The Murder of Dan O’Connell and the Cleansing of the Catholic Priesthood

On February 5, 2002, Dan O’Connell, a 39 year-old civic leader, funeral director, and Catholic from Hudson, Wisconsin, had coffee with Mary Pagel, a bus driver for St. Patrick’s Catholic School.

O’Connell asked Pagel if she had ever seen the assistant priest, Fr. Ryan Erickson, inappropriately touch children. He then told her that he was going to confront Fr. Erickson later that day. She advised against it.

Undeterred, O’Connell replied, “I can handle it.”

Sometime between 1pm and 1:30 pm that day, Dan O’Connell and a 22 year-old mortuary science intern, James Ellison, were killed…

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