"Church Shamed" Over Hudson Funeral Home Killings

The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Superior says the outcome of a double murder case in Hudson has brought shame and sadness to the church.

A St. Croix County judge decided this week that evidence points to the Reverend Ryan Erickson as the killer of a funeral home director and his intern in Hudson three years ago. A prosecutor says one of the victims had found out the priest was either sexually abusing someone or providing alcohol to minors.

Erickson committed suicide last December after being questioned about the murders, and also about accusations involving minors.

Bishop Raphael Fliss issued his statement Tuesday -- a day after Circuit Judge Eric Lundell made his decision. Court records show the diocese had learned of sexual misconduct allegations against Erickson in 1994 and 1996 while he was in the seminary, and the church had him undergo several mental health exams over the years.

The Reverend John Parr is pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Hudson where Erickson began his career. He says he's angry and confused about Erickson's behavior. He says Erickson was a -- quote -- "very troubled individual who kept secrets secret, and we know how it ended."

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