A 69-year-old man has been accused of sexually molesting boys for decades at his Nisswa home, it was learned Wednesday.
Brainerd Police Investigator Chad Kleffman interviewed four victims, now adults, who said the suspect, Thomas Richard Erickson, repeatedly sexually assaulted them when they were young and staying at his house. The ages of the victims at the time of the assaults ranged from 6-14 years old.
When being interviewed by police before his arrest, Erickson admitted he had sexual contact with about 10 boys and that he was attracted to children.
Erickson was charged Friday in Crow Wing County District Court with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was released from jail on Monday after he posted a $150,000 bond.
Police believe there may be more victims.
“We’ve received information that’s led us to believe (Erickson) has been involved in community organizations that had him in immediate contact with boys of the age group,” McQuiston said. “What we see a lot of times in cases like this is a reluctance to come forward, or the victim is traumatized. We’re most concerned that there may be more victims and we want those people to contact us or the sheriff’s department.”
The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department jointly investigated the case with the Brainerd Police Department.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Erickson:
• On Aug. 11, Kleffman met with a victim, now 28 years old, who said when he was in the second grade he and several other young boys would spend time at Erickson’s house on Crow Wing County Road 13 in Nisswa because Erickson had “all sorts of fun things for the boys to do — drive cars, shoot BB guns, play in tree forts, etc.”
The victim said there were times when he was alone with Erickson and slept with Erickson in his bed, at which time inappropriate sexual contact took place.
The victim said more than 20 incidents of sexual abuse took place from the time he was in second grade through the time he was in sixth grade. The victim gave Kleffman the names of several other boys Erickson may have abused.
• On Aug. 16 Kleffman spoke with another victim, now 48 years old, who said when he was 7 or 8 years old Erickson let him and several other young boys play on his property, which at the time was located by a hockey camp in Nisswa.
The victim said there were several times he slept overnight at Erickson’s residence, next to Erickson in Erickson’s bed. The victim said the sexual abuse included inappropriate touching. He also said Erickson took nude photos of him.
The victim estimated there were more than 50 incidents of sexual abuse over a three- to five-year period.
• On Aug. 19, Kleffman interviewed a third victim, now 57, who described an incident that took place at Erickson’s residence when he was about 6 or 7 years old. The victim said while camping with Erickson in Erickson’s driveway there was inappropriate contact.
• On Aug. 23, Kleffman took a statement from a fourth victim, now 21 years old, who said he spent a significant amount of time at Erickson’s residence between the ages of 7 and 14 and routinely slept overnight with Erickson in his bed. The victim remembers waking up on several occasions without his pants on. Though he didn’t remember specific incidents of sexual abuse, the victim said Erickson took pictures of him while he was naked.
• On Aug. 24 Kleffman interviewed Erickson, who acknowledged having several boys spend time at his residence over the years. He also acknowledged sexually abusing the victims Kleffman interviewed.
Erickson estimated he had sexual contact with about 10 boys altogether and that he was sexually attracted to children.
• Kleffman confirmed that none of these incidents had been reported to law enforcement previously and that no investigation had been conducted in the past.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with additional information related to Erickson is asked to call the Brainerd Police Department at 829-2805 or the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department at 829-4749.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.