Former priest sentenced to 30 years for molesting boys gets parole hearing after seven months

Daily Herald

February 20, 2020

By Laura Schulte

Hayward – A former Northwoods priest convicted of sexually assaulting boys could be released on parole less than a year after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Thomas Ericksen will go before the Wisconsin Parole Commission in April, according to a letter the state Department of Corrections sent to one of his victims, who shared it with the Wausau Daily Herald. The hearing doesn’t mean Ericksen will be released, only that he is eligible for parole.

The Parole Commission will take into consideration statements from victims about how Ericksen’s crimes affected them and their feelings about whether he should be released early, the letter said.

Steve Weix, a Merrill educator, was one of the first victims to go to investigators a decade ago, and was the first to reach out to the Daily Herald about the former priest. Weix said he plans to respond to the potential parole and let it be known that Ericksen shouldn’t walk free this soon.

He said he’s shocked the letter arrived so soon.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “A lot of people just spent 10 years trying to get him convicted, and it finally happened in September. Now they’re already looking at paroling him in April? It doesn’t make any sense.”

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