Day Two Church Fraud Case
Appleton-- The jury heard opening statements in a civil suit against the Green Bay Catholic Diocese. Brothers Todd and Troy Merryfield filed the suit in 2008. The brothers allege the Diocese knew that John Patrick Feeney had sexually abused children before coming to a church in Freedom in the 1970's. Attorneys for the diocese call the allegations of fraud outlandish.
The jury heard from Feeney's former colleagues in the priesthood and about how much they were aware of Feeney's past, which included showering with boys and swimming in the nude, all before he came to St. Nicholas parish in Freedom.
"The evidence will show that when the diocese placed Feeney into the congregation it was deliberately indifferent to a known risk that the Catholic children of Freedom were being exposed to harm,” said John Peterson, attorney for Troy Merryfield.
Attorneys for the Green Bay Diocese say there is no evidence the bishop knew Feeney was a danger to kids. “These claims are false and wrong they are untrue and we will show with evidence in this case otherwise,” said Patrick Brennan, attorney for the Green Bay Diocese.
The attorney for Todd Merryfield says he will ask for $900,000 for damages. The trial is expected to last up to two weeks. The Merryfields are tentatively scheduled to testify Wednesday.