Philly Priest Charged with Raping Altar Boy; D.A. Again Rips Former Archdiocese Execs
September 26, 2013
A former longtime priest in the Philadelphia Archdiocese has been arrested on charges of raping an altar boy, and District Attorney Seth Williams said it is both a sign of how the church has changed in terms of reporting crime, and another troubling sign of the way the issue used to be handled.
The Rev. Robert L. Brennan, 75, who had several assignments in Delaware County during his career, was arrested in Perryville, Md., Wednesday afternoon and faces an extradition hearing Thursday afternoon. Brennan has been living in Maryland since he was suspended following a 2005 grand jury report.
Williams said Brennan has been charged with the rape of an altar while he was an assistant pastor at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in the Rhawnhurst section of Northeast Philadelphia from 1998 to 2001.
ďA serial predator is now behind bars thanks to brave actions of this young man,Ē said Williams.
Williams said the alleged assaults included penetration and oral sex.
The district attorney congratulated current archdiocese officials for immediately notifying authorities when they learned of the allegations against Brennan. Williams also castigated former archdiocese officials, in particular Monsignor William Lynn, for failing to stop Brennan despite clear evidence of a troubling pattern of behavior.
Lynn became the first high-ranking church administrator in the nation to be convicted in connection with the priest-abuse scandal. He is serving three to five years for endangering the welfare of children, but continues to appeal the decision and seek a new trial.
Brennan, who was 60 when the alleged attacks began, assaulted the boy from when the child was 11 to 14 years old. He faces charges of rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse and aggravated sexual assault.
At the time of the grand jury report in 2005, prosecutors said it was too late to pursue complaints that went back decades.
But accusers now have more time to pursue charges, and a new accuser says Brennan sexually assaulted him from 1998 to 2001, starting when he was 11.
District Attorney Seth Williams says he would have also charged Lynn with child endangerment for allegedly hiding the earlier complaints, but the statute for that charge had expired.
Brennanís first assignment after being ordained in May 1964 was as assistant pastor at St. Pius X parish in Marple where he served from June 1964 until June 1970. From June 1981 to June 1986, he was assistant pastor at St. George parish in Glenolden. Brennanís other assignments in Delaware County included associate director of the Catholic Youth Organization Regional 13 Mid-Delaware County district from June 1968 to June 1970 and chaplain at Archbishop Prendergast High School for Girls in the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby from January 1986 to June 1986.