Clergy abuse group to sue Green Bay diocese

Associated Press/January 2, 2008

Green Bay, Wisconsin -- A group that supports victims of sexual abuse by priests is filing another civil lawsuit -- this one against the Green Bay diocese.

The lawsuit alleges fraud against two brothers, Troy and Todd Merryfield, who were molested at ages 12 and 14 by the Reverend John Feeney at St. Nicholas parish in Freedom in the 1970s.

Feeney was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2004.

The latest fraud suit alleges church officials continued to move Feeney to parishes, schools and hospitals across Wisconsin, despite repeated warnings that he had sexually assaulted children.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, has filed seven civil fraud suits in Milwaukee with similar allegations.

SNAP also wants the Green Bay diocese to release the names of 51 other predator priests from that diocese whose names are not known.

Feeney's last assignment in Wisconsin was in 1983. He worked in 19 communities; including Green Bay, Kewaunee, Sturgeon Bay, Clintonville, Oshkosh, Two Rivers, Appleton, Chilton, Clarks Mills, Flintville, Algoma, Maplewood, Wautoma, Elcho, Pickerel, De Pere, Suamico and Stockbridge.

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