October 10, 2005

Priest said he had concerns about priest accused of murders

Minneapolis Star Tribune

October 9, 2005

LADYSMITH, Wis. (AP) - A co-worker of a priest who was found by a judge to have likely killed two people to cover up his sexual misconduct said he had voiced concern about the priest's social habits to the Superior diocese bishop.

A judge last week ruled that the Rev. Ryan Erickson almost certainly shot to death funeral home director Dan O'Connell, 39, and employee James Ellison, 22 in 2002. St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson said evidence suggests the O'Connell had found out that the priest was sexually abusing someone, was providing alcohol to minors, or both.

The ruling came Oct. 3 after a so-called John Doe hearing requested by the victim's families. ...

According to a report by the Hudson Police Department, Anderson said Erickson's alcohol consumption worried him.

Anderson remembered once when Erickson brought a cooler full of alcohol to a popular drinking spot, "Beer Can Island,'' in Hudson and partied the whole weekend.

When Anderson voiced his concern to Erickson, Erickson responded, "I'm not a priest this weekend,'' the report said.

Anderson also said he heard allegations that Erickson put firecrackers in the mouths of fish and watched them blow up, the report said.

Anderson spoke with Bishop Raphael Fliss of the Superior Diocese to request that Erickson be transferred, partly because of his social habits.

Posted by kshaw at October 10, 2005 10:19 AM