“The Irene Garza murder case is a clear abuse of trust in the confessional.” said an expert witness who studies abuse within the Catholic church.
Key witness Thomas Doyle is an inactive priest who dedicates his time to helping women and children who are victims of abuse by catholic priests.
During his three hours on the stand Doyle explained to the jury common practices the church had in the early 60s. Some of those included having a screen separating the priest from the person in confession. Church officials making agreements with authorities to avoid having priests prosecuted for crimes they committed.
He told jurors the church considered priests to be privileged and would rather handle abuse cases in-house. He also said this is one of the reasons the 85-year-old Feit was never prosecuted in Irene Garza’s murder.
Jurors also heard testimony from another expert witness with decades of research into the rise of sexual abuse cases in the Catholic church. Prosecutors used his testimony to help jurors better understand Feit’s alleged actions in 1960.
The defendant faces up to 99 years in state prison if he’s found guilty of murder. The trial is expected to conclude next week.