Reporting Steve Tawa
Filed underCrime and Justice, Heard On, Local, News, Philadelphia, Seen on, Syndicated Local, Watch + Listen
By Steve Tawa and Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office announced on Monday that it will retry the Reverend James Brennan, after a jury was deadlocked in June on his portion of the priest sex-abuse case.
Father Brennan was the co-defendant in the landmark trial centering on Monsignor William Lynn. Lynn was the highest ranking U.S. church official ever to be convicted of a single count of child endangerment, for shuttling a predator priest to various parishes. He was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday for his handling of abuse claims.
The jury couldn’t agree on attempted rape and endangerment charges against Brennan, after the presiding Judge, Teresa Sarmina, had earlier dismissed a separate conspiracy count. Brennan is accused of trying to rape a 14-year old boy in 1996.
But defense lawyer William J. Brennan says it’s ‘puzzling’ to him that prosecutors want to press the case further, ‘as if another jury could do a better job.’ He refers to Juror #7 in the priest abuse case, who reportedly told a blogger that jurors had voted 11-1 to acquit Father Brennan of the attempted rape charge:
“(The District Attorney’s office) is not disputing it was an 11-1 vote to acquit,” says Brennan. “In other words, one holdout for guilty.”
The juror reportedly said the evidence ‘didn’t fit the definition of attempted rape as it had been described’ to the panel.
“Her comments basically say ‘the facts as they were presented, we can’t make out the charge,’” Brennan says.
The retrial was not expected to happen until February, at the earliest.