Priest Accused of Rape and Abuse in Philadelphia and New Jersey

A Philadelphia area priest with a checkered past has been arrested, after being accused of raping an altar boy. “In a grand jury presentation in 2005, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office revealed allegations against Father Robert Brennan, now 75, that included more than 20 alleged child sex abuse victims. All of the cases were beyond the statute of limitations, and Brennan was never charged in that case.

“In this new case, Brennan is charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and aggravated indecent assault in connection with alleged incidents that took place between 1998 and 2001 when the victim was 11 to 14 years old.” source Marci Hamilton is the current victim, who is now 26 years old. He first reported the sustained abuse in January of 2013 to the archdiocese who then immediately told authorities. The archdiocese is a governing regional body of the church presided over by an Archbishop. It is important not to confuse it with the diocese which is a district under supervision of a Bishop and broken up into Parishes.

“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.” source Although Brennan was given restrictions in 2005 by the church, he still continued to practice as a priest. “According to a grand jury report which revealed accusations of sexual wrongdoing against dozens of priests, the archdiocese reassigned Brennan from parish to parish without warning his supervisors, even after sending him for psychiatric treatment or counseling four times.” source

The priest is alleged to have committed the latest acts of abuse at the Resurrection of Our Lord Church in northeastern Pennsylvania. However, abuse of multiple victims can be traced back to 1990 when he was presiding at a Pennsylvania Catholic school. The earlier incidences failed to be reported because of the inaction of Monsignor William Lynn who is now the disgraced secretary of the clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

According to the District Attorney, “Lynn failed to remove Brennan from his job at Resurrection parish after the pastor told him that staff saw Brennan inappropriately touching and wrestling boys.” source “The case of Brennan is another example of how the Monsignor William Lynn shielded predator priests from exposure and prosecution, which led to the victimization of countless Philadelphia children.” source

Brennan was arrested in Maryland where he was currently residing. He will be extradited and the archdiocese is currently petitioning his membership in the priesthood to the Vatican.

This scandal comes in the wake of two other priest related abuse cases:

“On Thursday, another Pennsylvania priest was charged with molesting a 15-year-old boy after cops say he was caught in the act. Father W. Jeffrey Paulish was allegedly found with the boy, who was not wearing pants, on the Penn State University campus.” source “The Rev. W. Jeffrey Paulish was charged with one felony count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one felony count of unlawful contact with a minor after Dunmore police say they found him and the boy on Thursday in a car on the Worthington Scranton campus of Penn State University, according to the complaint.” source According to police, Paulish initially said he was working on his homily when they arrived to find the boy in emotional distress. However, shortly after he admitted to having arranged the meeting after finding the teen through the ‘casual encounters’ section of Craigslist.

Paulish is currently being held at the Lackawanna County Jail on $50,000 bail.

Another Priest in Trenton, New Jersey has recently been removed from his post after officials learned he was sexting with a 16-year-old boy. However, the diocese allegedly kept the history of the priest’s actions hidden until he continued inappropriate conversation after receiving counseling. “After the diocese received initial complaints about Rev. Matthew Riedlinger’s inappropriate sexual conversations, he entered outpatient treatment, according to church leadership. In August 2012, the Diocese of Trenton removed him from his Jackson post after church officials learned that he continued to have sexual text conversations.” source

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