A Rock County jury rules against a catholic priest who says he had been falsely accused of sexually abusing an altar boy years ago.
The jury deliberated just two hours before rejecting Father Gerald Vosen's claim that a 26-year-old man had made up a story that Vosen had sexually abused him. Vosen had sued, asking for a million dollars in damages from the alleged victim.
Vosen's attorney, Patrick McDonald, tells NBC15 News he's surprised and disappointed by the jury's decision. He says the alleged victim contradicted himself on the stand.
However, an organization that represents people abused by priests is happy with the verdict, saying it should never have gone to court in the first place. Mary Guentner says, "This young man and his family have been devastated by this court action. They're catholics, they love the church, they believe in the church. I'm sure he feels vindicated by this, that the church let him down, but the court system hasn't let him down."
Guentner says the jury's decision will inspire other victims to come forward because they'll know they have the support of the justice system.
Bishop Robert Morlino of the Catholic Dioces of Madison says he can't comment on the verdict because Father Vosen still faces a church trial. He did say he prefers priests not resort to the civil court system, but as citizens they have the right to do so.
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