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Green Bay diocese claims protection from liability

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – The Green Bay Catholic diocese says it’s constitutionally protected from liability in a civil lawsuit filed by two victims of clergy abuse.

The diocese has filed motions seeking to overturn, dismiss or to hold a new trial on claims by Todd and Troy Merryfield. They were awarded $700,000 in May from an Outagamie County court that found the diocese committed civil fraud.

The brothers claimed the diocese falsely represented the safety of the Rev. John Feeney when he was installed at St. Nicholas Church in Freedom. The Merryfields were molested by Feeney when they were 12 and 14. Feeney was sentenced to prison in 2004.

Diocese attorney Sarah Fry Bruch told the Green Bay Press-Gazette the Merryfields didn’t show any evidence that the diocese represented Feeney as safe. A motion hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Information from: Green Bay Press-Gazette, http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com

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