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Diocese told to pay abuse victims

May 22, 2012 at 4:24 PM   |   Comments

APPLETON, Wis., May 22 (UPI) -- The Roman Catholic diocese of Green Bay, Wis., has been ordered to pay a total of $700,000 to two brothers who were molested by a priest in 1978.

Jurors Monday awarded $475,000 to Troy Merryfield and $225,000 to his brother, Todd, for pain and suffering and medical expenses. The trial resumes Wednesday to decide if the diocese should pay punitive damages, The Post-Crescent of Appleton, Wis., reported.

The Rev. John Feeney was convicted in 2004 of sexually assaulting the brothers when they were 12 and 14. The lawsuit against the diocese and Bishop Aloysius Wycislo charged that Feeney already had a history of abuse allegations when he was assigned to St. Nicholas Church in Freedom, Wis., where the Merryfields were in his congregation.

Peter Iseley of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said the verdict is a victory for other victims in Wisconsin.

"They have enjoyed an extraordinary immunity so this is a really historic, landmark day for the victims and the truth," he said. "This is just one small drop of the deception and the lies and the devastation that has been caused to countless lives in that diocese."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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