Jury Awards Brothers $700K in Wis. Diocese Lawsuit

Posted Monday, May 21, 2012 --- 10:45 p.m.

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- A jury has awarded two brothers $700,000 in a fraud trial against the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay.

The Outagamie County jury found the diocese responsible Monday for concealing a former priest's history of child molestation.

Brothers Todd and Troy Merryfield sued the diocese in 2008, alleging the diocese was aware former priest John Feeney sexually assaulted others before 1978, when it assigned him to Freedom's St. Nicholas Church. Feeney was convicted in 2004 for the sexual assaults of the Merryfields and has already served his prison sentence.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports the jury awarded Troy Merryfield $475,000 and Todd $225,000 in damages.

The diocese says it had no knowledge of abuse.

The jury will return for a second phase of the trial Wednesday.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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