Victim of Former Freedom Priest Among Recipients in California Settlement
Feeney Convicted on 4 Area Abuse Charges in 2004

By Dan Wilson
Appleton Post-Crescent
July 17, 2007

A sexual abuse victim of convicted Wisconsin priest John Patrick Feeney is among those receiving part of a $660 million payout from the Los Angeles archdiocese.

Feeney, 80, is serving a 15-year sentence at Fox Lake Correctional Facility. He was convicted in 2004 in Outagamie County on four sexual abuse charges arising from assaults on two brothers, ages 12 and 14, when he was parish priest at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Freedom in 1978.

Since his conviction, Feeney was defrocked by the Catholic church.

The Los Angeles settlement payout goes to a Nevada man, now in his 50s, who was victimized by Feeney during Feeney's many visits to California between 1967 and 1972.

During those visits, Feeney was living in a rectory and performing duties under the supervision of the archdiocese.

The victim was then 15 years old.

In that time period, Feeney served parishes in Wautoma, Elcho, Pickerel and De Pere. Feeney was moved around by church officials as allegations of abuse cropped up.

"The sad part about the Feeney case is it never needed to happen," said attorney John Manly, who represented the Feeney victim and 49 others.

"It wouldn't have happened if just someone in a position of leadership had picked up the phone and shared what they knew. I hope the Wisconsin Legislature will look at this and realize they need to give people access to the courts to right this wrong."

During Feeney's many court proceedings, 10 other victims, including the California victim, came forward to claim they were abused by Feeney.

Manly said his client will receive "well more than a million dollars. Because his abuse was so significant." His client never married.

"He has lived a solitary and sad life thanks to Father Feeney and the Archdiocese of L.A. and the Archdiocese of Green Bay, which allowed this to happen," he said. "My client has a job and gets up every day but his life has been destroyed."

Dan Wilson: 920-993-1000, ext. 304, or


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