Archdiocese of Greenbay Hit With $700,000 Verdict

A jury in Outagamie County returned a verdict against the Archdiocese of Greenbay, Wisconsin in the sum of $700,000 involving a fraud claim brought by two brothers.  The brothers alleged, and the jury agreed, that the Archdiocese concealed a former priest's history of child molestation.  The brothers sued the church in 2008, and contended that the Archdiocese was aware that former priest John Feeney sexually assaulted other children before 1978, the time when the priest was assigned to Freedom St. Nicholas Church, where the boys attended.  Feeney was convicted in 2004 of sexual assault.  Under Illinois law, in order to be successful in a case involving priest sexual abuse which may have occurred several decades ago, a plaintiff would have to allege either a fraud claim, or that the abuse was suppressed or repressed in order to circumvent the statute of limitations.