Former FBI Agent Concluded Brennan’s Victim Told Truth

Click here to read: “Ex-FBI agent: Priest’s accuser told truth,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 7, 2012

Excerpt: “Brennan denied any sex assault but “when pressed, said unintentional contact could have occurred without his knowledge” according to the report, Rossiter testified under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Coelho. Rossiter’s report also noted that a ranking church official said Brennan had claimed the teen “coerced” him into sharing a bed, but that the priest denied saying that.”

22 thoughts on “Former FBI Agent Concluded Brennan’s Victim Told Truth

  1. Ralph Cipriano does another great job of detailing this at the trial at his blog

    A little more about Fr Brennan, from the trial & the grand jury report:

    Who else but a Catholic priest would require hindsight to say “I should not have watched porn” with a 14 year old boy?

    Who else but a Catholic would believe Brennan’s side of the story:

    – a 14 year old boy comes into a grown man’s apartment and takes off his underwear, stripping down to loose short, and you do nothing??
    – he insists on watching porn, and you let him (of course, he is a Catholic priest, so he does have passwords to paid porn sites, of course)?
    – remember that this is 1996 with slow dial up, so this was a half hour process.
    – the 14 year old threatens to throw your computer out the window, and you say, “I’m watching golf”??
    – after all that, you sleep in a bed with him, because that’s what the 14 year old boy wanted??
    – of course, some “unintentional” contact may have happened

    Even Cardinal Bevilacqua didn’t believe Fr Brennan, as you can see if you read the grand jury report:

    – Fr Brennan was a liar according to his own Cardinal, Cardinal Bevilacqua. And Cardinal Bevilacqua perjured himself in the grand jury report, as we now know.
    – See the Grand Jury report at
    – On pg 21, Cardinal Bevilacqua noted in a memo to the priest’s file, “My interview with Father Brennan has raised certain doubts in my mind about his honesty”
    – On pg 20, Father Brennan told Msgr Lynn that he himself had been sexually abused, but later denied it.
    – Pg 19 ” One afternoon, Dr. O’Brien heard noises coming from inside Father Brennan’s office, and then watched as the priest and David tumbled out of the office, wrestling with one another. In the words of other staff members at Cardinal O’Hara, including Dr. O’Brien’s secretary, the relationship between Father Brennan and David was “not healthy.”
    – Pg 21 Fr Brennan was living with that student, named David, as reported through channels by the religious sisters at Divine Providence Village, who had observed the situation firsthand
    – Pg 18 In both posts, Father Brennan was known to have inappropriate relationships with minors.

    All this, and Rossiter says under oath that he believes the victim, even though the victim is suing him. Rossiter is honest, which you could never say about a Catholic priest.

  2. I just spent 3 hours at the trial, much of the time observing and pondering Brennan, and listening to testimony being read about him. When we left for lunch, I was in an elevator with Lynn, his sister, and 5 members of what looked like the Philly SWAT team. I talked with Ralph Cipriano. I’ll be returning for the afternoon session.

    Will report later!

      1. You’re a good Catholic, Beth! Look a juror in the face while you’re there, they’ll respond, affirming your presence, your concern, and the utter failure of your hierarchy.

    1. Throughout the afternoon, I spoke with Ralph Cipriano who has a lot of insights on the trial, and I learned TONS about Brennan. He’s a small, boyish-looking man. The minute I looked at him, “unstable” registered. He’s jumpy, edgy, anxious… His work history with the AD is fascinating. He hopped from one, grandiose plan for himself to another. Like a teenager suffering from narcissism, he seemed to see the priesthood as a means to bring to fruition some sort of extravagant form of himself. He was able to imagine various self-forms, and the AD gave him places to act them out, but he was never really able to bring them to fruition. Except for the 4 years or so he spent teaching at a Catholic school, he was in the business of requesting from the AD “special assignments”– everything from time away from the priesthood, to long-term retreats, to a switch to the Trappist monks, to an appointment located on the Outer Banks of NC, back to parish priest, to…. his in and out, big, grandiose plans went on and on… AND THE AD FELL FOR ALL OF IT! His faith appeared and disappeared according to how it fit each imagined plan. While Lynn has his sister to attend to him at the trial (during a break, she gave him candy), Brennan is alone. He’s pathetic. His lawyers pat his back and laugh with him, but they don’t “reach” him. He eerily alone. Neither he nor Lynn communicated once, today. If the priests love each other, why isn’t one loving Brennan?

  3. Our church leaders are puppets for Rome to do what it tells them; they don’t reflect the values of the people, e.g., Sean Brady, Justin Rigali, Finn, Bevilacqua. They have no moral authority; they don’t know right from wrong; they don’t tell the truth. On real moral issues, they’re not there. They pontificate on artificial birth control, slam the nuns while sipping wine at Roman trattorias, and bend over backward to cover their own sick crimes while 18 US VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE EVERY DAY.

    These church men say nothing while the politicians plan a larger war to be started after the election. Where is the pro-life church on this? This is what Jesus would be talking about. The extreme stratification of income leaves more kids locked into the Catholic poverty pits with nowhere to turn but to Father Friendly. This trial will be forgotten, and it will be back to the usual business after a well-paid PR campaign makes it all go away.

    1. Mark,

      You’re correct in saying, “…they don’t reflect the values of the people, e.g., Sean Brady, Justin Rigali, Finn, Bevilacqua. They have no moral authority; they don’t know right from wrong; they don’t tell the truth.”

      That’s why when I go to Mass the majority of the people present are the “Joe B’s, Deacons, and Trolls,” mainly people over 60. I believe that their intentions are good, but they are trapped in a “different time.”

      It’s as if they are in the movie “Boys town.” Their minds operate in a fictional time and place (Twilight Zone). They believe that priests are all like Father Flanagan (Spencer Tracy), and these priests are actually trying to help the boys.

      The Trolls are of the mind set that that a clerics’ main goal is to serve God and help people. They are incapable of accepting the fact that thousands of priests have an interest that goes no farther that wanting to “Bugger” the boys. As it was said so well in the movie “A Few Good Men,” “you (Trolls) can’t handle the truth.”

  4. Without even reading the comments, the fact that this former FBI agent, has stood by the victim is balm to the Spirit. So many [not most] voices that could come forward in positions of authority have inner conflicts when dealing with the church. To us it’s cowardice, for them it’s pressures ‘from above’, their jobs on the line, or/and is repercussions within the Catholic community.
    Politicians included.

  5. Mr. Rossiter came to my therapist office and interviewed me about my allegations concerning ex priest richard dolan. I knew he was watching me very closely. FBI agents are trained to pick up language, body movements, wording, eyes and much more. By that time I had a video of comfronting dolan at his newly built home in Tennessee. Mr. rossiter was respectful and professional. I knew he would do a complete job in checking out my allegations. A few months later the AD notified me that I had been found credible by them and the review board. This case was the oldest case they had investigated. It went back to 1964!
    I want to thank everyone who attends the trial. I was there a few weeks ago and hope to go again soon. I would love to meet some of you who are so kind and empathic with your words and support. Thank you.

  6. I believe the victims. I pray for the day that you can rest easy, and know that Jesus will continue to carry you all in His hands…Peace

  7. A note from the trial: Tues. May 8:

    Today I heard the prosecution will finish around the end of next week. Then, the defense will take a week or so. In 2 1/2 weeks, the trial could be over. What is seriously lacking at the trial is concerned Catholics to watch it. Do you have any idea how your gasps, your eye-rolling, your head-shaking, your smirking, your visible frustration and your presence helps to clarify and deliver to the jury the messages we want delivered? Truly, concerned, Philly Catholics have failed the prosecution by not jamming 304 everyday. Here we sit on pins and needles, waiting for a verdict when we could be INFLUENCING it by simply being there, when we can, and for whatever amount of time. Is this trial important??? Then why aren’t you there?

    1. Hadit, to your point, there is an axiom in politics that we get about the government that we deserve…ie that we have been proactive about…I think it’s time for folks inthe area to ‘be present’ in that courtroom…you can count on the fact that the ‘defense’ will have a lot of folks ‘present’…

  8. This is what I wrote after listening to Msgr. Quirk on the witness stand on April 30:


    by Maureen Paul Turlish on May. 04, 2012 in the National Catholic Reporter

    I found out something significant about the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church as I sat inside Judge M. Teresa Sarmina’s criminal courtroom in Philadelphia April 30 and listened to Msgr. Kevin Michael Quirk, a church canon lawyer from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W. Va
    Quirk, the presiding judge during the 2008 canonical trial of Rev. James J. Brennan – one of two defendants in the current Philadelphia priest abuse trial – for charges of child sex-abuse, was on the stand to authenticate the transcript of that trial, as well as provide insight into the procedures of a canonical trial.

    One revelation proved startling.

    While possible victims of childhood sexual abuse and other lay witnesses are asked to take an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth etc.” during a canonical trial concerning the public good, an alleged priest-perpetrator is not. Canon 1728.2 says, “The accused is not bound to confess the delict [crime] nor can an oath be administered to the accused.”

    Why in God’s name would anyone believe that an individual like the criminally charged Brennan is necessarily telling the truth during a canonical trial when he is not even required to swear to the truth of his statements?

    It seems to me that Quirk was describing one religious denomination’s version of “I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate me.” In so many words, Brennan took the Fifth.

    Why would any credible victim of childhood sexual abuse, their families or other witnesses, participate in such a farce where only “alleged” victims and non-clerics are sworn to tell the truth?

    It’s not logical.

    Daily in a Philadelphia courtroom, it becomes increasingly apparent that society should not be dependent on any religious denomination’s self-policing policies. It has been made clear in listening to Msgr. William J. Lynn’s 2002 grand jury testimony that very little, if any, concern was shown to credible victims of childhood sexual abuse.

    Nor should any accommodation in law be given to an institution that gives more protection to known or credibly accused sexual predators of children than it does to the children Jesus Christ mandated it protect.

    This reality has been pointed out in excruciating detail in both the 2005 and 2011 grand jury reports. The hierarchy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has used every possible means to cover up abuse and to protect sexually abusive priests among its rank and file.
    If there is one thing that has been made clear by what has happened in this religious denomination, it is that society must demand the removal of all criminal and civil statutes of limitation covering the sexual abuse of children, and the laws on mandated reporters must be strengthened.

    In Pennsylvania’s case, proposed House Bills 832 and 878 will do just that. But the Roman Catholic Church leaders in Philadelphia and throughout the state — including the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference — viciously oppose this legislation, as have other states where similar bills have been proposed.

    Why is that? Is this what the hierarchy means by accountability and transparency?

    1. Sister, I cited your NPR article for just that canon law reason ie.”

      …While possible victims of childhood sexual abuse and other lay witnesses are asked to take an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth etc.” during a canonical trial concerning the public good, an alleged priest-perpetrator is not. Canon 1728.2 says, “The accused is not bound to confess the delict [crime] nor can an oath be administered to the accused.”

      And I think it’s worse than that. Cardinal Rigali used some very crafted language to…initially…say that there were ‘no known’ or ‘credibly accused priests’ amongst the 37 that we are still discussing.

      If a priest denied he had molested…that was good enough canonically for the Cardinal, apparently.

      And if memory serves…the standard for guilt, canonically is vastly higher than ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ ….more like, beyond doubt….I would have to check the reference, but would be happy to if you wish.

      Your point is well taken….in an intersection between canon and civil/criminal law….I d take our US law anytime…unless I was a priest abuser!

      1. Sister the canonical standard for guilt that I was searching for, was ‘moral certitude’ that a priest ( who could canonically deny the situation) was guilty….or in other words..I think, .he could deny his guilt and I guess, unless the countervailing evidence was overwhelming…it would be difficult to have ‘moral certitude’ about his guilt.

        I would WELCOME some canon law input on this very troubling matter, especially, right now, especially in Philly.

      2. Sister posted,
        “While possible victims of childhood sexual abuse and other lay witnesses are asked to take an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth etc.” during a canonical trial concerning the public good, an alleged priest-perpetrator is not. Canon 1728.2 says, “The accused is not bound to confess the delict [crime] nor can an oath be administered to the accused.”

        Allow me to translate: “You’re covered. Lie if you want. The rest have to promise to tell the truth.”

        How’s that for canon law.

      3. The AD of Milwaukee defines moral certitude, thusly.

        moral certitude is defined as “the firm and unwavering assent of the mind.” While there may well be other ways to attempt to explain the evidence gathered, none is suffi- cient to cause a judge to waver in the belief that one explanation stands out and should be accepted.

      4. And I know many C4C folks are well aware of this, but diocesan review boards that assess data to make recommendations to the AB are only as good as the data they get….you can have a wonderful group of pros on the Review Board, but if the data they receive is incomplete, missing whatever…their conclusions are likewise.

        One of the most chilling conclusions of the 2011
        Grand Jury report was the Review Boards experience, noted below by the head of that board…and the
        Grand Jury:

        June 17, 2011
        The Fog of Scandal
        Ana Maria Catanzaro

        StoryComments (16)
        Eight years ago, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua asked me to join the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s sexual-abuse review board, which he was putting together to help him determine the credibility of allegations against priests. His invitation provided an opportunity and a challenge. If I wanted to be a part of the solution, here was my chance. And so, after much praying—and hand-wringing—I accepted.

        Given the nature of the cases we’d have to review, I never imagined the work would be easy. Board members have worked hard to help the church address the crisis—and keep children safe. We thought we were making a difference. So, when a 2005 grand jury strongly criticized [PDF] the archdiocese for its handling of abusive priests, the board was as surprised and dismayed as anyone. But none of us was prepared for the news that broke this past February, when a second grand-jury report [PDF] resulted in the indictment of four priests and claimed that it had found “substantial evidence” another thirty-seven, all still in active ministry, had abused. (Subsequently, twenty-seven priests have been suspended, pending further investigation.)

        The February 2011 grand jury criticized the review board for not recommending the suspension of several priests. “In cases where the archdiocese’s review board has made a determination,” the grand-jury report states, “the results have often been even worse than no decision at all.” That sweeping judgment stunned reviewboard members.

        The grand jury had never asked us to testify about how we arrived at recommendations. In fact, the board had reviewed just ten cases involving the thirty-seven priests. None of the evidence we saw concerning the ten led us to conclude they had sexually abused minors.

        But until the grand-jury report came out, the board was under the impression that we were reviewing every abuse allegation received by the archdiocese. Instead, we had been advised only about allegations previously determined by archdiocesan officials to have involved the sexual abuse of a minor—a determination we had been under the impression was ours to make. The board still doesn’t know who made those decisions.

  9. Today, I spent the morning in court sitting next to a “Joe B” or “Deacon whatever” or the “trolls” who post on C4C. He attends the trial EVERY day! When there are breaks, he reads New Testament meditations. All I can say to the “Joe B’s” and the “Deacons” and the “trolls” is get your stupid, ignorant, faith-filled, sheep butts into court because I sat next to one of you, today, who puts the rest of you to shame.

  10. To haditCatholic: “Truly, concerned, Philly Catholics have failed the prosecution by not jamming 304 everyday. Here we sit on pins and needles, waiting for a verdict when we could be INFLUENCING it by simply being there, when we can, and for whatever amount of time. Is this trial important??? Then why aren’t you there?”

    This is cultish behavior, with the mob responding, in obedience, to their superiors. It is only after they have left the cult, if they are fortunate enough, that they will realize what they have done. Jesus, on the other hand, saved the woman from being stoned by the mob.

    The below-mentioned excerpt from the ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ demonstrates cult-like behavior:

    “…. The results of the experiment have demonstrated the impressionability and obedience of people when provided with a legitimizing ideology and social and institutional support…”
    Extract from:

    The following extract from the Milgram Experiment is about ‘The Perils of Obedience’:

    “… Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study … ”
    Taken from:

    It is only the Truth that will set them free. It is with great sadness that I look upon this RCC Institution as an abusive cult – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, financially, sexually – justifying its dysfunctional behaviors through ‘The Theology of Suffering.’ Victims are condemned for speaking-up against injustice because they are supposed to suffer for the greater good and the glory of heaven. Meanwhile, the perpetrators enjoy ‘heaven on earth’ along with the promise of eternal life. WOW! It’s a Win-Win situation for them.

  11. “…..And I need to balance the need for transparency with the pain already felt by victims, pain which we acknowledge and do not wish to compound……”

    If our archdiocesan leadership were genuinely concerned about the victims, their families and their pain over these many years, then there would not be a criminal trial proceeding in downtown Philadelphia in 2012 against three archdiocesan clergy.

    When will those who lead us in faith finally realize that “silence” does in fact compound the pain and suffering?

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