Philly priests lay out de­fense be­fore rape trial

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation -

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.

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