October 31, 2005

Families want to hold Catholic Church accountable

ST. PAUL (MN)
Pioneer Press

BY KEVIN HARTER
Pioneer Press

The families of two men apparently killed by a Wisconsin priest said Monday that they want to hold the Catholic Church accountable for not taking action against the Rev. Ryan Erickson.

Relatives of Dan O'Connell and James Ellison shot to death Feb. 5, 2002, at a Hudson, Wis., funeral home said they're not seeking money from the Catholic Church but want the church to address their concerns and embrace reforms.

"They have come together united in a purpose of hope and promise," said Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul-based attorney representing the families who is nationally known for his work with victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Anderson was joined by members of both families, who spoke four weeks after a St. Croix County, Wis., judge concluded that Erickson had likely killed the two men and sexually abused at least one teenage boy. Prosecutors allege that Erickson was motivated to kill O'Connell because the funeral home director confronted him about rumors of abuse.

Posted by kshaw at October 31, 2005 09:05 PM