November 16, 2005

Bishops' gathering draws protest

Boston Globe

By Charles A. Radin, Globe Staff | November 15, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Families of two Wisconsin men who were apparently killed by a Catholic priest in 2002 yesterday said church officials were responsible for the deaths because they had evidence that the priest was sexually troubled but did not bar him from the priesthood.

Relatives of Daniel O'Connell and James Ellison made the accusations on the sidewalk outside the annual meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in protest of what they said was a failure of church leaders to take responsibility for their role in the deaths.

''Red flags were raised, action was not taken, and because of this James and Dan are dead," said Sally Ellison, James Ellison's mother. ''I don't think they would be dead if the bishops had done their jobs."

According to the families, the shootings occurred after O'Connell confronted the Rev. Ryan Erickson, 31, about allegations that the priest was abusing children. Erickson shot O'Connell, 39, the next day, the families said, then killed Ellison, an intern at the O'Connell family's funeral home, because he witnessed the first slaying.

Posted by kshaw at November 16, 2005 12:58 AM