Judge says proof needed in priest abuse case - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Judge says proof needed in priest abuse case

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- An Outagamie County judge has ruled plaintiffs suing the Diocese of Green Bay must show proof it knew of prior abuse before the civil case can proceed.

John Patrick Feeney was convicted of 2004 of sexually assaulting Todd and Troy Merryfield in 1978 when they were 12 and 14 and parishioners at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Freedom. The Merryfields have come forward publicly as abuse victims. They're suing the diocese under fraud statutes.

The plaintiffs say the diocese failed to inform parishioners of Feeney's past, including his church-ordered sexual abuse counseling.

The Appleton Post-Crescent reports Judge Nancy Krueger ruled Thursday that the Merryfields must prove the diocese knew concretely of past abuse, not just "reasonable inferences."

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