A priest accused of attempting to rape a Bucks County teen in the 1990s will be retried in March in a Philadelphia court.
A jury could not reach a decision on the attempted rape and child endangerment charges against the Rev. James Brennan after a three-month trial this spring. Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Coleman on Aug. 29 set the retrial date for March 6 in Courtroom 1001 in the Criminal Justice Center.
Brennan went on trial March 26 along with Monsignor William Lynn, an archdiocesan administrator charged with facilitating molestations by Brennan and by the Rev. Edward Avery. The week before the trial began, Avery pleaded guilty to molesting a 10-year-old altar boy in the late 1990s at St. Jerome’s R.C. Church in the Northeast.
Most of the proceedings focused not on Brennan, but on how the city’s Roman Catholic archdiocese and Lynn handled investigations of priests accused of molesting minors.
Brennan’s attorney, William Brennan — who is not related to the clergyman — attacked a witness who said the priest had molested him as a liar, criminal and opportunist who was looking for a payoff from the archdiocese.
Jurors were hung on the charges against Brennan, but they convicted Lynn of one child endangerment charge. Lynn was acquitted of child endangerment in regard to his handling of Brennan’s case and also found not guilty of conspiracy. Lynn later was sentenced to three to six years imprisonment.
Brennan, Lynn and Avery were three of five defendants arrested in early 2011 after a grand jury released its report on sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic clergy in the Philadelphia archdiocese.Also arrested were the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former St. Jerome’s parish school teacher Bernard Shero. Those two are scheduled to go on trial this week. Avery was sentenced to two and a half to five years imprisonment. EndFragment