Lawyers Turn Focus to Victim in Priest Sex Case

By Shirley Ragsdale
Des Moines Register
September 14, 2006

Attorneys for the Diocese of Davenport today tried to chip away at the

claims of an alleged victim of child sexual abuse that he was too mentally ill over past 40 years to enforce his legal rights.

Defense attorney Rand Wonio recalled D. Michl Uhde of Davenport to testify for a second time about damage done by alleged sexual abuse by Monsignor Thomas Feeney. Uhde, of Davenport, is suing the diocese for $2.3 million. The trial started Monday in Scott County. Feeney died in 1981.

"Among a number of legal documents we brought to Mr. Uhde's attention were an August 2002 bankruptcy, dissolution of marriages and real estate transactions," Wonio said. If Uhde was able to negotiate these complicated legal documents, Wonio maintains the alleged abuse victim could have made his abuse claim in a more timely manner.

Others testifying were: Uhde's second wife, Julie DuBois, who testified that in the mid-1980s, Uhde told her he was fondled by a priest.

James Brockway, a Burlington businessman, who said he could not corroborate Uhde's claim that he was sexually harrassed by retired Sioux City Bishop Lawrence Soens.

Dr. Wayne Sliway, a psychologist specializing in cases involving sexual misconduct and abuse by professionals, including clergy. Sliway testified that Uhde suffered "considerable damage as a result of sexual trauma perpetrated by Monsignor Feeney."

The trial will resume Friday.


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