Jury Selected In Church Fraud Case
Appleton-- Jurors were selected in Outagamie county in a civil case alleging the diocese knew Father John Patrick Feeney had sexually abused children before coming to a church in Freedom. Feeney was removed from the priesthood and recently released from prison. The judge has issued a gag order to all the attorneys involved in this case, so while no one is talking, the Green Bay Diocese has long-denied allegations of a widespread abuse cover-up.
Jury selection took several hours as 12 jurors were picked from a pool of 90. Dozens were dismissed because they said their catholic faith would keep them from being impartial. Others said they could stand to hear the sexually explicit testimony expected during the trial.
Peter Isely heads Wisconsin’s S.N.A.P., the survivor’s network of those abused by priests. Isley hopes this case will bring out the truth about what he claims church leaders knew regarding sexual abuse by Father John Patrick Feeny. “Symbolically it really is a terribly important trial it's not about this particular case I think for victims, survivors, for all of us,” Isley said.
Feeney was convicted in 2004 for sexually abusing Todd and Troy Merryfield in the 1970's. He served almost 8 years in prison.
The trial is expected to last about two weeks.