Sixteen years after alleged abuse, tearful witness faces priest at Philadelphia trial

A 30-year-old accuser took the stand today in the sexual abuse trial of Philadelphia priest Reverend James Brennan, who is charged with assaulting the man when he was a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

The accuser broke into tears a numbers of times while describing the molestation he alleges he suffered at the hands of Father James Brennan.  He said when he was a boy his family had a close relationship with Brennan — often inviting him into their home for dinner and parties.  He said in the years after the encounter with Brennan, his grades fell and he used drugs and alcohol.  

Brennan’s lawyer attempted to question the accuser’s credibility, mentioning his struggle with mental health issues and substance abuse.  The lawyer also thoroughly grilled the witness on why he remembered what Brennan was wearing during an encounter — but not the date it happened.The accuser also talked about his interaction with a victim assistance representative sent by the Archdiocese.  He said that representative seems more interested in protecting Brennan.Brennan, who sat quietly during the testimony, is on trial with Monsignor William Lynn.  Lynn is accused of  transferring priests accused of sexual abuse to unsuspecting parishes.  Both men have pleaded not guilty.

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