Family Files Civil Suit Stemming From Funeral Home Slayings

By: Mary Rinzel
By: Mary Rinzel

The family of one of two men believed to have been killed by a Roman Catholic priest in Hudson filed a civil suit against nearly 200 bishops and other church leaders across the country.

The family of Daniel O'Connell filed the lawsuit in St. Croix County to force church leaders to disclose the names of abusive priests.

O'Connell was shot and killed in 2002 at the family's funeral home in Hudson. An employee, James Ellison, was also killed.

St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson said evidence suggested O'Connell learned the priest was sexually abusing someone, was providing alcohol to minors, or both.

O'Connell's mother says the family is finishing the job that Daniel started by filing the suit. It doesn't seek any monetary damages

St. Croix County Circuit Judge Eric Lundell ruled last October that there was probable cause that the Reverend Ryan Erickson shot the two men. Erickson hanged himself in December 2004 in Hurley just days after police questioned him in the slayings.


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