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Rev. James Brennan Rape Retrial: Philadelphia Priest Due In Court March 2013

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Rev. James Brennan will be retried for rape charges in March 2013.
Rev. James Brennan will be retried for rape charges in March 2013.

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia priest will remain in legal limbo until 2013 after a judge on Wednesday set a March date for his retrial in an abuse case.

Prosecutors are retrying the Rev. James Brennan after jurors in his first trial deadlocked on attempted rape and child endangerment charges.

The jury acquitted the 48-year-old Brennan of conspiring with church officials after a landmark four-month trial that alleged a broad cover-up of abuse complaints at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Monsignor William Lynn was convicted of felony child endangerment and became the first U.S. church official sent to prison for his handling of abuse complaints. He is appealing his three- to six-year sentence.

Brennan's accuser alleges that Brennan abused him at his apartment in 1996, when Brennan was on leave from the Roman Catholic priesthood and the boy was 14.

Brennan admitted at his related 2008 church trial that he slept in the same bed as the teen, wrestled with him, watched porn and discussed masturbation, but he denied any sexual contact. His status as a priest is pending with the Vatican.

He will be retried in the criminal case on March 6 before a new judge.

Another priest abuse trial is set to start next week in the same Philadelphia courthouse. The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero are charged with raping an altar boy at St. Jerome's Parish in northeast Philadelphia in the late 1990s. The Rev. Edward Avery is serving a 2 1/2- to 5-year sentence after pleading guilty days before his trial to sexually assaulting the same boy.

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