Philly priests lay out defense before rape trial
PHILADELPHIA | Lawyers for two priests charged with raping boys in the mid-1990s said Monday they plan to attack the accusers’ motives when the landmark trial starts next week.
The Rev. James Brennan’s lawyer will tell jurors that Father Brennan’s accuser sought the priest out as an adult when he needed to do courtordered community service.
“He could have [gone] to a soup kitchen. Of all places, he seeks out his alleged abuser, Father Brennan,” lawyer William Brennan, who is of no relation, argued at a pretrial hearing.
Defrocked priest Edward Avery’s lawyer will also question his accuser’s motivation at trial. Mr. Avery’s accuser had been expelled from an archdiocesan high school at age 14 and began a long battle with drug addiction.
He disclosed the allegations of abuse — which he said occurred when he was a 10-year-old altar boy — in therapy at age 21.
Defense lawyer Michael Wallace plans to argue that the accuser hoped to get revenge for his school expulsion, get money from a related lawsuit and resolve drug-related criminal problems by helping prosecutors.
Mr. Wallace will note that the accuser also lost his grandmother, his closest relative, about the same time he was expelled.
“He was hit with a lot of traumas that year. There are alternate reasons for developing a drug habit,” Mr. Wallace said. He called the accuser’s motivation and bias “the entire defense.”
The judge said she would allow both lines of cross-examination.