The deposed pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Hudson, Wis., has been charged with stealing more than $10,000 from a parish charity account to feed his gambling addiction.
The Rev. Daniel J. Dahlberg, 68, was charged Monday in St. Croix County Circuit Court with felony theft and was scheduled to return to court May 12.
When the thefts came to the attention of parish leaders last month, Dahlberg was removed as St. Patrick's pastor. He was replaced on an interim basis by the Rev. Gene Murphy.
The $10,800 was from a fund meant "to help needy families in confidence," church trustees told parishioners in a letter.
The trustees, Samuel Cari and Claire Zajac, said arrangements have been made for Dahlberg to repay the money, which was used for a gambling addiction that put him in financial trouble.
Dahlberg came to St. Patrick's in 2009. He had been vicar general of Wisconsin's Superior Diocese, the diocese's second-highest post, from 1998 until he stepped down in November. The move was not related to the alleged theft.
Several years ago, St. Patrick's parishioners were stunned when one of its priests was implicated in the 2002 murder of Hudson funeral director Daniel O' Connell and funeral home intern James Ellison. The Rev. Ryan Erickson hanged himself in 2004. Nearly a year later, a St. Croix County judge ruled Erickson likely was responsible for killing the two men and probably molested at least one teenage boy.