Abusive priest list published, four in area named as ‘‘credibly accused’

River Falls Journal [Cannon Falls MN]

November 30, 2022

By Sam Fristed

Last week the Diocese of Superior released a list of 23 priests who have “credibly accused” of raping or sexually abusing children. Four priests in the Pierce and St. Croix county area were included on the list.

The four priests are Ryan Erickson of Hudson, Joseph Higgins of River Falls, Donald Dummer of River Falls and James Kraker of Hammond.

All have been removed from ministry. Three have died.

Erickson had a single allegation of abuse between 2000 and 2003 in Hudson. He was removed from the ministry in December 2004. He died in December 2004.

Higgins had a single allegation of abuse in the late 1960’s in River Falls. He was removed from the ministry in February 1974. He died in February 1974.

Dummer was a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). He was not a member of the Diocese of Superior but practiced in River Falls. He had a single allegation in 1986. 

Dummer was removed from the ministry in December 1986 and was laicized (dismissed from the clergy) in 2006. 

Kraker had multiple allegations of abuse from 1988 to 1998 in Hammond and Merrill. He was removed from the ministry in November 2001 and died in December 2013.

The Diocese of Superior Bishop James Powers released a statement about the allegations. He is aware most of the allegations are more than 30 years old but acknowledged the abuse.

“I wish we could go back in time and undo all of the hurt and pain, the sins of the past. But we cannot. What we can do is learn from the past and do everything in our power to never repeat the abuse,” he said.

The Diocese of Superior is located in Superior, Wisconsin. It covers 16 counties in northern Wisconsin and contains 103 parishes.

The list was assembled after an investigation by a Texas-based security firm. The firm has also investigated other Wisconsin dioceses.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is currently investigating abuse from faith leaders for other dioceses around the state. The investigation was launched by Attorney General Josh Kaul in 2021.

Sam Fristed