Philly.com: A Catholic priest whose alleged sexual abuse of teen and preteen boys figured prominently in last year’s trial of a Philadelphia church official was arrested Thursday on sex-abuse charges.
The arrest of the Rev. Robert Brennan, 75 – confirmed by a source close to the case – is to be announced at a news conference this morning by District Attorney Seth Williams.
Though Brennan was not charged as a result of the 2011 county grand jury report on clergy sex-abuse of children in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the source said Brennan has been accused by a man, now in his 20s, of sexually molesting him between the ages of 11 and 14.
The allegations against Brennan surfaced at last year’s trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Catholic church official convicted for his supervisory role in covering up the conduct of pedophile priests.
Prosecutors introduced details of Brennan’s case to show that Lynn and other Archdiocesan officials had a longstanding practice of moving abusive priests to different parishes where they were then able to prey on a new group of children.
Lynn, 62, was found guilty of one count of child endangerment and is serving a three- to six-year prison term in the state prison at Waymart in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
According to trial testimony and documents, Brennan, who was ordained in 1964, engaged in inappropriate or suspicious behavior with more than 20 boys from 1988 to 2004 at parishes in Philadelphia and Bucks and Montgomery Counties.
Archdiocesan officials had Brennan undergo repeated psychological evaluations but transferred from one parish to another.
He was advised by Archdiocesan leaders to “keep a low profile” but he was not barred from contact with young people.
The late Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua testified before the grand jury that he considered Brennan’s problems “innocuous-sounding boundary issues.”
Brennan is not related to the Rev. James J. Brennan, who was tried with Lynn and faces retrial after the jury could not reach a verdict in his case.