Priest rape survivor pushes for NJ law eliminating statute of limitations

Keith Rennar Brennan suffered years of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of men he trusted at St. Paul’s church in Jersey City. He made a documentary, “Of God and Gucci” about the abuse.

“First the musical director of my church in Jersey City, Keith Pecklers and then subsequently by the priest that I turned to for help, Father Thomas Stanford,” Brennan says.

 

When it comes to sexual abuse, he says it’s never who you think it’s going to be.

“It’s not the boogieman, it’s often someone quite familiar, usually within the community – could even be a pillar of the community,” Brennan says.

For the statute of limitations to be only two years in New Jersey, one of the shortest in our country, makes no sense to Brennan says.

“It takes a man 25 to 30 years to come forward, to even be able to speak about such abuse,” he says.

It took him 32 years…

“In 2008, I was able to bring charges against the Archdiocese of Newark and the two predators responsible for my abuse and in 2010 I testified before the State Judiciary Committee,” Brennan says.

According to the filmmaker and hypnotherapist, the problem is more widespread than people think.

“One out of every three girls and one out of every six boys has been sexually abused as a child,” Brennan says.

A true love story helped him heal and have the courage to leave the church. Only Diane, his wife knew what happened. But Brennan wanted to break the silence and knew he had to do more.

“When I came forward, many people were not only surprised, but they also came to me and told me their stories, of how they were sexually abused as a child,” he says.

Brennan says it’s time to quit delaying in changing the law.

“So that men (and women) feel comfortable coming forward, after so many years of secrecy,” he says.

“Of God and Gucci II” premieres at 12 pm on October 18, 2014 at the Jersey City International Television & Film Festival.

Brennan also urges everyone to contact their senators and get them to eliminate the statute of limitations as soon as possible. It’s Bill #S868.

Jillian Risberg, HCTV

1 COMMENT

  1. N.J. Stat. § 2C:1-6 Time limitations

    (a) No limit for:
    Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault (§ 2C:14-2)
    (b) (1) For a crime, within five years after commission of the offense
    (b) (2) For a disorderly persons offense, within one year after commission of the offense

    (b) (4) For the following offenses when victim was under 18 at the time of commission of the offense, within five years after victim reaches the age of 18 or within two years after discovery of the offense by the victim, whichever occurs later:

    Criminal sexual contact or aggravated criminal sexual contact (§ 2C:14-3)
    Endangering welfare of children (§ 2C:24-4)
    (e) The period of limitation does not run during any time when a prosecution against the accused for the same conduct is pending in this State.
    (f) The limitations in this section shall not apply to any person fleeing from justice.
    State v. Nagle, 545 A.2d 182 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1988) Extended statute of limitations may constitutionally apply to a crime occurring before its effective date, if that date is before the expiration of the period provided by the prior statute of limitations.
    Note: Certain 2010 legislation (2010 NJ A.B. 2895 (NS), 2010 New Jersey Assembly Bill No. 2895) is pending that would revise certain time periods set forth within § 2C:1-6