Judge Lets Lawsuit against Diocese Proceed... for Now


July 16, 2008

Tuesday an Outagamie County judge said a fraud case against the Green Bay Catholic Diocese will go on -- at least for now.

Brothers Todd and Troy Merryfield are suing the diocese, alleging it covered up Father John Patrick Feeney's sexual abuse of children.

Feeney was convicted in 2004 of molesting the Merryfields in the 1970s when they were 12 and 14 years old, when he was a priest in Freedom.

The judge said each side can continue collecting evidence in the case.

The diocese's insurance company asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, and first have the court determine whether the insurance policy even covers the suit.

"I think in this case the court is trying to figure out the least expensive and most expeditious way to proceed. It's a really unusual case with a lot of issues," the Merryfield's attorney, John Peterson, said.

A big part of this case could be influenced by a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision which is expected Wednesday.

The high court will address the statute of limitations in civil suits involving the sexual assault of a child.


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