The Catholic Diocese of Davenport is going to court in the latest lawsuit alleging a former parish member was molested by a priest. Attorney Rand Wonio says it’s the first time one of these suits hasn’t been settled out of court.
Wonio confirms the diocese has settled a number of claims involving a number of priests, and this is the first one to go to trial. He says it’ll be put into the hands of a jury of 8 people from Scott County. The plaintiff who filed this lawsuit is identified by name, as D. Michael Uhde. He grew up in Davenport and lives there today, and in the suit Uhde alleges that he was sexually abused in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Father Thomas Feeney, who was pastor of a church in Davenport then.
Wonio says Father Feeney died in 1981. Wonio says “It makes it very difficult to defend a case when most of the main participants who are accused of misconduct are dead. That’s one of the main reasons they have statutes of limitations. Wonio says the diocese is content to have a jury hear this kind of lawsuit for the first time. The diocese has paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits and claims over past sexual abuse by clergy members, many of them now deceased.