On February 5, 2002, both Dan O’Connell and James Ellison were brutally murdered at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson, WI. After over four years of investigation, it was found that the local parish priest, the same parish that Dan was a member, committed the murders. Through a thorough investigation, it was found that Dan had discovered information on Fr. Ryan Erickson and his abuse of children. Further investigation provided proof that Fr. Erickson had a long history of abuse, alcohol problems, and other erratic behavior. This behavior was prior to and during his studies at the seminary as well as after he was ordained and was acting as a priest. When police began to question Fr. Erickson about the murders, he committed suicide. A John Doe Hearing was conducted whereby the judge overseeing the case, ruled it a “10 out of 10” that Fr. Erickson was guilty of the double homicides.
Trying to make some sense of this, the families pursued more answers and found the disturbing news that not only was the Diocese of Superior aware of Fr. Erickson’s past history but continued to allow him to serve in his priestly capacity. Further research found that this was not an isolated incident but a serious problem that exists within the Catholic Church and beyond. Clergy molestation has been a problem for 2,000 years and continues to destroy individuals and families.
This website is dedicated to the memory of Dan and James as well as the countless victims of clergy abuse. Our efforts at reform within the church has been met with stall tactics and denial by church officials. We have created this website to inform and to seek support for not only our efforts but to encourage others to be active in seeking long term church reform that will protect children, support victims, and make the hierarchy of the church accountable for their actions and inactions. We ask that not only lay persons be active but the clergy itself speak out and demand changes that will lead protecting children.
Thanks for visiting this site and we hope that you will support our efforts.
-The O’Connell and Ellison families