National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Wis. diocese loses insurance coverage in fraud trial

 |  NCR Today

The Green Bay, Wis., diocese has lost its insurance coverage in a civil suit alleging fraud related to sexual assaults by a priest.

Troy and Todd Merryfield sued the diocese for fraud and fraudulent non-disclosure regarding sexual misconduct by Fr. Patrick Feeney.

Feeney, since defrocked, was convicted in 2004 of assaulting the brothers in 1978. He is serving a 15-year prison sentence.

After the suit was filed, the diocese's insurance company, Indiana Insurance, asked to be dismissed from the case, claiming since the Diocese's actions were intentional, the policy didn't cover the case.

In a ruling signed July 15, Outagamie County Judge Nancy Krueger agreed and dismissed the insurance company.

"The Plantiffs allege the Diocese acted with an intent to keep knowledge of Father Feeney's past actions from the parishes to which it sent him and by extension from the Plantiffs. As the policy specifically excludes coverage for intentional acts, Indiana has no obligation under this policy to defend and indemnify the Diocese in this matter," Krueger wrote.

screen-shot_FB-video-promo-9-12.jpgOur Sept. 12-25 edition is in the mail, on its way to subscribers. Take a look inside.

Not a subscriber? Become one today!

Lawyer Jeff Anderson, who represents the Merryfields, said he is not concerned that the diocese lacks insurance coverage, saying it has adequate resources to pay whatever damages award a jury makes.

"We want the children to be protected and we want those who have been wounded to be compensated," Anderson said. "And it's the Diocese of Green Bay's corporate officers that need to he held, ultimately, to account for the misdeeds of the past so it doesn't get repeated in the future."

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

September 12-25, 2014

09-12-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.