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Hudson priest convicted in theft

HUDSON, Wis. -- A Hudson priest charged with stealing more than $10,000 from a charity account at St. Patrick Church to feed a gambling habit has been convicted of theft.

HUDSON, Wis. -- A Hudson priest charged with stealing more than $10,000 from a charity account at St. Patrick Church to feed a gambling habit has been convicted of theft.

The Rev. Daniel J. Dahlberg, 68, made an initial appearance before Judge Eric J. Lundell on Thursday afternoon. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor theft count and was sentenced to probation for two years. Judgment on a no contest plea to one felony count of theft was deferred for two years.

Other conditions of the agreement included a no gambling stipulation, full restitution, 100 hours of community service and $137.50 court costs.

"The resolution was in the public interest," said District Attorney Eric Johnson, who prosecuted the case. "I spoke to many members at St. Patrick and there appeared to be a call for leniency."

"Sometimes good people do bad or dumb things," Johnson said. "A major factor was he paid restitution up front."

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Defense attorney James Remington said Dahlberg had completed a treatment program.

Johnson said the total amount of restitution was $13,000. The parish charity account involves funds to help needy families in confidence. Dahlberg had sole access to the fund and discretion for its distribution.

A felony theft charge was filed against Dahlberg on April 4. On March 20 church officials announced the priest would be leaving the parish. A letter distributed at the church said: "It is very likely that this misconduct is the result of a serious gambling addiction which has led to personal financial issues and impaired Father Dan's judgment."

Court records list Dahlberg's current address in Foxboro. He came to Hudson on July 1, 2009 with 43 years of experience. He served several congregations in the area including New Richmond form 1977-1984 and River Falls 1985-94.

Dahlberg was also the former rector of Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior.

The Superior Telegram contributed to this report.

Related Topics: CRIMESUPERIOR
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