Green Bay diocese claims liability protection in clergy abuse

Diocese says it's constitutionally protected
A former Baraboo student is suing district for failing to respond to racial discrimination, sexual assault.

The Green Bay Catholic diocese said it is 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 said the Merryfields did not show any evidence that the diocese represented Feeney as safe. A motion hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.