81-year-old man charged with a felony after reportedly stalking LDS church leader - East Idaho News
Crime Watch

81-year-old man charged with a felony after reportedly stalking LDS church leader

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IDAHO FALLS – A local man was arrested Sunday after he reportedly stalked and harassed the leader of a Latter-day Saint congregation multiple times.

Victor Otto Erickson, 81, was charged with felony first-degree stalking.

On Sunday, Dec. 31, around 8:32 a.m., Idaho Falls Police were called to a reported trespass at an unspecified chapel in Idaho Falls owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

According to court documents, Erickson has “not only been trespassed from this church but every LDS church in the nearby area.”

The police report states a civil protection order was already in place for the victim against Erickson, which expires in September 2025.

When officers arrived, the victim said members of his congregation alerted him Erickson had entered the building and was hiding in the bathroom.

The victim and another church leader confronted Erickson, who reportedly gave them a plastic yellow shovel about 12 inches long and two handwritten cards.

One of the cards read, “Revelations 20:12 Keep Digging.”

The other one read, “Arrest and prosecute me, you dimwitted spiritual buffoon!!”

According to police reports, Erickson had given the men handwritten cards before.

Exactly one week before on Dec. 24, Erickson allegedly tried to give them handwritten cards with similar phrases. That time, the victim stated he did not want to press charges because it was the day before Christmas.

During that incident, Erickson told law enforcement he stalked the victim to “follow the spiritual law” and indicated that “as long as he followed spiritual law, he could disregard state and federal laws.”

Officers told Erickson on the 24th that if he returned to the church, he would be charged with felony first-degree stalking. Erickson replied he would “see (the officers) next week.”

During the incident on Sunday, Dec 31, officers told him he was under arrest due to the harassment of the victim, trespassing multiple times and numerous violations of the civil protection order.

Erickson was then handcuffed, put into the backseat of a police car, and transported to the Bonneville County Jail.

According to court documents, Erickson reportedly blamed the victim for the stalking, saying law enforcement was being influenced by him and the “power (the victim) had.”

Once at the jail, Erickson allegedly told officers that the victim “would face the consequences of these actions against him” and said once he is released, he will continue to stalk him.

An officer says in the police report, “it is clear (Erickson) would violate both state and federal laws to fulfill his ‘spiritual law.'”

The officer also says it is clear Erickson has “no desire to stop these acts against (the victim).”

Erickson was booked into the Bonneville County Jail with a bond of $25,000. He is expected to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 12.

If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.

Though Erickson has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.