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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex case victim wins legal rulings

Judge lets man hurt by priest seek punitive damages

Catholic officials wanted case dismissed on “technicalities”

But judge’s new ruling this week mean it will head toward trial

SNAP says “shocking proof” shows church officials knowingly moved predator here

What
Holding signs and child pix at sidewalk news conf, clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will discuss court rulings made earlier this week in a case alleging sexual abuse by a priest. They will also provide copies of pleadings and exhibits which have been entered in the case.

When: Thursday, Feb 4, 1:15 pm

Where: Outside the Clark County Justice Center, 200 Lewis St. (near the corner of 3rd) in Las Vegas

Who:
Two - three members of the victims support group, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

Why:
On Monday, a Las Vegas Judge ruled that Nevada had the power over Diocese of Green Bay for its actions regarding Fr. John Patrick Feeney, who’s now behind bars for sexually assaulting Wisconsin boys.

Several weeks ago, the same judge ruled that Feeney’s Nevada victim could also seek punitive damages against church officials.

Feeney, a Green Bay native, allegedly molested a boy here around 1984 at St. Francis De Sales.
In 1986, Feeney also worked with prison ministries through St. Joan of Arc parish in Las Vegas.

Secret church records that SNAP will release today show that high ranking Catholic officials had clear knowledge about Feeney’s crimes but kept reassigning him, even out of state. According to the records, a WI prosecutor agreed that if Feeney was sent to treatment they would not prosecute him. The prosecutor did not pursue the case but the now-deceased Green Bay bishop apparently failed to uphold his end of the agreement and did not send Feeney to treatment. Feeney was quietly sent to Las Vegas where no warning was given to parishioners, children were left at risk and at least one child was allegedly abused.

Last year, SNAP urged Las Vegas church officials to aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Feeney’s crimes. SNAP has gotten no response.

Ordained in 1952, Feeney’s been ‘on leave’ since 1986 and was sentenced in 2004 to 15 years in prison for molesting brothers Troy and Todd Merryfield in Freedom WI in the late 1970s. Feeney worked in 18 Wisconsin parishes in 30 years.

After leaving Nevada, Feeney worked in California. A civil sex abuse case against him there has also been settled.

Earlier, the victim settled his civil child sex abuse and cover up case against the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas only. The case against Feeney and the Diocese of Green Bay is still moving toward trial.

Roughly 3-5 months ago the Judge ruled that it was not too late for this Plaintiff to file his case. This was a statute of limitations issue.

In the case the victim’s attorneys have taken the depositions of two bishops (McFarland and Mourneau, both formerly of Nevada) and a Cardinal, (Adam Maida of Detroit).

Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson of St. Paul 612 817 8665 cell represents Feeney victims in Nevada and Wisconsin.

Contact:
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president 312 399 4747 cell
Peter Isely of Milwaukee, SNAP Midwest Leader 414 429 7259 cell
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP outreach director 314 503 0003


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org
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