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Two sex abuse victims have been awarded more two million dollars by a Hennepin County jury because of the abuse they suffered from a local casting director, Matthew Feeney.
After three and a half hours of deliberations on Wednesday, the jury awarded the money to the victims, who are brothers.
The 48-year old man is currently serving a 9 year prison sentence in Moose Lake, after pleading guilty in 2013 to molesting the brothers in Washington County. They were clients of his Bloomington talent agency, Walden Entertainment, where he casted children in movie and television roles.
The victims are now 21 and 16 years old. Feeney befriended the brothers and their parents in the fall of 2007 when he started giving the boys casting opportunities and acting classes. The abuse occurred at Feeney's home when he had the boys over to coach them on acting skills, watch movies and play video games.
The mother of the victims said she had no knowledge of Feeney's previous sex abuse convictions when she met him.
Feeney was convicted of those crimes in 1992 when he was a camp counselor and Catholic youth pastor. He received probation and was sent to treatment.
Attorney Patrick Noaker, who represented the brothers, said the jury verdict is rare in these types of cases.
"This guy was a serial abuser and there should be no more families put in the position of this family," Noaker told Fox 9 News.
The 21-year old victim was awarded $974,281 and the 16-year old $1,098,796 for past and future emotional distress and health care costs.
Mike McDonald the lawyer who represented Feeney has not returned calls from Fox 9 for comment.
FEENEY BEING SENT TO MASS TO FACE CHARGES
Feeney will soon be sent to Massachusetts to face charges for the sexual assault of a 14-year old boy, five years after the accusations were made.
He is charged with one count of rape of a child aggravated by age and two counts of indecent assault and battery.
He waived extradition on Friday in Carlton county court.
Prosecutors allege the incident occurred while Feeney was visiting the home of the boy's family in Norton, MA.
Feeney pleaded not guilty and posted $25,000 cash bail before returning to Minnesota in 2012.
The victim reported the alleged abuse soon after it occurred but it has taken several years for the east coast prosecutors to get to this point.
The victim's family said circumstances beyond the control of the county attorney's office have delayed a trial.
For instance, Feeney's attorney at the time was J. W. Carney. He was representing James Whitey Bulger, a former organized crime boss from Boston. Bulger had just been captured after years on the run from murder and racketeering charges. Also one of only two judges in Bristol County was hearing the murder case of former New England Patriot, Aaron Hernandez.
"It's a relief, we have been waiting a long time," said the mother of the now 19-year old victim. "It's important for the victim and his family to be allowed the right to closure and healing".
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