Psychologist Discusses Merryfields

Fox 11
May 16, 2012

[with video]

APPLETON - The two brothers who sued the Green Bay Catholic Diocese provided emotional testimony Wednesday about the abuse they endured decades ago. It was day three of the civil trial.

Todd and Troy Merryfield are suing the diocese for fraud. They claim the diocese knew, before they were abused, that former priest, John Feeney, had a history of inappropriate sexual contact with children.

The abuse by John Feeney left both Merryfield brothers shaken. They testified that as a priest, Feeney was someone they trusted.

"They're the hand of god on earth. Who else are you supposed to trust?" asked Todd Merryfield.

But the priest broke that trust and Todd and Troy each dealt with what happened in a different way.

"We've had lots of fights about this. He denied it and denied it," said Troy about his brother.

"I worked so hard all those years to get this buried as deep as possible," said Todd.

Forensic physchologist Michael Galli analyzed both Merryfield brothers last year.

"Both Todd and Troy dealt with that abuse very differently and that interfered with all kinds of different aspects of their relationship," testified Galli.

According to Galli, in Todd's case, he used denial and repression to deal with the abuse. While Galli said Troy got very upset, even suicidal, feelings that are still present today

"He may be suffering from chronic depression," said Galli.

Galli said although Todd still has times he gets upset about the abuse, he relies on himself to get through.

"He's been able to be pretty well adjusted overall as a result of his overall psychological wherewiithall," said Galli.

The brothers say they can see these behaviors in themselves.

"I truly didn't want anybody to know. It would've been a continual re-opening of the wound," said Todd.

"I had a fear of failure. I didn't trust anybody," said Troy.

It's this trust the men say was taken from them.

The lawyers for the Merryfields rested their case after the psychologist's testimony. The defense is scheduled to start calling its witnesses Thursday morning.


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