A Marine Park Catholic church dedicated its Christmas display to a priest accused of sex abuse, drawing outrage from one of his his alleged victim’s family.
Msgr. Thomas Brady, 78, a retired pastor at Good Shepherd Church, was placed on administrative leave after he was charged in October with attempting a "criminal sex act" on two teenage boys - but officials at the church still dedicated their annual tree lighting to him and posted a sign in his honor in front of the church.
The sign, still posted Monday, says the tree lighting “is dedicated to Monsignor Thomas F. Brady for his Service to and Love for the People of Good Shepherd.”
The dad of a then 13-year-old boy who accused Brady of molesting him in the church rectory said he was furious to see the display at the church, where his family are longtime parishioners and his son attends the parish school.
“That’s a slap in the face,” he said. “Take it down. That’s hurtful. You’re gaining support for Brady, but what about the victims?”
Many parishioners have backed Brady, who was pastor at the church for more than 20 years before retiring in 2009 and was also a chaplain for the Fire Department, and insisted the accusations couldn’t be true. The priest has suffered several strokes and is battling lung cancer.
Pastor James Devlin declined to discuss why the tree was dedicated to the accused priest, saying, “I don’t have any comment on that.”
The victim, now 14, who is still a student at Good Shepherd Parochial School, was shocked when he read the sign, according to his father.
“He even asked me, ‘Dad, if this guy attacked me, why would they dedicate a tree to him?’” he said. “It’s outrageous.”
The sex abuse case is being handled by Staten Island prosecutors because Brady and Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes have known each other for years. The family is pushing for a quick indictment. “I just want justice for my son,” he said.
Family friend Mary Ann Moran, 54, said although Monsignor Brady performed her mother’s funeral and she appreciated his efforts to unite the neighborhood after Sept. 11, she was angry he would be honored after the accusations came to light. “I understand how we feel so connected to the priest,” she said. “In any other job or organization, someone who’s been arrested for sexually abusing a child would never be honored just for doing their job.”
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