 2010 that he "just fondled and stuff like that," in regard to the three boys, but he denied involvement with a fourth boy. Ericksen was removed from the priesthood in 1988. He had moved to Minneapolis in 1983, then to Kansas City, MO in 2005, where he was still residing in July 2010. In July 2010 the Sawyer County, WI Police Department began a criminal investigation of the 1980s allegations. He was convicted in 2019 and sentenced in February 2020 to 30 years in prison. Reportedly in 2019, as many as 11 victims had come forward. A parole hearing was scheduled for April 2020.

: 1973
Laicized: 1988


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Superior bishop was George Albert Hamms (1960-1985)

1974 1201 Hughitt Ave. Superior WI This was the address for the Superior diocese. Ericksen was not found listed under Chancery positions.
1974 1975 St. Mary's Bruce WI 1/1  
1974 1975 St. Mary's Saynor WI   This was a mission of St. Mary's in Bruce.
1974 1975 St. Rita's Presque Isle WI   This was a mission of St. Mary's in Bruce.
1975 1976 Cathedral of Christ the King Superior WI   Ericksen is indexed as at the Cathedral in the 1976 Directory, but is not listed as there in the Superior diocesan pages.
1976 1977 Absent on Sick Leave        
1977 1978 St. Bridget's River Falls WI 3/3
In residence.
St. Bridget's had a school with 114 students.
1978 1979 St. Peter's Eagle River WI 2/2 St. Peter's had a school with 142 students.
1979 1982 Holy Cross Hospital Merrill WI chaplain  
1982 1983 St. Peter's


Ericksen was accused in a 1980s lawsuit of having sexually abused an 8-9-year-old boy repeatedly during his time at St. Peter's, and for raping the boy's 17- year-old cousin. He is said to have been caught assaulting the younger boy along with another at the rectory the month after raping the 17-year-old.

WI 1/1 In a 2010 newspaper interview Ericksen admitted that he "just fondled and stuff like that". He also said "[The diocese] knew I had problems and they still moved me around."


Hamms was succeeded by Raphael Michael Fliss (1985-2007)

1987 Absent on Sick Leave        
1983 2005   Minneapolis MN  

Ericksen was removed from the priesthood in 1988. The Superior diocese settled with four Ericksen accusers in 1989 for several million dollars. Ericksen denied abusing a fourth child.

Ericksen moved to Minneapolis where he indicated on social networking sites that he worked in customer service for AT&T. He wrote also that he was a board member for "Lutherans Concerned", and a secretary/board member for the Sons of Norway.

2005  2010   Kansas City MO  

Ericksen moved to Kansas City in 2005, where he became a Census worker and volunteered for the Special Olympics. He was suspended from involvement in the Special Olympics in July 2010, when the organization learned of the sexual abuse accusations against him from his time as a priest.

Former Superior bishop Fliss initially denied remembering in 2010 the allegations against Ericksen or the 1989 settlement.

In July 2010 the Sawyer County, WI Police Department agreed to criminally investigate claims that Ericksen sexually abused minors in the 1980s. Because Ericksen moved out of state, the clock stopped on the statute of limitations.

He "quietly" moved to Indonesia in 2010, returning to the U.S. in July 2013.  

Ericksen was convicted and sentenced in 2019 to 30 years in prison. Per information at his sentencing, as many as 11 victims had come forward.  A parole hearing was scheduled for April 2020. 


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1974-1987)

Former Superior Diocese Priest Accused of Rape, By Brandon Stahl, Duluth News Tribune, June 30, 2010
SNAP Calls for Fraud Investigation into Former Superior Bishop, By Brandon Stahl, Duluth News Tribune , June 30, 2010
Attorneys: Old Sex-abuse Prosecutions Tough but Possible, By Brandon Stahl, Duluth News Tribune , July 1, 2010
Special Olympics Suspends Former Superior Priest Because of Past Abuse Claims, By Brandon Stahl, Duluth News Tribune, July 14, 2010
Mo. Special Olympics Ousts Ex-Priest over Abuse, Associated Press, July 20, 2010
Former Abuser's Move to KC Sparks Anger, By Judy L. Thomas, Kansas City Star, July 20, 2010
Priest Ruling Could Affect Possible Ericksen Prosecution, Duluth News Tribune, July 21, 2010
Sawyer County Abuse Victim Wants Charges for Former Priest, By Jacob Kittilstad, Fox 21, July 21, 2010
Sentencing Concludes Long Road to Justice, By Anita Draper, Catholic Herald, November 14, 2019
Former Priest Sentenced to 30 Years for Molesting Boys Gets Parole Hearing after Seven Months, By Laura Schulte, Daily Herald,           February 20, 2020
Lapses Let Abusive Ex-priest Have Contact with Kids, By Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio, December 1, 2014




Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Ericksen's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on February 18, 2021.