Friday, August 22, 2014
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Priest's retrial off until next June

Defense asked for more time for investigation.

Priest's retrial off until next June

A judge has granted another postponement in the retrial of Fr. James J. Brennan, charged with attempted rape and child endangerment in an alleged 1996 incident involving a 14-year-old boy.
A judge has granted another postponement in the retrial of Fr. James J. Brennan, charged with attempted rape and child endangerment in an alleged 1996 incident involving a 14-year-old boy.

Joseph A.Slobodzian / Inquirer Staff Writer

The oft-delayed retrial of the Rev. James J. Brennan -- the former Philadelphia Catholic priest charged with attempted rape and child endangerment in an alleged 1996 incident involving a 14-year-old boy – has been delayed once more.

Jury selection was supposed to have begun Monday before Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Robert P. Coleman but defense attorney William J. Brennan Jr. – not related – asked for a continuance for “further investigation.”

Coleman agreed and set a new trial date of June 16 but marked the case “must be tried.” In judge-speak: no more postponements.

Brennan, 50, was one of the five original people – a monsignor, three priests and a parochial schoolteacher -- charged in 2011 following a county grand jury investigation of how officials of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia handled child sex-abuse complaints against priests.

The others have all been convicted and sentenced to prison but a Philadelphia jury in June 2012 was unable to reach a verdict on the charges against Brennan. Brennan remains free on $95,000 bail while awaiting retrial.

In another case, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office says it will decide this week whether to pursue charges against the Rev. Robert L. Brennan, the 75-year-old former Philadelphia Catholic priest charged in September with the rape of a Northeast altar boy from 1998 to 2001 when the boy was 11 to 14 years old. Brennan is not related to Father James Brennan or his lawyer.

The future of the case against Fr. Robert Brennan came into doubt last week after the complaining witness, now 26, was found dead of what was ruled an accidental drug overdose.

About this blog
Inquirer reporter Joe Slobodzian covers the courts and writes about the people who find themselves there and what they face.

You can reach Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or jslobodzian@phillynews.com. Reach Joseph A. at jslobodzian@phillynews.com.

Joseph A. Slobodzian
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