Priest charged with hiding sex crimes
August 31, 2012 Joanne McCarthy
HE was the ''right-hand man'' of a bishop, and a one-time acting bishop himself, but priest Tom Brennan has become the first Australian Catholic priest charged with concealing the alleged child sex crimes of another.
Father Brennan, 74, was arrested and charged yesterday with two counts of misprision of a felony - failing to disclose a serious crime - relating to alleged child sex offences by defrocked priest John Denham against two boys in the late 1970s.
The offences allegedly occurred at St Pius X, in the Newcastle suburb of Adamstown, where Father Denham was a teacher and Father Brennan was school principal.
Strike Force Georgiana's Detective Sergeant Kristi Faber also charged Father Brennan with eight counts of sexually assaulting a boy, 8, at a Waratah church in 1984 and 1985, and two counts of assault.
In addition Father Brennan, of Toronto, south of Newcastle, was charged with assaulting the two boys by caning them after they allegedly reported being sexually assaulted by Father Denham, 70....
One of the men from the Hunter Valley, who alleged Father Brennan caned him in 1978 after he alleged Father Denham had repeatedly sexually assaulted him at the school, thanked police for a determined investigation.
''If this makes one person stand up and say, 'This is what happened to me', then I'll feel better,'' he said....
Father Denham has not entered pleas to 47 charges including indecent assault and buggery involving 14 boys in the 1970s. He will return to court next month.