|Beloved Marine Park Priest Accused of Sexual Assault
By Thomas Tracy
October 17, 2011
A retired Marine Park priest with close ties to District Attorney Charles Hynes was arrested on Friday and charged with trying to have inappropriate sexual contact with two teenage boys in the church's Batchelder Street rectory.
Police arrested Msgr. Thomas Brady, the former pastor of Good Shepherd Church on Batchelder Street between Avenues S and T, on Oct. 14, claiming the 77-year-old had made sexual advances toward the two parish teens at two different times on the same day. The alleged attacks took place earlier in the week, police sources said.
Hynes will not take the case, citing a conflict of interest, and has punted the prosecution of Brady to the Staten Island district attorney, Dan Donovan.
Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for Hynes, said the Brooklyn DA couldn't take the case because he and Brady, who was an Fire Department chaplain when Hynes was the FDNY commissioner, were "longtime acquaintances."
Police sources say one of the victims complained about Msgr. Brady's alleged misconduct to the Brooklyn Diocese on Thursday.
As the Diocese investigated, it found a second victim, who claimed Brady had tried to sexually abuse him hours after the first attack.
The Diocese forwarded its information to Hynes, who charged Brady with attempting a "criminal sex act" before handing the case over to Staten Island prosecutors. Brady was released on $2,000 bond on Friday.
The Diocese put Brady on administrative leave, meaning the septuagenarian, who is listed in the parish weekly bulletin as the church's Pastor Emeritus, was "not permitted to present himself as a priest, celebrate mass or administer the sacraments," Msgr. Raymond Chappetto explained Sunday as he read a letter from Bishop DiMarzio to parishioners.
"Msgr. Brady is known and loved by so many of you," DiMarzio said in his letter. "It is my prayer that this would sustain him and you during this difficult time."
Brady, who retired in 2009 after 20 years as pastor but still resides in the church rectory, has refused to speak to reporters and couldn't be found at the church on Sunday.
Parishioners couldn't fathom that their former spiritual leader, who had suffered two strokes over the last few years and is currently undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer — did what the victims claim.
"I can't believe [Brady] could do something like this to a child … he loves kids," explained Marine Park resident Connie Donahue outside of Good Shepherd Church on Sunday. "He put this parish together after 9-11 because we lost so many firefighters here. I'm hoping [the charges] are a mistake."
Parishioner Pat Davis agreed. Msgr. Brady is too sick to accost anyone, she said.
"He's almost 80 and has had numerous strokes," she said. "If he was in a nursing home, none of this would have happened. I guess anything is possible. But I doubt this is true."
Another parishioner, who wished not to be named, also shot down the teens' claims, but was open to the possibility that Brady's illness may have caused "some kind of breakdown."
"I know him pretty well," the woman said. "This is not him."
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