Behind bars:Philly priest accused of raping 11-year-old altar boy

Posted Sep 29, 2013 by Yukio Strachan
Bail is set at $1 million for a Philadelphia priest accused of raping an 11-year-old altar boy over a period of four years.
Robert Brennan  a Catholic priest  has been arrested on charges that include raping an altar boy.
Robert Brennan, a Catholic priest, has been arrested on charges that include raping an altar boy.
Screenshot via video
“It takes tremendous courage for any sexual assault victim, especially young boys, to come forward and report the horrors they endured, particularly if it happened over the course of several years,” Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams said at a Sept. 26 press conference, CNA reported.
“A serial predator is now behind bars, thanks to the brave actions of this young man."
Father Robert Brennan, 75, was arrested late Wednesday at a private home in Perryville, Maryland, where he has been living for much of the last eight years since Cardinal Justin Rigali relieved Brennan of his assignments Sept. 25, 2005 following a scathing 418-page grand jury report regarding sex abuse by priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese.
“During the tenure of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the archdiocese was notified that Brennan had sexually or inappropriately touched more than 20 boys, many from the schools or the parishes where he was assigned,” Williams said.
But all of the cases were beyond the statute of limitations, Williams said, and Brennan could not be charged.
How new charges surfaced
Nevertheless, that investigation led to last year's trial of Monsignor William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic supervisor in the country convicted for his role in covering up the conduct of pedophile priests, CNN reported.
During the trial, prosecutors introduced details of Brennan’s history to show that Lynn and others in the archdiocese had a longstanding practice of protecting abusive priests by moving them to different parishes rather than protecting victims and notifying authorities.
According to, it was Lynn's trial that encouraged a 26-year-old man to contact archdiocesan officials in January 2013 alleging while Brennan was an assistant pastor he had sexually assaulted him between 1998 and 2001 from ages 11 to 14 when he was an altar boy at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Northeast Philadelphia.
"The assaults took place in the sacristy of the church, in Rev. Brennan's bedroom, in the rectory, in a storage area on parish property and in a movie theater," said Williams.
In this new case, Brennan is charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and aggravated indecent assault, Williams said.
"Because of William Lynn and others in the archdiocese, Brennan, until today, escaped prosecution for his decades long sexual abuse of boys whom he encountered as a priest," Williams said.
A preliminary hearing has been set for October 17th, CBS news reported.
'They don't want to land in jail'
Williams commended Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and the diocese for its swift action in bringing the allegations to prosecutors, calling it a "sea change" for the archdiocese, according to NBC Philadelphia.
"The victim reported Brennan’s abuse to the archdiocese in January of 2013 and the archdiocese then immediately -- and by that immediately I mean the same day -- contacted the district attorney’s office," he said.
The Survivors Network of those Abused said there was a good reason for that.
"The Philly church officials turned this child predator over to law enforcement only because they were forced to do so, they don't want to land in jail along with Msgr Lynn," said Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director.