Breaking news: Clergyman to be retried on abuse charges

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. •• 

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