|County Judge Tosses Priest's Conviction
" No Reason to Pursue an Innocent Man," Brother Says
By Robert Gavin
Albany Times Union
April 8, 2009
FONDA — A Catholic priest already acquitted of sexually abusing three boys in Montgomery County was cleared of a remaining child endangerment charge Wednesday as he arrived to be sentenced.
The Rev. John W. Broderick, 48, walked into Montgomery County Court facing up to a year in jail. He left with no conviction on his record. Judge Felix J. Catena vacated the endangerment charge, a misdemeanor, after the priest's attorney filed a motion to toss the conviction.
"His Easter came a few days early," said Broderick's Long Island-based lawyer, Bruce A. Barket, noting the exoneration took place during Holy Week, which precedes Easter. "He'll be very happy."
While the priest could not be reached, his brother, Michael Broderick, told the Times Union the case never should have been brought. He said his brother passed a lie detector test three times.
"Of course, we're elated," he said. "There's no reason to pursue an innocent man and waste all that money ."
Broderick was most recently assigned to St. Malachy's Roman Catholic Church in Sherburne, Chenango County, said Danielle Cummings, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.
He was arrested Feb. 25, 2008, at the Holy Name of Jesus Academy in Massena, St. Lawrence County.
Police accused Broderick of molesting three boys in Palatine, Montgomery County, between late 2006 and early 2007. He was charged with sexual course of conduct against a child. Late in the trial, after the defense rested its case, the judge added the endangerment charge as a lesser-included offense.
Broderick had faced up to seven years in prison if convicted of molesting the boys.
The children, ages 6, 8 and 12 as of February, all testified against Broderick on closed-circuit television.
The priest's former attorney, Mark Blum, argued their testimony was unreliable. He noted one of the children previously said Broderick did nothing wrong. Blum cast the boys' father as a vindictive man upset at Broderick, who had become his wife's "spiritual adviser."
In court papers, Barket, Broderick's new attorney, said the child testified the only "bad touch" from Broderick was the occasional pat on the backside lasting "about one or two seconds" while his clothes were on and other people were around in a living room.
Barket argued the endangerment charge was not appropriate and should not have been allowed as a lesser-included offense for the jury to consider.
District Attorney James Conboy wrote a letter to the judge dated March 30 stating it was "factually impossible" to commit the felony sexual abuse charge without also endangering a child. He asked Catena to deny the priest's motion.
Through his secretary, Conboy declined comment on the judge's decision Wednesday.
Broderick remains suspended by the Syracuse Diocese for "administrative differences" unrelated to the criminal case, Cummings said.
Robert Gavin can be reached at 434-2403 or email@example.com.
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