ST. CLOUD -- A St. Cloud Priest has pleaded guilty to 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct after having a sexual relationship with a woman he was counseling.

Fifty-three-year-old Father Anthony Oelrich was put on administrative leave and suspended of his priestly duties at Christ Church Newman Center after the claims surfaced in December 2017.

The St. Cloud Police Department began investigating after the woman came forward 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.

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.

Oelrich will be sentenced in February.

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