His body has been buried, but his legacy has not.
Retired Marine Park pastor Monsignor Thomas Brady passed away last week following a long bout with lung cancer and was honored on Monday by friends, family, colleagues, and congregants, who filled the Good Shepherd Church on Batchelder Street to capacity as they sang, prayed, and eulogized the man during his early morning wake.
“In all my interactions with the Monsignor he was the consummate gentleman. He was always looking out for the best interests of the Good Shepherd parishioners and he always made me feel welcome whenever I came to a Good Shepherd function. He will be missed by a great many people,” said Councilman Lew Fidler.
Brady was 78 when he died in the late evening on March 25, after more than 50 years service as a man of the cloth, which was marred in recent years by unsavory allegations of lewd conduct towards two of his younger congregants.
A 13-year-old student of the Good Shepherd Parochial School told police he was in the church rectory in 2011 when Brady approached him and made several foul advances. At one point, Brady “offered to have sex” with the minor, cops claimed.
Investigators did not allege that Brady had touched the boy. Neither did the Diocese, which accused Brady, an FDNY chaplain with close ties to Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, of having inappropriate contact with the 13-year-old, as well as a second teen. Diocese officials learned about the second incident while investigating the first.
Because of Hynes’s relationship with Brady, the case was passed on to Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan. But the case against Brady collapsed in May 2012, when the grand jury didn’t think prosecutors had enough evidence to take Brady to trial, Richmond County DA spokesman Peter Spencer explained.
That news was met either with jubilation or disbelief among Good Shepherd congregants, divided between those loyal to the beloved pastor and those who believe the alleged victims.
“It was the right decision, because he really was innocent,” said one longtime parishioner and Good Shepherd Parochial School alumnus, who wished not to be named. “I believe that it was all a big misunderstanding.”
The 13-year-old boy’s family has always remained adamant that the attack took place, and claimed that parishioners were vilifying the teen for telling the truth.
“I’m afraid for [my son],” the victim’s father said after Brady’s arrest. “I don’t think they believe him.”
The Diocese, which had placed Brady on administrative leave while it conducted its own investigation independent of the city, released the pastor from his suspension after the case against Brady fell through, although he remained on leave due to increasing health concerns.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn