The District Attorney’s office will retry the Rev. James Brennan on attempted rape and endangering children charges.
When that trial will occur and who will preside will be decided on Aug. 14 in Courtroom 905 of the Criminal Justice Center. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington announced the DA’s decision in court this morning.
A mistrial was declared on June 22 when jurors told Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina they were deadlocked on the two charges the priest faced.
Prosecutors had said Brennan had tried to rape a Bucks County 14-year-old boy after showing him Internet porn sites. The alleged victim, now an adult, testified against Brennan. The priest’s attorney, William Brennan, had told jurors that the witness had a criminal record that included lying to police and that the young man’s family was trying to get money from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
No matter when the Brennan’s new trial begins, it almost certainly will conclude faster than the one that ended with a hung jury on June 22. That trial began March 26, and included scores of witnesses and the readings of hundreds of documents. However, almost all of the prosecutorial effort was aimed at Brennan’s co-defendant, Monsignor William Lynn, who was found guilty of one charge of endangering children but acquitted of conspiracy as well as another endangering charge.
Lynn is the first high-ranking Roman Catholic administrator in the United States arrested on charges he shielded priests that he had known were molesters. An investigating grand jury said Lynn had investigated Brennan and the Rev. Edward Avery and knew they had molested minors but kept them in their ministries where they would continue to have contact with juveniles.
Grand jurors said Lynn therefore was responsible for the crimes they said the two men committed after Lynn had investigated them. Avery, now defrocked, was to have gone on trial with Brennan and Lynn, but he pleaded guilty and is already imprisoned.
Lynn will be sentenced 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 24, in CJC Courtroom 304, 13th and Filbert streets. He faces three and a half to seven years in prison. ••