October 18, 2013 |
THE CASE against a former Philadelphia priest accused of sexually abusing an altar boy at a Northeast Philadelphia parish is now uncertain after the alleged victim died over the weekend. Rev. Robert L. Brennan, 75, was arrested last month and charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and aggravated sexual assault, for abuse that allegedly took place at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish between 1998 and 2001, starting when the boy was 11 years old. District Attorney Seth Williams announced the victim's death in a statement yesterday.
October 5, 2013 |
The Rev. Joan R. Watson, 77, formerly of Medford, an Episcopal priest, died of metastatic melanoma Wednesday, Sept. 25, at her daughter's home in Alpharetta, Ga. Rev. Watson was rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Pemberton for more than 20 years until she retired in 2006. Born in Runnemede, Rev. Watson graduated from Audubon High School in 1953 and earned a bachelor's degree in business and social work. She then earned a master's in social work at the University of Pennsylvania and a master's of divinity at the General Theological Seminary in New York, daughter Sue Hamilton said.
September 28, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA The Rev. Robert L. Brennan's name loomed large in the "Secret Archives," the guarded personnel files of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Brennan also figured prominently in Philadelphia grand jury reports in 2005 and 2011. In last year's trial of a church official for covering up clergy sex abuse, witnesses detailed allegations that Brennan sexually abused about 20 boys while being transferred from parish to parish over a span of 15 years. Brennan, however, was never charged because the allegations happened too far back to be prosecuted.
September 27, 2013 |
A FORMER Philadelphia Catholic priest has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an altar boy, the Philadelphia district attorney announced yesterday. The Rev. Robert L. Brennan, 75, was arrested Wednesday night in Maryland and charged with rape and related crimes for allegedly abusing the boy from 1998 to 2001, when he was 11 to 14 years old. Brennan, who was in his early 60s at the time of the alleged assault, was an assistant pastor at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, in the Northeast.
August 17, 2013 |
When her cellphone rang in May 2009, Sister Celeste Ortiz thought God had answered her prayers. On the line was Samuel Alvarado, who said he was a priest in New Jersey with wonderful news. A parishioner had bequeathed $1 million to Ortiz's order, the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. A fee was needed to process the inheritance, Alvarado said, but it would be reimbursed. He would personally deliver the papers. Then 67, Ortiz was the superior for her order, which is based in Puerto Rico and has 130 nuns working in impoverished spots worldwide, including, at the time, Philadelphia.
August 11, 2013 |
Pennsylvania's Superior Court has set Sept. 17 for oral arguments on the appeal by Msgr. William J. Lynn, convicted last year of child endangerment for his role supervising Catholic priests accused of sexually abusing children. A letter setting the date was filed Monday by the intermediate court for criminal and civil appeals. The hearing will be in Philadelphia before a three-judge panel. Lynn's conviction was a landmark: He became the first church official criminally charged for his role supervising Catholic priests accused of child sexual abuse.
July 30, 2013 |
A recent decision by a federal judge not to dismiss a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden for allegedly concealing the history of a priest accused of molesting three young girls has been hailed as a significant legal advance for abuse victims. U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman in late June denied a diocese request to dismiss the case. Part of the diocese's argument was that the statute of limitations had long expired. Hillman instead ruled that the case brought by Lisa Shanahan, 44, warrants consideration because New Jersey law has exceptions for the statute of limitations that typically expires when a child-abuse victim turns 20. Victim advocates say the decision is one of two in Camden federal court that show alleged victims of sexual assault are starting to win legal challenges previously lost because of New Jersey's narrow window for suing.
July 26, 2013 |
WILMINGTON - City police arrested a man Wednesday who they said stole a priest's car at gunpoint outside the church where he was staying. The Rev. Paul Williams said that he was moving his car outside St. Paul's Catholic Church Wednesday morning when a man pointed a gun at him. Williams was not wearing his Franciscan habit when he was accosted. Williams, 62, said he thought he man was going to shoot him. The gunman drove off in his car. Police said two officers spotted Williams' car Wednesday afternoon.
July 19, 2013 |
THE ARCHDIOCESE of Philadelphia is officially condemning tomorrow night's appearance by the Rev. Helmut Schüller at Chestnut Hill College. Schüller's reformist views, which include the ordination of women and married men, the permission of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive sacraments and an end to celibacy for priests, "diverge very seriously from Catholic belief and practice," Archdiocese spokesman Kenneth Gavin said. "To avoid the furtherance of any confusion about Catholic teaching, he may not speak at any parish or Diocesan-related facility in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia," Gavin said.
July 3, 2013 |
MILWAUKEE - As more victims of clergy sex abuse came forward, then-Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan developed a plan to pay some abusers to leave the priesthood after writing to Vatican officials with increasing concern, warning them about the potential for scandal if they did not defrock problem priests, according to documents released Monday. Dolan's correspondence with Vatican officials and priests accused of sexual abuse was included in about 6,000 pages of documents the Archdiocese of Milwaukee released Monday as part of a deal reached in federal bankruptcy court with clergy sex abuse victims suing it for fraud.