They Want Names of All Predatory Priests in America
Unprecedented Lawsuit Seeks Injunction But No Money
‘Dangerous Clerics’ Must Be Disclosed, Relatives Say
Accused Abusive Priest Killed Two Men, Then Himself
Family of the Deceased Want Real Church Reform
ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 8 LAWFUEL —
What: At a news conference, the family of a man who was murdered by a
Catholic priest will disclose and discuss the unprecedented
civil lawsuit they are filing against nearly 200 bishops and
other church officials. Among other reforms, the family seeks to
prevent future clergy sex abuse by forcing the church hierarchy
to disclose the names of all proven, admitted, and credibly
accused abusive priests.
When: TODAY, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2:45 p.m.
Where: At the law office of Jeff Anderson, First National Bank Bldg.,
332 Minnesota Street, in downtown St. Paul.
Who: Six relatives of Dan O’Connell of Hudson, WI (including his
parents). O’Connell is one of two Wisconsin men who were shot
and killed by Fr. Ryan Erikson.
Details: Last October, a Wisconsin judge ruled that Fr. Ryan Erickson
shot and killed Dan O’Connell and James Ellison in February 2002
because O’Connell had confronted Erickson with suspicions that
the priest was molesting kids. Erickson hung himself from a
fire escape at his Hurley, Wisconsin church after being
questioned by police about the murders.
Last November, relatives of the slain men presented a five point
reform and prevention plan to a nationwide meeting of Catholic
bishops in Washington. Earlier this year, they delivered their
plan to US bishops’ conference vice president Cardinal Francis
George of Chicago. But virtually no change has resulted.
Since Erickson’s suicide, evidence has emerged showing that
church officials knew Erickson had been accused at least twice
of molesting boys, once a full six years before he was ordained
in 2000. And more allegations about Erickson’s sexual abuse and
bizarre behavior, including his fixation with guns and child
porn, have surfaced in the past few weeks. No civil lawsuits
against the priest or the diocese have been filed.
To protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded, the families
want Catholic officials to set up a national registry of abusive
clerics and fully disclose the identities of all offending
priests and other church personnel. They also want a) bishops to
help reform archaic state child sex abuse laws, b) a method to
discipline bishops who ordain troubled seminarians and protect
offending priests, and c) a face-to-face meeting with the
(Earlier today, at 9:30 a.m., the group held a similar news
conference in downtown Milwaukee WI at the Hyatt Regency Hotel
at 333 Kilbourn.)
Contact: Attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul 612 817 8665 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314 566 9790
Peter Isely of Milwaukee, SNAP midwest director 414 429 7259
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