Judge Rejects Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Associated Press, carried in Chicago Tribune
September 24, 2008,0,4231407.story

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - A western Wisconsin judge has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a man who was killed by a priest.

Carsten and Sally Ellison of Barron filed a lawsuit in St. Croix County Circuit Court against the Catholic Diocese of Superior over the death of their 22-year-old son, James Ellison. He was fatally shot along with 39-year-old Dan O'Connell in 2002 at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson.

Eau Claire County Judge Paul Lenz handled the case. He says it's "too remote" to think the diocese would have had any reason to believe the Rev. Ryan Erickson would kill someone.

Erickson was removed from St. Patrick Church in Hudson, moved to Ladysmith and then Hurley, where he hanged himself in 2004. A St. Croix County judge ruled in 2005 that Erickson murdered both men because he was afraid O'Connell would report Erickson's obsession with young boys, alcohol and firearms to church officials.


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