WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Victim's Families visit Catholic Bishop's Conference

By: Sean Towle
By: Sean Towle

The families of two people killed at a Hudson funeral home three and a half years ago are in Washington, D.C. to call on the Catholic Church to reform its disciplinary practices.
Nine family members of James Ellison and Dan O'Connell --spoke outside a meeting of the U.S. Conference for Catholic Bishops.
A "John Doe" hearing last month ruled Reverend Ryan Erickson shot and killed James Ellison and Dan O'Connell.
There were molestation accusations against Erickson before he was ordained.
Today the O'Connell and Ellison families went to Washington, D.C. to voice their concerns about the church outside the U.S. Bishop's Conference.
The families believe these were two preventable homicides and they want better steps to be taken to prevent this from happening to someone else.
"Our feeling is certain things should've prevented him from becoming a priest," James Ellison's mother Sally Ellison said.
"We're to present a 5 step measure to the bishops called the O'Connell-Ellison call to action. This will present some real reform wiith the church," Dan O'Connell's brother Tom O'Connell said.
Bishops inside the conference were aware of the two families outside and their plan.
The bishops say there has been more screening to prevent these problems from occuring.
"We've had more effective screening going on now and has been in place for some time," said Bishop B.P. Kicanas.
The families were able to present their plan to Conference Representative Teresa Kettelkamp and briefly voice concerns that this is not a local problem.
"We believe this is a nationwide problem and something should be done from within," O'Connell reiterated to Kettelkamp.
Kettelkamp promised to take the families' proposal before the group's president.
The plan presented by the family would discipline officials who recklessly ordain seminarians with past issues or problems, fully disclose clergy sex crimes and cover-ups and do more to help victims and their families.


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