Convicted former priest arrested for probation violation

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A former Green Bay priest convicted of exposing genitals to a child has been arrested on a probation violation, according to jail records.

Richard L Thomas, 81, was arrested Jan. 29, according to the Brown County Inmate lookup website.

VINE, a website that alerts victims of crimes to offender movement, states that Thomas is in custody at the Brown County Jail.

Action 2 News is working to get information on the nature of the probation violation. The Department of Corrections provided this statement: Deputy Communications Director Clare Hendricks:

"Richard Thomas is in custody and is being investigated due to allegations he violated a condition of his extended supervision. Due to the ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment further.”

In 2016, Thomas pleaded no contest to two counts of Exposing Genitals/Pubic Area/Intimate Parts to a Child. He was found guilty and sentenced to four months in jail and three years on probation.

Conditions of probation include lifetime registry on the Wisconsin Sex Offender list and no contact with minors unless approved by the parole agent.

Thomas had exposed himself to a teenager while living at Grellinger Hall, a residence for retired priests.

Last November, Thomas was denied his request to relocate to a new home in Green Bay. A citizen board listened as Thomas cited his two-and-a-half years in therapy for the crimes he committed, hoping the board would grant him the move.

Thomas told the board, “My therapist said, you know, ‘I really believe now, you are not a danger, you are not a threat to anybody.’”

No updates were listed on Wisconsin's online court record system or the sex offender registry.

Again, Action 2 News has reached out to agencies for more information and we will update the story when we get it.

Thomas was one of the names released by the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay of clergy members with "substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor."

The Diocese says he was laicized--or removed from clerical state--in 2018.