Documents Of Accused Priest Read In Court - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Documents Of Accused Priest Read In Court

Posted: Updated: May 8, 2012

Documents from the file of an accused priest were read to the jury in a clergy-abuse case involving the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

On Tuesday, Detective James Dougherty read numerous documents outlining Rev. James Brennan's assignments and leave of absence from the archdiocese. The documents spanned from 1989, which was the year Brennan was ordained, to 2006.

In 1995, complaints began to surface regarding Brennan's "inappropriate behavior" at Divine Providence Village, where he both resided and served as chaplain. There had been reports of a younger man living with him, whom he claimed to be his nephew, and later his cousin.

According to a memorandum filed by Monsignor William Lynn, Brennan confronted him requesting a leave of absence from the ministry in 1996. Brennan said he was leaving for personal reasons; to face his issues with sexual and emotional abuse. However, in Brennan's 2008 canonical testimony read last week, the jurors heard that Brennan denied claims that he ever experienced sexual abuse as a child.

Brennan returned to active ministry after a year of working and accumulating $15,000 worth of credit card debt, in which the archdiocese took care of temporarily. He joined St. Jerome Parish as a parochial vicar, but in 2000 decided he wanted to work at a monastery in South Carolina.

Brennan wrote to Lynn nine months after living in South Carolina, and asked to return to the Philadelphia Archdiocese. He said he had issues with monastic life, which included tending to a chicken coop and early hours of prayer.

"I think too much of me is being wasted on the chickens," he said.

According to Lynn's memo, Brennan came back to active ministry in Philadelphia. Before he could submit a request to transfer to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, allegations that he sexually abused a minor arose in 2006.

Brennan is charged with the attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy in 1996. This is the only victim that has come forward in Brennan's case. Lynn is also on trial with Brennan and is charged with conspiracy in endangering the welfare of a child through shuffling accused priests to unwitting parishes. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

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