Diocese files motion for a new trial in Merryfield case

By | June 14, 2012

The motion for a new trial is based on information that indicated bias by a juror.

According to news reports, the motion was filed because of a juror’s “incorrect responses” on a questionnaire provided before the trial and because of the juror’s “lack of candor” during and after the May 14 jury selection process, which diocesan attorneys said demonstrate the juror’s “obvious bias (that) deprived the diocese of its constitutional right to an impartial jury.”

In a statement released by the diocese June 14, Deacon Timothy G. Reilly, general director of the diocesan Curia, said that because the matter is under review, the diocese would have no comment at this time.

Feeney was convicted in 2004 of sexually assaulting the brothers in 1978, when they were 12 and 14. They were members of St. Nicholas Parish in Freedom, where Feeney was pastor. They accused the diocese and the late Bishop Aloysius Wycislo of covering up the priest’s history of assaults. Feeney, who was a priest of the diocese from 1952 until he was removed from the clerical state in 2005, is currently serving a sentence of 15 years for three counts of sexual assault and one count of attempted sexual assault.

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