October 07, 2005

Church reforms ripped by abuse survivors group

The Capital Times

By Pat Schneider
October 7, 2005

The handling by Catholic Church officials of Ryan Erickson, the Wisconsin priest uncovered as an accused sex abuser during a criminal investigation that found him a likely double murderer, raises doubts about the church's much-touted reforms, says a leader in a national support group for victims of clergy abuse.

"Where was the review board that was supposed to investigate reports of sexual abuse by priests?" Peter Isely, Midwest coordinator for SNAP -- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests -- asked Thursday. "Why didn't they review this file?"

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 adopted a policy requiring all dioceses to establish lay boards, separate from the church administration, to review charges of clergy sexual misconduct.

A St. Croix County judge on Monday found a high probability that Erickson killed two men at a Hudson funeral home in 2002. The 31-year-old priest hanged himself last December, several weeks after being questioned by police in connection with the killings and two days after church authorities say they first heard allegations of sexual misconduct by Erickson while he was a priest.

Posted by kshaw at October 7, 2005 10:48 AM