Beloved Marine Park priest accused of sexual assault

Brooklyn Daily

A retired Marine Park priest with close ties to District Attorney Charles Hynes was arrested on Friday and charged with trying to have inappropriate sexual contact with two teenage boys in the church’s Batchelder Street rectory.

Police arrested Msgr. Thomas Brady, the former pastor of Good Shepherd Church on Batchelder Street between Avenues S and T, on Oct. 14, claiming the 77-year-old had made sexual advances toward the two parish teens at two different times on the same day. The alleged attacks took place earlier in the week, police sources said.

Hynes will not take the case, citing a conflict of interest, and has punted the prosecution of Brady to the Staten Island district attorney, Dan Donovan.

Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for Hynes, said the Brooklyn DA couldn’t take the case because he and Brady, who was an Fire Department chaplain when Hynes was the FDNY commissioner, were “longtime acquaintances.”

Police sources say one of the victims complained about Msgr. Brady’s alleged misconduct to the Brooklyn Diocese on Thursday.

As the Diocese investigated, it found a second victim, who claimed Brady had tried to sexually abuse him hours after the first attack.

The Diocese forwarded its information to Hynes, who charged Brady with attempting a “criminal sex act” before handing the case over to Staten Island prosecutors. Brady was released on $2,000 bond on Friday.

The Diocese put Brady on administrative leave, meaning the septuagenarian, who is listed in the parish weekly bulletin as the church’s Pastor Emeritus, was “not permitted to present himself as a priest, celebrate mass or administer the sacraments,” Msgr. Raymond Chappetto explained Sunday as he read a letter from Bishop DiMarzio to parishioners.

“Msgr. Brady is known and loved by so many of you,” DiMarzio said in his letter. “It is my prayer that this would sustain him and you during this difficult time.”

Brady, who retired in 2009 after 20 years as pastor but still resides in the church rectory, has refused to speak to reporters and couldn’t be found at the church on Sunday.

Parishioners couldn’t fathom that their former spiritual leader, who had suffered two strokes over the last few years and is currently undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer — did what the victims claim.

“I can’t believe [Brady] could do something like this to a child … he loves kids,” explained Marine Park resident Connie Donahue outside of Good Shepherd Church on Sunday. “He put this parish together after 9-11 because we lost so many firefighters here. I’m hoping [the charges] are a mistake.”

Parishioner Pat Davis agreed. Msgr. Brady is too sick to accost anyone, she said.

“He’s almost 80 and has had numerous strokes,” she said. “If he was in a nursing home, none of this would have happened. I guess anything is possible. But I doubt this is true.”

Another parishioner, who wished not to be named, also shot down the teens’ claims, but was open to the possibility that Brady’s illness may have caused “some kind of breakdown.”

“I know him pretty well,” the woman said. “This is not him.”

Reader Feedback

v sullivan from marine park says:
Msgr. Brady served the Good Shepherd Parish for over 20 years and was not only a man of God, but also a man of integrity, conviction and morals. Whatever the allegations presented against him, they are not what his life was about.
When our son died suddenly in 1991 he was at our door to offer condolences as well as whatever service the church could provide. He was an exceptional minister, administrator and leader in troubled times, as well as daily
support/counselor during individual crisis. I pray that the true measure of this man is judged on his lifetime of service,
not on allegations that have not been proven or corroborated.
Oct. 17, 2011, 11:58 am
deedeelee from sheepshead says:
I think that this is all a lie - after 52 years of priesthood, and never, ever was a complaint filed against him, why would he do something like this now? The kids families are looking for a way to make fast cash.
Oct. 18, 2011, 1:35 pm
Mary C from GSS class of 78 says:
How can any of you people assume the children are lying or that the families are looking to collect cash. Do any of you know these children or their families? I don't know Msgr. Brady or the families of these children but at least let the courts decide if the accusations are false. @ v sullivan there have been many other "Men of God" who were accused of these same things and found guilty. Most times these men don't let parishioners see this side of them. I grew up with my mother working in a rectory in a brooklyn parish and was shocked to hear the way some of these priests behaved behind those closed doors. If you feel the need to vouch for this man's character, do so without judgement on children that may very well turn out to be victims.
Oct. 18, 2011, 4:17 pm
ks from out of towner says:
Cognitive Dissonance - we have 1 view of these men, instill in them the ultimate trust - we confess to them, baring the deepest, darkest depths of our souls. It is too hard to face the truth - that they may have souls deeper and darker than ours.

Not one but TWO boys came forward. Perhaps there were more but attitudes like this is what makes them fearful to tell the truth.

@Dee - if they wanted fast cash, why not accuse him a couple of years ago when many victims were coming forward, and ride the wave of that train? Why now? They reported it - to the NYPD, not the Diocese. And they reported it in a timely fashion.

@V Sullivan - I'm very sorry for the loss of your son, and I'm glad Msgr. Brady gave you comfort at that most trying time. But performing his ministry doesn't preclude him from darker proclivities; no one knows who he is behind closed doors. Let's see if more victims don't come forward now that he has been exposed as a pedophile priest.

I'm not trying to convict him in the Court of Public Opinion - I agree with Mary C that he has the right to a fair trial, and is innocent until proven guilty. But we must all try to open our minds, as difficult as it may be. Many parishes have been rocked all over the world. Many people all had the same doubts.

If he's proven guilty, then these boys may be victims of sexual abuse, but all of his parishioners are victims - this is a grievous breach of trust.

I did meet Msgr. Brady once or twice, in a professional setting, but I didn't know him well - so I'm a fairly neutral party.

I've experienced enough personally and professionally that, at this point, I wouldn't put it past any priest.
Oct. 18, 2011, 4:55 pm
kathy says:
not that I do not believe the kid but it is very hard to believe Mns. would do anything like this. VERY HARD to believe
Oct. 18, 2011, 11:37 pm
matt from rockaway says:
really if he was in a nursing home none of this would have happened? what a fool so because he wasnt in a nursing home its ok to fondle little boys. lets be serious here people don't blame his illness for his actions so he can get off the hook
Oct. 19, 2011, 3:39 pm
fran from marine park says:
msgr Brady is not capable of doing anything of this sort. He is the most loving , kind person I have met. His homily on Sunday is the most warm, delightful , interesting , enlighting sermons. I love him and trust him with all my heart. He is an inspiration. There is no way he is capable of any harmful act in his right mind. My prayers are with him.
Oct. 19, 2011, 11:32 pm
Margaret from Brooklyn says:
These charges are absurd. A beloved priest with an immaculate record of dedicated service becomes the target priest hating, money sucking, victimizing opportunists. Of course, there are suddenly two accursors, a tag team working together. It took two sick minds to scheme up this set-up. Fr. Brady was not only a Pastor of 20 years, he also was a teacher at Cathedral Prep. High School in Brooklyn before it closed, also with an immaculate record. To accuse an elderly priest, whose health is severly impaired from multiple strokes and from chemotherapy treatments from lung cancer, is an obvious hate crime against priests and the Church. May God have mercy on these teenagers.
Nov. 25, 2011, 9:54 pm

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