As a 30-year-old man underwent intense cross-examination in the criminal case in which he has accused a priest of molesting him as a 14-year-old, he gave a short bark of laughter.
Defense attorney William Brennan had just asked if M.B. decided to allege he was molested by priest and family friend James Brennan because he was jealous of the close friendship James Brennan had with M.B.’s mother.
M.B. asked what kind of person did the attorney think he was if he was going to tell a room full of strangers in a case that is making national news that he was molested, that he wet his pants while being molested and that it hurt to use the bathroom after being molested. The Legal is not publishing the full names of the alleged victims.
William Brennan read back testimony M.B. gave during a canonical trial, held to consider if James Brennan should be defrocked, in which M.B. said he thought he was sort of jealous and that he didn’t like how his mother was when drinking with James Brennan. M.B. also said, according to that testimony, that his friends commented on the fact that the priest came over to his house many weekends.
M.B. testified Wednesday that he was molested by James Brennan while he slept on the same bed as Brennan in Brennan’s West Chester, Pa., apartment and that Brennan inserted his penis inside of his buttocks against his anus.
M.B. said he never testified during the canonical trial or during his grand jury testimony that there was penetration. M.B. said he does not remember if there was penetration of his anus but it hurt to go to the bathroom afterward, according to his testimony in the trial.
M.B. also testified Wednesday that three years later he saw James Brennan expose himself to him on the church grounds where he was serving community service.
M.B. was asked why he testified during a canonical trial that he didn’t remember what happened in that later encounter with the priest.
M.B. testified during the criminal proceeding Wednesday that the priest had exposed himself to him during that meeting.
He has worked through behavioral therapy, prayer, meditation and a stay at a mental hospital to regain his memories of the abuse by James Brennan, M.B. testified Thursday.
That is why it was medically possible for him to not remember James Brennan exposing himself to him when he testified during the canonical trial, M.B. said.
M.B. said that he was also always raised to tell the truth, and it was the most truthful thing to say during the canonical trial that he did not remember what had actually happened when he was unsure of it himself.
William Brennan grilled M.B. on why he would do court-ordered community service at the church site where James Brennan worked and why he reported to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that he had been molested around the time that his family was going through financial trouble.
M.B. seemed emotionally fatigued during his testimony Wednesday, but he sometimes cracked jokes and kept on saying to William Brennan that he was being aggressive and asking him to slow down.
But on Thursday, he was combative and sounded angry with William Brennan.
When William Brennan asked why, while he was eating Cap’n Crunch cereal at James Brennan’s apartment, he would make the shape of a penis out of the cereal, M.B. retorted: “What does Cap’n Crunch cereal have to do with a man’s penis in my butt? That’s up to you. You’re the professional.”
William Brennan also asked why M.B. testified during the canonical trial that he was shown pornography by James Brennan on his desktop computer and that his family did not have a computer at all.
During the criminal trial Wednesday, M.B. testified that James Brennan showed him porn and had gone into sexual chatrooms on his laptop, and he clearly remembered it was on a laptop because his family only had a desktop at home.
M.B. said that, while he might have been mistaken about the computer, that he has never changed his story about the sexual molestation.
During cross-examination Wednesday, M.B. testified that there was blood when he had to go to the bathroom the next day. M.B. said on cross-examination Thursday his testimony Wednesday was the first time he had said there was blood.
During redirect by prosecutor Mark Cipolletti, Cipolletti asked M.B. to reread testimony he has given two different times about how the alleged abuse occurred.
As M.B. began to read his prior words to the jury, he began to cry.
During William Brennan’s cross-examination, he commented that it seemed that M.B. had been coached to repeat that he was molested even if the attorney asked what time it was.
The defense theory is that M.B. made up the entire incident, particularly because he has a civil lawsuit pending against James Brennan and the archdiocese.
James Brennan is accused of sexually abusing M.B. and being in a conspiracy with defendant Monsignor William Lynn to endanger the welfare of youths.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has alleged Lynn endangered the welfare of M.B. and one other youth and conspired with Brennan and another priest who already pled guilty to sexual abuse.
Lynn was in charge of investigating reports of sexual abuse by priests and making recommendations for the assignment of priests when he was the secretary for clergy for the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004.
Lynn is believed to be the first Catholic Church official to be charged with endangering the welfare of children sexually abused by members of the priesthood.