October 06, 2005

Details paint disturbing picture of priest

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: Oct. 5, 2005
Hudson - Pornography, alcohol, weapons, animal cruelty and homicide - they're all in the court documents that portray a troubling portrait of a Catholic priest believed to be the killer of two men in a funeral home.

If what authorities say is true, then Ryan Erickson, who served this community for almost three years, was not the man most thought him to be.

The 31-year-old priest served hundreds of beers and shots of alcohol to teenage boys, kept pornographic pictures on his computer under the label "holy Mass prayers," sexually assaulted an altar boy as many as 10 times and carried a handgun in his car, according to testimony and documents released this week.

He also pointed a gun out a church window at people he didn't like, beat his dog, drank so much alcohol another priest requested Erickson be transferred from the parish and placed firecrackers in the mouths of fish and watched them blow up, according to police documents.

Erickson hanged himself last December three days after authorities seized his computer and questioned him in the killings.

During the years he spent in a Minnesota seminary and in Wisconsin parishes as a priest, psychological and alcohol evaluations were ordered of Erickson, who was accused of sexually assaulting a minor at a Vilas County resort in 1992. The Vilas County district attorney decided not to charge Erickson; a county investigator later told officials that although he felt a crime may have occurred, it would have been difficult to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Posted by kshaw at October 6, 2005 10:12 AM