Monday, November 14, 2005

Families of Murdered Men to Hold News Conference at Bishop's Conference

Not even a note from the Bishop?
"We haven't had a card, a note, a phone call from our own bishop, so we have to try to get their attention another way," said Tom O'Connell. His son, Dan, and intern James Ellison were shot and killed on Feb. 5, 2003, at the O'Connell funeral home in Hudson.

The Rev. Ryan Erickson, a priest in Hudson at the time, probably killed the men because O'Connell was about to confront the priest over allegations that he sexually abused a teenage boy, a judge ruled last month. Erickson, who had been moved twice by his bishop after the killings, hanged himself last December.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opens its annual fall meeting in Washington today. Most of the sessions are closed to the public.

"They have their charter saying they will protect young people from abuse, but what are they doing?" Tom O'Connell said Sunday.

At their news conference in Washington, 10 members of the two families will ask that each bishop disclose far more information about alleged abusers and their misdeeds, publicly acknowledge their mistakes, meet with abuse victims and support laws in every state to lift criminal and civil statutes of limitations in child sex-abuse cases.

"They won't talk with us privately," said O'Connell, who with the Ellisons has asked to meet with Pope Benedict on the issues. "Maybe we can get their attention by speaking publicly."