Local Catholic Bishop Named in Unprecedented Child Molestation Lawsuit

It Seeks Names of Accused Abusive Clergy Kept Secret by Church Officials



Sep 29, 2006, 01:00 ET from Jeff Anderson & Associates

    BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Bishop Salvatore Matano, the
 head of the Burlington Catholic Diocese, has been served with and 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, Wisconsin (Court File No.06CV581). 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 US. The suit is being brought by the family of Dan O'Connell of
 Wisconsin, 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 (WI). 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.
     The O'Connell family vowed to "make something good" come from the
 double murders and push for a five point reform plan to prevent future
 abuse. But in numerous attempts to work with the Catholic leaders the
 O'Connells have found little support or response, and they reluctantly
 filed this suit.
     After considerable research and meeting with experts and victims across
 the country, the family believes church officials have made only minimal
 reforms and aren't abiding by their own policies on abuse.
     They have also created a website,
 http://www.crusadeagainstclergyabuse.com , to further educate the public
 about the clergy sexual abuse crisis.
 
 

SOURCE Jeff Anderson & Associates
    BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Bishop Salvatore Matano, the
 head of the Burlington Catholic Diocese, has been served with and 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, Wisconsin (Court File No.06CV581). 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 US. The suit is being brought by the family of Dan O'Connell of
 Wisconsin, 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 (WI). 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.
     The O'Connell family vowed to "make something good" come from the
 double murders and push for a five point reform plan to prevent future
 abuse. But in numerous attempts to work with the Catholic leaders the
 O'Connells have found little support or response, and they reluctantly
 filed this suit.
     After considerable research and meeting with experts and victims across
 the country, the family believes church officials have made only minimal
 reforms and aren't abiding by their own policies on abuse.
     They have also created a website,
 http://www.crusadeagainstclergyabuse.com , to further educate the public
 about the clergy sexual abuse crisis.
 
 SOURCE Jeff Anderson & Associates