Blogger Kristen Byrne is in the courtroom at the Philadelphia Archdiocese priest-abuse trial.
The mother of an accuser who gave an emotional testimony last week about his alleged abuse by a priest in the Philadelphia Archdiocese took the stand on Wednesday.
The woman told the jury that Rev. James Brennan was like a member of the family, and would come over for Sunday dinners frequently. She said she met Brennan at a very difficult time in her life when she was caring for her ailing mother and raising three children. "We hit it off," she said.
The witness said that it wasn't unusual for her sons to take trips with Brennan, but the victim left her "perplexed" during a phone call in the summer of 1996 while staying at Brennan's apartment in West Chester. She said her son called her and sounded "uncomfortable," but refused to have his mother pick him up.
The accuser later told his mother that the overnight stay with Brennan was "just weird," and would only tell her that they slept in the same bed.
Brennan was later confronted by the accuser's mother and father. According to the woman he said, "something inappropriate happened, and it will never happen again." She said when they probed him for more information on the incident, Brennan told her to ask her son.
The woman said she "regrettably" did not break off ties with Brennan after the 1996 incident with her son. "I will never forgive myself for it," she said.
The accuser testified last week alleging that Brennan sexually molested him when he was 14-years-old. The victim said that his issues with drugs, mental illness and suicide attempts were partially as a result of the events that transpired with Brennan.
Brennan's attorney, Billy Brennan, no relation, asked the woman about financial woes the family was experiencing in 2005. The defender questioned the woman on financial assistance from the archdiocese that was provided after the victim's abuse claim.
Last week's testimony was by the first victim in the trial whose claim falls within the statute of limitations. Brennan is being charged with the attempted rape of this man, and for endangering the welfare of a child.
Brennan is on trial with Monsignor William Lynn, the first church official in the U.S. to be charged with conspiracy of endangering the welfare of children through burying allegations of molestation by members in the priesthood, and refusing to remove accused priests from the ministry.