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Cottage Grove casting agent sentenced for sexual contact with juvenile clients

A Cottage Grove man who ran a casting company was sentenced to nine years in prison for having sexual contact with two brothers for whom he had provided casting opportunities.

Matthew D. Feeney, 44, was sentenced Friday by Washington County District Court Judge Gary Schurrer and turned over to the custody of the state prison in St. Cloud.

Feeney ran Bloomington-based Walden Entertainment, a movie and TV casting company with juvenile clients. In 2007 he befriended the boys’ parents and later provided the brothers casting opportunities and acting classes, according to the criminal complaint.

Feeney became a close family friend and was trusted by the boys’ mother. She allowed Feeney to take the boys to his home, where they would watch movies, play video games, sleep overnight and even spend weekends.

The eldest brother later told authorities that Feeney molested him while they were at Feeney’s home watching a movie in May 2009. The boy was 14 at the time, and he told investigators similar incidents happened six to seven times over a two-year period, always at Feeney’s home. During a similar time period, Feeney similarly molested the younger brother, who was 9 when the sexual contact started, the complaint says. Neither brother knew what was happening to the other.

The boys’ mother learned of the crimes after the younger son became upset when she was posting family photos on Facebook. He told her he didn’t like people looking at his body. He broke down and told her of Feeney’s actions. Then the older brother told their mother Feeney also had touched him inappropriately.

Feeney pleaded guilty in March to second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a victim under the age of 13 and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct while in a position of authority.

Feeney will be placed on lifetime conditional release after serving the prison sentence, according to the sentencing order.

Court records show Feeney was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in Aitkin County in 1992. Also, in a case that is still pending, Feeney is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Massachusetts.

Assistant county attorneys Imran Ali and Siv Yurichuk prosecuted the Washington County case against Feeney.

“We are thankful that the victims can now put this dreadful episode of their lives behind them and, hopefully, begin the healing process,” Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said. “In the meantime, this defendant will be in a place where he will not be able to repeat this reprehensible act.” 

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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