Saturday, March 26, 2011

15 years
Priest Sex Abuse Case Resurrected In Political Ad
Candidate Accused Of Not Taking Priest To Trial 30 Years Ago
POSTED: 10:53 pm CDT March 24, 2011
UPDATED: 10:24 am CDT March 25, 2011
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- The 30-year-old case of Green Bay priest John Feeney is suddenly in the middle of the State Supreme Court Justice race between David Prosser and Joanne Kloppenburg.

In 1979, when Prosser was the district attorney, he investigated allegations against Feeney of child abuse, but declined to file charges.

Feeney was moved to other states and parishes.

Years later, the 1979 case was re-opened and Feeney was found guilty of abusing Todd and Troy Merryfield and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The group, Greater Wisconsin Committee, is now running an ad highlighting Prosser allowed a pedophile to stay free.

During a taping of "UPFRONT With Mike Gousha," Prosser said he didn't file charges because it was a weak case.

Prosser told Gousha "I never disbelieved the people involved. It was a matter of proof. It was going to be sensational and I didn't think I could win a jury trial on that case."

In the past Troy Merryfield, one of the two brothers at the center of the case, criticized Prosser's handling of it but now he's siding with Prosser.

He released a statement to 12 News saying, "As adults, my brother and I were able to remember more detailed information about the abuse that was not made known to the police and prosecutors back in 1979."

Merryfield also stated that when the case was tried in 2002 through 2004, Prosser was a part of the case and helped in the prosecution of Feeney.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee said it stands by their ad, and released a statement: "The failure of Prosser to take seriously the accusations of child sexual abuse go far beyond the politics of the day. It is critical that we demand our elected prosecutors and judges protect our children from sexual predators."

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