July 28, 2016 11:00 PM
Two Minnesota brothers who were sexually abused by a local casting director, have been awarded more than $2 million in damages by a Hennepin County jury.
Matthew Feeney was convicted in 2014. He's currently serving time in prison.
In an emotional meeting with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, the brothers explain why they hope speaking out will keep other kids from becoming victims.
The brothers don't want to share their names, but they did show us their faces because Matthew Feeney no longer has power over them. For this story will refer to them as they are mentioned in court documents. The older brother is John Doe 101, the younger John Doe 102.
"When I heard that, that um, that it happened to him too, I felt kind of responsible, for not telling anyone" says a distraught John Doe 101. “And I kind of kick myself all the time about it because I could have stopped it.”
The abuse happened years ago but the pain is still real. These brothers were young actors when they were molested by talent agent Matthew Feeney. How did he gain their trust? John Doe 102 says “Well he was just a fun person, you know."
“Matthew Feeney is a very dangerous man. He is a serial predator who should never, ever have access to children again,” said attorney Patrick Noaker.
Noaker says Feeney seemed like a great guy and even attended family events.
"This man was funny, charming even silly on many occasions. And those characteristics are very attractive to children. And also don't raise the concern of parents. And that's what happened here," said Noaker.
The boys say Feeney took control. John Doe 101 says they never talked with each other about being abused. "But neither of us had heard each other’s story about what had happened until the trial itself."
"I didn't know he was like the same exact situation" adds John Doe 102.
But now the brothers are asking other victims of abuse to do what they did not.
“They should tell anybody that they can" said John Doe 2.
John Doe 101 agrees.
“Tell someone you think you can trust and if they don't believe you tell another person," said John Doe 101.
The boys rejected a settlement offer. They said the jury's award acknowledges they are victims.
“The judgment, yeah it's X amount of dollars,” said John Does 101. “But I would trade anything for it not to happen.”
Court documents show in the early 1990s Matthew Feeney was convicted of abusing three children in Aitkin and Stearns counties.
But nobody knew about it because unlike some states, Minnesota does not require background checks for casting directors who work with children. The family of the two boys say they will work with lawmakers to try and change that.
Updated: July 28, 2016 11:00 PM
Created: July 28, 2016 02:23 PM
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