June 2000: the Rev. Ryan Erickson Is Ordained and Assigned to St. Patrick...

St. Paul Pioneer Press [Wisconsin]
November 5, 2006

June 2000: The Rev. Ryan Erickson is ordained and assigned to St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Hudson, Wis., as associate pastor.

Feb. 5, 2002: Funeral home director Daniel O'Connell, 39, and University of Minnesota intern James Ellison, 22, are found shot to death at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson. O'Connell is a parishioner.

February 2002: St. Patrick's School principal critical of Erickson alleges a supporter of the priest harassed and threatened her the same week O'Connell and Ellison are slain. Police are called, but no charges are filed. The principal later resigns.

Also in 2002: The first of 11 women files a complaint with the bishop against another associate priest assigned to St. Patrick's, alleging he engaged in inappropriate touching and had made sexually suggestive comments. The priest is barred in 2005 from presiding at Mass and is suspended from all public ministry.

Sept. 16, 2003: Erickson is transferred to Ladysmith, Wis.

Aug. 10, 2004: Erickson is transferred to Hurley, Wis.

Nov. 11, 2004: Police question Erickson about the Hudson killings.

Dec. 7, 2004: Police question Erickson again.

Dec. 16, 2004: Police search Erickson's office and living quarters.

Dec. 19, 2004: Erickson, 31, hangs himself in Hurley. Police subsequently reveal that Erickson was a "person of interest" in the Hudson killings and that they had also questioned him about a possible crime involving one or more minors.

Oct. 3, 2005: A St. Croix County judge rules there was probable cause that Erickson killed O'Connell and Ellison. The judge also finds it likely that Erickson had sexually abused at least one teenager.

Jan. 15, 2006: Superior Diocese Bishop Raphael Fliss comes to Hudson to apologize for not doing more about Erickson.

Feb. 20, 2006: The O'Connell and Ellison families issue a five-point plan that addresses accountability and reform, including better screening of men admitted to the seminary and better policing of priests after they are ordained, and ask church officials to take action.

Aug. 8, 2006: The O'Connell family, fed up with inaction by the Catholic Church hierarchy and angry that requests for reform have been ignored, file a lawsuit naming nearly 200 U.S. Catholic bishops. The suit seeks names of clergy who have abused, or been accused of abuse. It does not seek financial damages.

Oct. 29, 2006: After a year of work, the report "St. Patrick's Parish, A Journey of Healing" is issued by the parish elders council. It addresses concerns ranging from Erickson and the slayings to daily parish operations, including improving communications.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.