Names Sought in Sex-abuse Lawsuit

PR Newswire

HUDSON – Bishop David Zubik, the head of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese, has been named as a defendant in an unprecedented civil child sex abuse lawsuit brought by the family of a murdered Wisconsin man.

It was served on local Catholic officials last week by a county sheriff.

The lawsuit, which seeks no monetary damages, was filed in August in St. Croix County Circuit Court. It asks a state judge to force America’s 194 Catholic bishops to disclose the names of roughly 5,000 proven, admitted and credibly accused abusive priests in the United States.

The suit is being brought by the family of Dan O’Connell, who, along with a co-worker, was shot and killed in February 2002 by a suspected pedophile priest who also owned guns and pornography.

After a two-year police investigation a judicial hearing determined that the crimes were committed by Father Ryan Erickson of the Diocese of Superior.

According to the lawsuit, O’Connell had uncovered information about the priest molesting children. After police interrogated him about the murders, Erickson committed suicide in December 2004. Further investigation revealed that Superior church officials had been aware of Erickson’s erratic and questionable behavior and ordained him anyway.