A Wisconsin court agreed Wednesday with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay that the priest-sex-abuse suit brought by Todd and Troy Merryfield deserved to be retried based on the bias of one juror. Judge Nancy Krueger apologized to both parties for the delay and the expense each side must now incur, but said that "the overriding emphasis of this court must be on the integrity of the justice and jury system."
|Todd Merryfield, center, Wednesday|
The news story is more a regurgitation of earlier facts than anything else. Among the questions left hanging in my mind were:
1. When is the new trial likely to be held?
2. In light of the expenses incurred by the Merryfield brothers, are they considering amending their suit to include both court costs AND punitive damages?
3. If the Vatican (or Roman Catholic diocese if you insist) decides to contest such cases as a means of deterring future similar actions, is it not wiser to play the kind of hardball the Vatican prefers and make it clear through punitive damages that victims will not be deterred? I don't know the legal constraints or ramifications of this question.
One positive aspect of this probably-painful and definitely-costly delay is the fact that if the Merryfield brothers are concerned with bringing the truth to light, they are being given a second chance to do precisely that ... and the Vatican is putting itself in the position of being seen as manipulative, uncaring and wrong all over again.
The newspaper in which the article appears, the Post Crescent, requires a Facebook log-in instead of offering a wider array of options for comments. I refuse to associate with the phoney-baloney antics of Facebook.