First US Catholic Bishop To Be Dismissed From Unique Sex Abuse Case

Double Murder in Wisconsin Prompts Lawsuit Against All US Bishops

But Delaware's Top Church Official Will Be Removed As Defendant

Saltarelli's Disclosure of Names of Alleged Predator Priests is the Reason



21 Nov, 2006, 00:00 ET from Jeff Anderson & Associates

    WILMINGTON, De., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A family whose relative was
 murdered by a priest and who has filed a non-monetary, first of its kind
 lawsuit against the USCCB and all US Catholic bishops is releasing
 Delaware's Catholic bishop from the suit.
     In August, 2006, the O'Connell family of Hudson, WI, filed a unique
 lawsuit against all US bishops seeking a non-monetary injunction that would
 force them to reveal the names of all proven, admitted, and credibly
 accused abusive priests. Several weeks ago, Michael Saltarelli, Bishop of
 Wilmington (DE) was served with that suit.
     The family is now writing Saltarelli to advise him he will be dropped
 as a defendant since Saltarelli recently disclosed names of 20 pedophile
 priests in his diocese.
     Dan O'Connell was murdered, along with a co-worker, in February, 2002
 by a Diocese of Superior (WI) priest who was suspected by O'Connell of
 molesting children. After being questioned by police about the murders in
 December 2004, the cleric, Fr. Ryan Erickson, took his own life. Later
 investigations showed that church officials had received repeated warnings
 about abusive and dangerous behavior by Erickson, but ordained, hired, and
 transferred him to various parishes in the Diocese anyway. In response to
 those disclosures and "to make something good come from these brutal
 murders and protect children," the O'Connell family has been pushing US
 bishops to disclose the names of pedophile priests. After months of effort,
 the family filed a non-monetary lawsuit in Wisconsin state court seeking to
 compel church authorities to provide the names.
     Saltarelli is the first bishop to take this action since the
 O'Connell's suit was filed.
     The O'Connell's have sent a letter to Saltarelli stating their
 gratitude for the releasing of the names and have advised their attorneys
 to remove his name from the lawsuit. "Our family filed the lawsuit seeking
 to prevent clergy sex abuse by forcing the church hierarchy to disclose the
 names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused abusive priests," the
 O'Connell's letter says. "We are glad that you see the value in letting the
 public know about these dangerous men. We hope that other bishops will
 follow your example and release names within their own dioceses."
     According to the O'Connell family, the problems of clergy abuse must be
 addressed proactively by the Catholic Church. Each bishop was named in the
 lawsuit as each has the responsibility and obligation, as a member of the
 USCCB, to establish the rules and policies that govern the US Catholic
 Church. The family states, "The vows taken in priesthood should reflect
 doing what is right to protect children and support victims."
     The family is represented by Jeffrey R. Anderson of St. Paul, MN. The
 full text of their letter follows:
     Dear Bishop Saltarelli:
 
     We are grateful that you have disclosed the names of alleged predatory
     priests in your diocese.
 
     Our family filed the lawsuit seeking to prevent clergy sex abuse by
     forcing the church hierarchy to disclose the names of all proven, admitted
     and credibly accused abusive priests. We are glad that you see the value
     in letting the public know about these dangerous men.  We hope that other
     bishops will follow you example and release names within their own
     dioceses.
 
     We will instruct our attorney to file the necessary papers so that you are
     removed as a defendant in our lawsuit.
 
     We also hope that you will do everything in your power to persuade your
     colleagues to take the step you have taken, which will help protect the
     vulnerable and help heal the wounded.
 
     Thank you.
 
     Tom and Janet O'Connell
 
     Tom and Carol O'Connell.
 
     Mike and Carla O'Connell
 
     Kathi O'Connell
 
 

SOURCE Jeff Anderson & Associates
    WILMINGTON, De., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A family whose relative was
 murdered by a priest and who has filed a non-monetary, first of its kind
 lawsuit against the USCCB and all US Catholic bishops is releasing
 Delaware's Catholic bishop from the suit.
     In August, 2006, the O'Connell family of Hudson, WI, filed a unique
 lawsuit against all US bishops seeking a non-monetary injunction that would
 force them to reveal the names of all proven, admitted, and credibly
 accused abusive priests. Several weeks ago, Michael Saltarelli, Bishop of
 Wilmington (DE) was served with that suit.
     The family is now writing Saltarelli to advise him he will be dropped
 as a defendant since Saltarelli recently disclosed names of 20 pedophile
 priests in his diocese.
     Dan O'Connell was murdered, along with a co-worker, in February, 2002
 by a Diocese of Superior (WI) priest who was suspected by O'Connell of
 molesting children. After being questioned by police about the murders in
 December 2004, the cleric, Fr. Ryan Erickson, took his own life. Later
 investigations showed that church officials had received repeated warnings
 about abusive and dangerous behavior by Erickson, but ordained, hired, and
 transferred him to various parishes in the Diocese anyway. In response to
 those disclosures and "to make something good come from these brutal
 murders and protect children," the O'Connell family has been pushing US
 bishops to disclose the names of pedophile priests. After months of effort,
 the family filed a non-monetary lawsuit in Wisconsin state court seeking to
 compel church authorities to provide the names.
     Saltarelli is the first bishop to take this action since the
 O'Connell's suit was filed.
     The O'Connell's have sent a letter to Saltarelli stating their
 gratitude for the releasing of the names and have advised their attorneys
 to remove his name from the lawsuit. "Our family filed the lawsuit seeking
 to prevent clergy sex abuse by forcing the church hierarchy to disclose the
 names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused abusive priests," the
 O'Connell's letter says. "We are glad that you see the value in letting the
 public know about these dangerous men. We hope that other bishops will
 follow your example and release names within their own dioceses."
     According to the O'Connell family, the problems of clergy abuse must be
 addressed proactively by the Catholic Church. Each bishop was named in the
 lawsuit as each has the responsibility and obligation, as a member of the
 USCCB, to establish the rules and policies that govern the US Catholic
 Church. The family states, "The vows taken in priesthood should reflect
 doing what is right to protect children and support victims."
     The family is represented by Jeffrey R. Anderson of St. Paul, MN. The
 full text of their letter follows:
     Dear Bishop Saltarelli:
 
     We are grateful that you have disclosed the names of alleged predatory
     priests in your diocese.
 
     Our family filed the lawsuit seeking to prevent clergy sex abuse by
     forcing the church hierarchy to disclose the names of all proven, admitted
     and credibly accused abusive priests. We are glad that you see the value
     in letting the public know about these dangerous men.  We hope that other
     bishops will follow you example and release names within their own
     dioceses.
 
     We will instruct our attorney to file the necessary papers so that you are
     removed as a defendant in our lawsuit.
 
     We also hope that you will do everything in your power to persuade your
     colleagues to take the step you have taken, which will help protect the
     vulnerable and help heal the wounded.
 
     Thank you.
 
     Tom and Janet O'Connell
 
     Tom and Carol O'Connell.
 
     Mike and Carla O'Connell
 
     Kathi O'Connell
 
 SOURCE Jeff Anderson & Associates