Almost 3-1/2 years after a Philadelphia jury said it could not reach a verdict in the sex-assault trial of former Catholic priest James J. Brennan, the retrial of the 52-year-old has been put off again.
Again, as in the sixth time since June 22, 2012, when a Common Pleas Court jury hung. On Friday, Assistant District Attorney Meghan Goddard and defense lawyer William J. Brennan – not related to his client – met with Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright and decided that Jan. 4 would no longer work for what is estimated to be a three-day jury trial. Instead, the parties will meet on Jan. 4 and decide on a new trial date.
No legal issues or problems caused the delay, just the usual scheduling conflicts.
Brennan is charged with attempted rape and child endangerment in an alleged 1996 incident involving a 14-year-old boy.
Brennan was one of the five original people – a monsignor, three priests and a parochial schoolteacher -- charged in 2011 following a county grand jury investigation into how officials of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia handled child sex-abuse complaints against priests.
This was the same trial in which Msgr. William J. Lynn, an archdiocesan official, was convicted of child endangerment for his supervisory role investigating and recommending discipline against priests accused of sexually abusing children.
Lynn, 64, who was secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, is serving a three- to six-year prison term in the state prison at Waymart in Northeastern Pennsylvania while awaiting a decision from the state Superior Court on his second round of appeals.
The others have all been convicted and sentenced but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charges against Brennan. Brennan remains free on $95,000 bail while awaiting retrial.