POLICE have charged Toronto Catholic priest Tom Brennan with sexually abusing a young male and concealing the child sex crimes of another priest in what is almost certainly the first such criminal case in Australia.
Father Brennan, 74, was charged this morning 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 at St Pius X, Adamstown in the late 1970s.
Father Brennan, the school principal, was also charged with assaulting the two boys by caning them after they allegedly reported being sexually assaulted by Father Denham, 70.
Charlestown Detective Kristi Faber also charged Father Brennan with 10 counts of sexually assaulting a young male in the early 1980s while he was parish priest at Waratah.
It is almost certainly the first time an Australian Catholic clergyman has been charged for failing to report the alleged child sex offences of another priest to police or authorities.
The charge of misprision of a felony was replaced in the NSW Crimes Act in 1990 by a package of concealing serious crimes offences under section 316.
Father Brennan was charged with the older offences because the allegations relate to the late 1970s.
He will appear in court in September.
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 in September.