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Defense Challenges Evidence In Priest Abuse Trial

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By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Defense lawyers have cross-examined a detective and school administrator in connection with scores of church documents related to defendant Father James Brennan.

Defense lawyer Richard J. Fuschino used some of the same documents from the church’s secret archives, even letters reporting Father Brennan’s alleged abuse of a teenager in 1996 to prosecutors in Chester, Bucks and Montgomery Counties, to make his points.

Fuschino noted to Detective James Dougherty – and jurors – that the Archdiocese was quick to remove Father Brennan from ministry, when the alleged victim came forward.

Brennan’s defense has already characterized that alleged victim as a liar who made it up, 10-years after the incident, to help pay off bills or excuse his troubled past, which included drug use and petty crimes.

Dr. Thomas O’Brien, a former Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese, testified when he was a Guidance Director at Cardinal O’Hara High School, in Springfield, he caught Brennan, a faculty member, ‘wrestling’ with a student. But under cross-examination, while he said it wasn’t appropriate and he chewed Brennan out, the horseplay wasn’t sexual in nature.

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