Diocese, Late Priest Sued over Sexual Misconduct

Quad City Times
July 30, 2005

The lawsuit was filed in Scott County District Court by D. Michl Uhde, and it lists Monsignor Thomas Feeney as a defendant along with the diocese. The suit alleges instances of sexual misconduct that occurred more than 48 years ago.

Further details about the case were unavailable Friday night.

A spokesman for the diocese said officials are reviewing the complaint they received Monday.

Feeney died July 27, 1981, having retired earlier that year. The priest began his career when he was assigned to the faculty of what is now St. Ambrose University in 1937. He served as chaplain of Mercy Hospital, Davenport from 1942 to 1948 and 1953 to 1963, as pastor of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Davenport, from 1953 to 1968 and as pastor of St. Anthony's Catholic Church, Davenport, from 1968 to 1981.

He held these offices with the diocese: vice chancellor, 1941-42; chancellor, 1942-52; vicar general, 1968-81 and synod judge, 1974-81.

In the past six weeks, six men have brought new claims of sexual abuse by priests during the 1960s and 1970s to the Davenport Diocese for mediation.

They are among the first claims brought to the diocese since it paid $9 million to settle 37 civil claims in October. That settlement's non-monetary terms require future claimants to attempt to mediate the claims instead of filing lawsuits.

In statement released Friday, Bishop William Franklin said the diocese had hoped to resolve such cases through mediation rather than litigation.

"All sexual abuse by anyone is horrendous, especially to children by clergy. I am profoundly sorry, and I express my deep apology to the victims from the entire Catholic community. I continue to encourage victims to come forward for healing. I hope that the Diocese of Davenport can continue to help foster healing and forgiveness as well as help us to focus together on preventing this from ever happening again."

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