A well-respected long-time monsignor at Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church (1950 Batchelder Street) in Marine Park was arrested on Friday following allegations that he attempted “inappropriate sexual contact” with teenage boys earlier in the week.
Police arrested 77-year-old Msgr. Thomas Brady, a 20-year leader of the parish who retired in 2009, after a 13-year-old boy accused him of sexual misconduct earlier in the week. According to the New York Times, the charges against Brady include endangering the welfare of a child and attempted sexual abuse. The criminal complaint has not been made public, but it has been revealed that during the diocese’s investigation, a second teenage boy also came forward to describe misconduct. The alleged attempted abuses occurred on the same day.
Brady is a highly-regarded leader known to many in the community, and has also been an FDNY chaplain for about 25 years. He retired in 2009 and is undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer, and has also suffered several strokes. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has handed over prosecution of Brady to the Staten Island DA’s office, citing a conflict-of-interest, since he and Brady are “longtime acquaintances,” according to the Times.
Meanwhile, the Daily News and Brooklyn Daily have documented the community’s disbelief at hearing the news.
From the Daily News:
“It can’t be true. Not Father Brady. No way,” said Dot Harris, 67, who has attended services at Brady’s church, Good Shepherd, in Mill Basin for 12 years. “This is all nonsense.”
“He’s a good man,” said Good Shepherd Church parishioner Jackie Hunter, 57. “I don’t believe the accusations.”
… “He’s a trusted member of the community,” she said. “Everyone is just devastated that someone would make these allegations.”
… A parishioner who didn’t want to give his name said the allegations couldn’t possibly be true.
“He’s so sick,” the man said. “I saw him yesterday morning. He can barely move.”
From Brooklyn Daily:
“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.”