November 03, 2005

Bishop apologizes for missing abuse clues

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Pioneer Press

The bishop who oversees the Superior Diocese publicly apologized this week for not paying closer attention to the Rev. Ryan Erickson, the priest believed to have killed two men in Hudson, Wis.

But the statement Tuesday by Bishop Raphael Fliss to parishioners in Hurley, Wis., didn't satisfy relatives of one of the slain men. Instead, family members on Wednesday criticized the bishop for not speaking directly to them about the killings of James Ellison and Dan O'Connell on Feb. 5, 2002.

"I don't expect an apology. I expect a confession. I want to know what he did and why he did it," said Janet O'Connell, speaking at her kitchen table in Hudson with St. Paul-based attorney Jeff Anderson by her side.

The statements by Janet O'Connell, mother of the slain man, and other members of the O'Connell family came two days after they held a news conference criticizing Fliss and calling for the Catholic Church to ensure that abusive priests are screened out in seminary and prosecuted if they commit crimes.

Posted by kshaw at November 3, 2005 07:00 AM