,A former Catholic clergyman, Thomas E. Ericksen, 72, who served as a parish priest in the Village of Winter in the early 1980s was sentenced on Thursday, Sept. 26 to 30 years in prison for sexual abuse of boys while he served as a priest in the village.
For one count of first-degree of sexual assault against a child, Ashland County Circuit Judge Kelly McKnight ordered a 20-year sentence.
For one count of second-degree sexual assault against a child, McKnight issued a 10-year sentence.
McKnight ordered the two sentences to be served “consecutively,” meaning Ericksen will have to serve out the 20-year sentence before he has to serve the 10-year sentence.
Because of his age at 72, McKnight told Ericksen the 30 years of prison confinement is essentially a life sentence.
Two other charges against Ericksen – both second-degree sexual assault/unconscious victim — were dismissed but read in for sentencing.
Ericksen also had previously provided “factual admission” to two other “uncharged counts” from Lincoln County where Ericksen had served in 1982 as a hospital chaplain in the City of Merrill. The two uncharged offenses were also read in for sentencing.
As part of victim testimony, four men told how the sexual abuse they had suffered from Erickson over 30 years ago had negatively impacted their lives. A couple of the men said they had forgiven Ericksen, but there were also requests for the judge to deliver the maximum sentence, which he did.