November 14, 2005

Murder victims' families press bishops on reform, meeting

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The families of two men believed to have been killed by a Roman Catholic priest in Hudson, Wis., gave the nation's bishops a plan Monday aimed at preventing sexual abuse by priests.

The family members also asked the bishops to arrange a meeting for them with Pope Benedict XVI.

A Wisconsin judge last month ruled 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 O'Connell learned the priest was sexually abusing someone, providing alcohol to minors, or both. Erickson committed suicide last December after being questioned about the murders.

Families of the victims have contended their loved ones might still be alive if the church had properly disciplined Erickson after old accusations of abuse.

Posted by kshaw at November 14, 2005 06:54 PM