By Dustin Lemmon | Monday, September 18, 2006 | (7) Comments | Rate this article
BREAKING NEWS: (4:43 p.m.) A Scott County jury has awarded Michl Uhde $1.5 million in damages from the Diocese of Davenport for sexual abuse he suffered more than 40 years ago.
The jury deliberated for six hours Monday before returning its verdict around 3 p.m. The $1,536,800 covers future medical expenses, lost wages, lost function of the mind, and pain and suffering.
The amount doubled the $744,000 that Uhde and his attorneys had asked for. The diocese had said it was going to court because it couldn’t afford to settle any more cases regarding alleged sexual abuse by its priests.
The trial in Scott County District Court started Sept. 11 and ended with closing arguments Friday afternoon. Jurors heard testimony from Uhde, who recounted abuse by Monsignor Thomas Feeney that occurred from 1957 to 1963, starting when he was 7.
After the verdict Uhde said the case was never about the money but getting answers from the diocese.
“This is about the victims,” he said. “I feel better. Hopefully, we’ll get some help for other people.”
Dustin Lemmon can be contacted at (563) 383-2493 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bishop going into the trial wrote this in the Messenger and then had this to say today after the verdict.
As His Excellency stated in the first letter, the point of going to trial was that the diocese had no money to pay out. The second letter outlines what is next, i.e. belt-tightening on a massive scale and serious consideration on filing for bankruptcy.
And this is only the first trial. As the first letter explained, there is another one in the offing... For a diocese that is largely rural outside of the Quad Cities and Iowa City, this is going to be very tough for everyone.