Refresh: Judge Set to Hear Lawsuit against Green Bay Diocese


November 28, 2008

What happened

Brothers Todd and Troy Merryfield filed a suit Jan. 2 against the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay arising from sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of former priest John Patrick Feeney.

Feeney is serving a 15-year prison sentence on sexual abuse charges for his abuse of the two brothers in 1978 when Feeney was pastor of the St. Nicholas Catholic Church and the Merryfields were 12 and 14 years old.

The suit was made possible by a state Supreme Court decision in July 2007 that allowed lawsuits under the state's fraud statutes.

That decision allowed cases to be filed past the normal six-year statute of limitations by using the date of the discovery of the fraud as the date of the offense.

The fraud, they say, is the diocese's failure to notify prospective parishes of Feeney's checkered past.

What's new

The case is scheduled for a hearing Monday in front of Outagamie County Circuit Judge Nancy Krueger.

Jeff Anderson, one of the attorneys for the Merryfields, said Krueger will rule on a dismissal motion filed by the diocese's attorneys.

The motion claims the suit is without merit.

Anderson said the motion is typical of civil cases and asks the judge to determine if the case has enough substance to proceed.

The attorney for the diocese, Patrick Brennan, could not be reached for a comment.Suggest Refresh topics

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Compiled by Post-Crescent staff writer Dan Wilson: 920-993-1000, ext. 304, or


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