THE BUCKS COUNTY mother was perplexed.

Her 14-year-old son was visibly shaken after spending the night with the Rev. James Brennan in 1996, she said. The boy clung to his mother and refused to sleep alone in his bed. But he wouldn't tell her what happened at the priest's apartment, she said.

Brennan, an inspiring priest and friend so close she considered him a brother, was just as evasive when she and her husband pressed him days later for answers, she told a Common Pleas jury Wednesday.

"He said something inappropriate happened and it will never happen again," she said.

Prosecutors called the woman in a bid to bolster their claim that Brennan tried to rape the teen. They say his co-defendant, Monsignor William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, knew or had reason to suspect that Brennan would sexually abuse minors.

Both men pleaded not guilty.

The woman's testimony came a week after her son, now 30, spent two tense days on the witness stand, the first describing the night of the alleged attack and a second battling claims by the priest's attorney that he made up the story because he was jealous of the priest or desperate for money.

She told jurors Wednesday that she didn't learn what happened until her son tried to kill himself years later. "He was in the emergency room and that's when the details emerged and everything started to come together," she said.

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