A Philadelphia priest has been charged with sexually molesting an altar boy, starting when he was 11 years old. District Attorney Seth Williams detailed the charges against Father Robert Brennan in a recent news conference, those charges included rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse and aggravated sexual assault. Brennan was placed on administrative leave, but retains his collar, he has not been booted from his position as an ordained minister. Brennan, now 75, is suspected of abusing more than 20 children, but according to experts, the statute of limitations has expired in the majority of cases.
Brennan’s accuser is a 26-year old Philadelphia man who alleges that the priest sexually molested him between 1998 and 2001 when he was an altar boy at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Northeast Philadelphia. Two other unidentified claimants were also reportedly assaulted at the same church. The three men are planning on filing a separate case against the Philadelphia Archdiocese when their legal case against Brennan is done.
The lawyer representing all three men told the press, “Brennan … brought these boys into his fold and acted loving toward them. The abuse wasn’t decades ago. There was abuse going on in this century. The constant theme by the archdiocese (is) that this is all in the past and this is just not true”
While we’re at it, we might as well mention another local priest named Brennan, no relation. Reverend James J. Brennan is being retried on rape charges when a jury deadlocked on his case. This Brennan was accused of trying to molest a 14-year old boy at his apartment. He admits that he wrestled with the boy, slept with him (not in the Biblical sense) and let him watch pornography, but denies actually molesting the boy.
According to District Attorney Seth Williams (who is seemingly popular in these priest sex abuse scandals), “James Brennan used his position as a priest to prey upon and victimize this young man. It is extremely important that Brennan be held accountable for his crime, not just for his victim but for all victims of sexual abuse.”
Both of these cases play into the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the high-ranking Catholic official who was found guilty in 2012 of allowing sex abuse to continue within the Philadelphia Archdiocese. In fact, the corruption likely goes even higher, as Lynn claimed that he had informed his immediate superior, Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, and was instructed not to act. Bevilacqua died before the case went to trial, but Lynn’s own lawyer told the court, “in this trial, you have seen the dark side of the church.”
Nicholas P. Cafardi, a professor of law at Duquesne University, who routinely consults on religious cases, says, “I think that bishops and chancery officials understand that they will no longer get a pass on these types of crimes. Priests who sexually abuse youngsters and the chancery officials who enabled it can expect criminal prosecution.”
So there you go, not one, not two, but three cases, all related, for your Horror Show Sunday perusal. It might have even been four, had one of them not dropped dead. And people dare to say that religion doesn’t harm anyone.