Foley: Brendan Foley

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Brendan Thomas Foley

(Don Brandano)

Brendan Foley in Minagua, Nicaragua 2012

Scottish priest.  Born in Scotland,  Ordained (in  Ireland?) 1970.   Served in Glasgow, Scotland.  Known as “the Singing Priest.”  1977 to St. John’s, Newfoundland.  Reported for homosexual activity in 1979.  Sent to Southdown.  Foley said at Southdown he was told to avoid stress.  Known in St. John’s as “the Singing Priest” – described as a social activist.  Described himself as a “reformer.”  1989 charges related to sex abuse of teenage boys.  1990 – CONVICTED. In 1990 CBC interview had no qualms about his actions and denied that he had in any way betrayed anyone.

Left the priesthood in 1986.

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Archbishops of Saint John’s Newfoundland from time of Father Foley’s arrival until his left the priesthood:  Patrick James Skinner, C.I.M. † (23 January 1951 –  o5 Apr 1979 ); Alphonsus Liguori Penney (5 April 1979 – o2 February 1991)

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Brendan Foley is Father X in Vol 1 of the  The Report of the Archdiocesan Commission of Enquiry into the Sexual Abuse of Children by Members of the Clergy (Winter Commission Report, 1990)  See section on Father X:  Brendan Foley is Father X in Winter Commission Report, and see text below.

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May 2014:  Brendan Foley using name Don Brandano Tommy on Facebook

08 May 2014: BLOG  Resourceful

12 January 2012:  Reliable sources

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30 September 2010:  external link to The Catholic Priests of Newfoundland – first portion is a replay of a CBC September 1990 taped interview with Brendan Foley.

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Unless otherwise indicted the the following information is drawn from the Winter Commission report (WC), the Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) of the same date, and media (M)

May 2014:  living in the Bello Horizonte neighborhood in Managua, Nicaragua under the name Don Brandano (P)

2012:  retiring to Managua, Nicaragua

01 June 2008:  death of close friend Gail. (this was not a romantic relationship.  He looked after her, and she provided accommodation and friendship to him. I believe the two once operated a restaurant together? )

2000:  Published ABBA, the God of Liberty http://www.thealternativebookshop.com/phil0001.html   The promo on the thealternativebookshop.com reads in part:

  a dynamic new book by author Brendan Thomas Foley is now available in the marketplace. This extraordinary new book contains profound insights that encourage the reader to re-evaluate conventional beliefs and shed the guilt heaped on them through the past teachings of well meaning but misguided religious leaders. It also enables them to consider their own ethical values and recognize a system of global ethics that apply to all of humanity.

The author Brendan Foley was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1946. He studied, philosophy, anthropology, metaphysical psychology and theology. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1970 and moved to Canada in 1977. He left the active ministry in 1986. Brendan has dedicated the past five years to writing this unique testament for the new millennium.

1990:  Sentenced to 28 days and two years probation for sexually assaulting several teenage boys

1986: complaint to Archbishop Penney from a mother who said that Foley had shown up attired only in his underwear in front of a group of boys he had invited to stay at the rectory.

 LEFT THE PRIESTHOOD in 1986

1985-86:  16 Boulevarde, St. John’s, Newfoundland (CCCD)

1984:  concerns and suspicions regarding Foley’s behaviour reported to Archbishop Penney.  Penney considered it “rumour.”  No action was taken. (WC)

1982-95: parish priest in Burin area (M)

1980:  assigned to rural parish in Newfoundland. (WC)

Sometime 1979:  found in sexually compromising situation with an adult male in parked car in St. John’s.  Police reported to the Vicar General. Sent to Southdown.  Said he was told to avoid stressful situations (WC)

October 1979:  incardinated into Archdiocese of St. John’s, Newfoundland (WC)

09 November 1978:  asked to stay in Archdiocese of St. John’s for another year (WC)

22 January 1977:  one year pastoral assignment at St. Patrick’s RC Church, St. John’s Newfoundland (WC)

1977-arrived in Canada

moved to St. John Ogilive in Easterhouse (Easterhouse is a district in Glasgow, Scotland)

1973:  St. Phillips, Ruchazie (a district in Glasgow, Scotland)

Born in Scotland 1946.

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Case 2: Priest X  (Vol. 1 of the  The Report of the Archdiocesan Commission of Enquiry into the Sexual Abuse of Children by Members of the Clergy (Winter Commission Report, 1990)

On November 29, 1976 Priest X was accepted by the Archdiocese for a one-year pastoral assignment and was appointed to St. Patrick’s Parish in St. John’s, a posting which he took up on January 22, 1977. On November 8, 1977 Priest X was asked to stay in the Archdiocese for another year. On August 1, 1979 the Consultors were unanimous that he be incardinated into the Archdiocese of St. John’s, and that the Bishop of his home diocese be contacted to initiate the process of excardination from that diocese. On October 23, 1979 the priest received his letter of excardination from his home diocese.

In the same year, 1979, Priest X, then an assistant priest at a parish in St. John’s, was discovered by police in a sexually compromising position in a parked car in St. John’s. Although the priest was with an adult male and was not breaking the law, the police chose to inform Monsignor David Morrissey about the incident. Monsignor Morrissey, the former Vicar General, was the parish priest at St. Patrick’s Parish at the time. The retired Archbishop, P.J. Skinner, also attended the meeting at which the police related the events. After this meeting Monsignor Morrissey informed Archbishop Penney of the incident and of the meeting with the police. Priest X was sent to Southdown.’° Following his return he was assigned to a rural parish as parish priest, but there is no evidence that his conduct was effectively monitored either by the Archdiocese or by Southdown. This kind of post-treatment monitoring was not considered.

Concerns about Priest X’s general lifestyle and approach to pastoral duties were brought to the attention of Archbishop Penney again in 1984. These came, generally, in the form of suspicions relayed to the Archbishop by other priests and through correspondence from a concerned parishioner. The Archbishop took no action based upon this information since he considered it rumour and not substantiated fact. Priest X was later assigned to a parish in St. John’s. In 1986 the Archbishop received a complaint from a parent who told him that Priest X had appeared in the parish rectory dressed only in underwear in front of a group of boys he had invited to stay with him. The Archbishop sent for Priest X to discuss this matter. Shortly thereafter, Priest X left the active ministry. He is currently charged and awaiting trial on several counts of sexual offences involving males.

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‘Singing Priest’ gets 28 days in jail

Toronto Star
29 June 1990

GRAND BANK, Nfld. (CP) – The man known to Newfoundlanders as the Singing Priest was sentenced yesterday to 28 days in jail for sexually assaulting young boys.

Brendan Foley was found guilty Wednesday in the province’s Supreme Court on two counts of sexual assault on teenage boys from 1982 to 1985 while he was a Roman Catholic priest in the Burin area of Newfoundland.

Foley also received two years’ probation.

He was known as the Singing Priest for playing his guitar and singing on television. He left the priesthood a couple of years ago.

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Singing Priest will stand trial

Edmonton Journal
23 August 1989
GRAND BANK, Nfld. (CP) — The man known as the Singing Priest was committed to stand trial on seven sex-related charges as a preliminary hearing wrapped up Tuesday.

Brendan Foley, 47, a former Roman Catholic priest, faces four counts of sexual assault and three counts of gross indecency.

The charges stem from alleged incidents when he was a parish priest in the Burin area between 1982 and 1985. A trial date, before the Newfoundland Supreme Court, will be set this fall.

Foley earned the nickname, the Singing Priest, for his many appearances on radio and television in Newfoundland.

A total of 18 priests, former priests and members of Catholic orders in Newfoundland have been charged or convicted of sexual offences against young boys during the past several months.

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Priest’s sex case to resume Aug. 22

Ottawa Citizen

03 August 1989

GRAND BANK, Nfld. (CP) — A hearing for a former Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting boys was put over Wednesday until Aug. 22.

Brendan Foley, 43, is charged with seven counts of sexual assault, stemming from incidents when he was a priest in Newfoundland’s Burin’s area from 1982 to 1985.

He earned the nickname the Singing Priest from his appearances on radio and television.
Foley is one of 18 priests, former priests and members of a Catholic order to be charged or convicted of sexual offences involving boys in recent months.

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Singing priest’ now charged with 7 sexual-assault counts

Edmonton Journal

06 April 1989

GRAND BANK, Nfld. (CP) – Three more sexual-assault charges were read against former priest Brendan Foley on Wednesday.

The latest charges bring to seven the number of sexual-assault counts against him. The four previous charges were laid last month.

Foley, 43, is well known in Newfoundland as the Singing Priest for his appearances at concerts and on television.

Dressed in a sports coat and tie, he elected to be tried by judge alone in Newfoundland Supreme Court. His preliminary hearing was set for Aug. 1-2.

The alleged incidents occurred in the nearby Burin area over several years while he was parish priest.

Foley is the latest of several members of the Newfoundland Catholic community to be charged with sex offences involving boys over almost two decades. Most of the cases involve altar boys.

Two priests are now serving five-year prison terms. Three other priests and a former priest are awaiting preliminary hearings in May.

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Ex-priest faces 3 more charges of assault

Montreal Gazette

06 April 1989

GRAND BANK, Nfld. (CP) – Three more sexual-assault charges were read against former priest Brendan Foley yesterday.

The latest charges bring to seven the number of sexual-assault counts against him. The four previous charges were laid last month.

Foley, 43, is well known in Newfoundland as the Singing Priest for his appearances at concerts and on television.

Dressed in a sports coat and tie, he selected to be tried by judge alone in Newfoundland Supreme Court. His preliminary hearing was set for Aug. 1-2.

The alleged incidents occurred in the nearby Burin area over several years while he was parish priest.

Foley is the eighth Roman Catholic priest or former priest in Newfoundland to be charged in the last two years with sex offences involving young boys, usually altar boys.
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Ex-priest accused of sex assaults on teen boys

 
Edmonton Journal
18 March 1989

ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. (CP) — An eighth member of Newfoundland’s Roman Catholic community — this time a prominent former priest — has been charged with sexually assaulting boys.

Brendan Foley, the unpaid president of a non-profit agency that works to feed people in Third World countries, was charged with four counts of sexual assault when he appeared in provincial court Friday.

The charges involve teenage boys and relate to incidents in the Burin area between 1982 and 1985 when Foley was serving as a parish priest.

He was released on his own recognizance pending a court appearance April 5 in Marystown.

Foley, 43, was for years known to Newfoundlanders as the Singing Priest after he played his guitar and sang on television programs.

For the past two years, the Scottish-born Foley has been working at a project designed to prevent the dumping of excess fish. Instead, the Fish Aid Development Agency is trying to use the underutilized species to feed the needy in Third World countries.

He left the priesthood to develop the agency.

Foley is the latest of several priests, former priests or other members of the Newfoundland Catholic community to be charged with sex offences involving boys over almost two decades. Most of the cases involve altar boys.

Two priests are now serving five- year prison terms. Three other priests and a former priest are awaiting preliminary hearings in May.

In addition, a member of a Catholic teaching order was charged in provincial court Tuesday with sexual assault against a young boy. Harold Richard Thorne, 49, a member of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, had been teaching at a junior high school up until last week.

His preliminary has been set for the end of May.

The Archdiocese of St. John’s has said it will set up an inquiry to investigate why a number of sexual assaults by priests went undetected for so many years, and how further assaults can be prevented.

21 Responses to Foley: Brendan Foley

  1. bowbri says:

    Is this the same father foley from st josephs in st johns?

  2. Sylvia says:

    I don’t know if it’s who you’re asking about bowbri. Is there a St. Joseph’s Church in St. John’s?

  3. Sylvia says:

    bowbri, I just found St. Joseph RC church in St. John’s.

    My information is limited so I don’t know if Brendan Foley was ever a priest at St. Joseph’s. I do know that in the mid 80s Brendan Foley was the only priest with the surname name Foley who was with (incardinated in) the Archdiocese of St. John’s Newfoundland.

  4. Esperanza says:

    St. Joseph’s church was closed some years ago but Brenda Foley was there at one time. I believe he still lives in the St. John’s area.

  5. Doc says:

    This priest should never have been sent to Canada. He was a priest in the East End of Glasgow in deprived areas abusing boys in the 70’s. These boys are now middle aged men struggling to deal with what happened to them. He has got away with a lot more than he got charged for. I would love to know where he is hiding out now. He should be facing the boys that he abused before the Archdiocese of Glasgow decided to send him away to cover up and cause more heartache for these boys in Canada.

  6. Sylvia says:

    Are you absolutely sure that this is the same priest Doc? I have no information on Foley’s whereabouts prior to his arrival in Canada. Was the Brendan Foley you speak of from Ireland?

  7. Esperanza says:

    Sylvia.

    While visiting Glasgow a f ew years ago I was asked by a Glaswegian gentleman about Brendan Foley. He is from there I believe.

  8. Sylvia says:

    Thanks Esperanza. I see now that he was born in Scotland. Was he ordained in Scotland as well? It looks that way, but I’m unsure. Does anyone know?

    Doc, would you please contact me by email at cornwall@theinquiry.ca? My name is Sylvia.

  9. Sylvia says:

    Foley was definitely from Scotland. He served in at least two parishes in Glasgow: St. Phillips in the Ruchazie district of the city, and St. John Ogilivie in Easterhouse district of the city. I have updated the page.

    I see too that in 2000 Foley published a book: ABBA: the God of Liberty http://www.thealternativebookshop.com/phil0001.html Note these few words in the promo: “This extraordinary new book contains profound insights that encourage the reader to re-evaluate conventional beliefs and shed the guilt heaped on them through the past teachings of well meaning but misguided religious leaders. “

  10. Grant Hiscock says:

    Sylvia, I’ve found your blog interesting. Brenda Foley lived in my mothers house for over 14 years and was a terrible selfish man whom I believe had a hand in her death.
    He stood to gain financially from her death as he under oth stated he had taken money. He gained over 250,000 from her death through forged documents.
    I am currently taking legal action against the firm that handled my late mothers money.
    Regards
    Grant

  11. Ronnie says:

    *This priest baptized my daughter in 1972 in St Constantines in Glasgow and was very involved with the youth group at the time, he was very young and modern had a motorbike but got moved away???.  It bothers me that in Glasgow they knew he was a problem and yet allowed him to go to Canada instead of getting rid of him at the time. I seem to remember that he was born in Glasgow and from a big family in the Gorbals area of Irish parents.

    • John W. Barton says:

      Ronnie, I knew Brendan Foley years ago. He came to Canada on his own. He was not driven out of Scotland. And as far as I know he was never accused of sexual assault over there. And his assault charges here were against MEN – not boys! The media says boys just to dramatize it even more and it was TOUCHING two men he was convicted off. NOthing to do with children. Do not believe everything you read. I listened to that interview and he sounded like a total asshole but I do not believe he is a sexual predator.

  12. Boot says:

    Foley..yes, as an educator, I knew of him in the 1980s in Burin…he was involved in local school council, as was our now Provincial Premier Dunderdale…she may be able to help you…

  13. eyner says:

    Brenday Foley has lived in Managua, Nicaragua. You can find on facebook like Don Brendano. Never changed.

  14. John W. Barton says:

    Sylvia, Not to be disrespectful here but this man is not a sexual predator like so many priests. I remember that time in Newfoundland. It was horrible with the Jim Hickey case and all priests were painted with the same brush. The police visited every home in Bruin asking if Foley had assaulted anyone, (The same cop who caught Foley kissing a man in his car and reported it to the parish years ago, so my guess is it was a witch hunt).Everyone in the community said no. They did this for weeks. Eventually two men – not boys – said he touched them. They were both over 18. All the media reported was boys. That is not true. They were fully grown men. Foley became a businessman. The cops pressed charges NOT the guys. The crown. There had to be a guilty verdict otherwise foley could have sued the government for millions since they were the ones who brought charges and destroyed him. What kind of sexual predator gets 28 days in jail – I believe Foley actually spent less than a week in jail? Those in law and our entire community knew this was ridiculous. Nobody even went to the courthouse during the trial except for two journalists. If he had been a bad man the courthouse would have been blocked. As I say, I think he got caught-up in the witch hunt….. Just my opinion.

  15. Sylvia says:

    The police would not have laid charges John had they not had sufficient evidence that a crime had been committed. And rest assured he never would have been found guilty had there not been sufficient evidence of criminal activity.

    As for “what kind of predator gets 28 days in jail”? Where have you been John? Believe it or not, there are unfortunately many convicted predators who don’t serve one single day in jail.

    • PJ says:

      Good answer Sylvia…all good points.

    • John says:

      Yes but as you pointed out our justice system is much less than perfect. I have more than a few friends who suffered tremendously at the hands of pedophile priests and are scarred for life. These priests should never see the light of day. Brendan Foley was convicted of briefly touching a grown man’s penis when they were in bed together. The other charge was a hand on the lap of another man. Not children. I head this case set a precedent across Canada that a hand on the lap constitutes sexual assault. I have not read court transcripts but I knew people close to this case years ago over 20 years. I believe what they told me but if you can prove me wrong I would appreciate it because I have always felt bad about it and that he did not deserve this conviction based on those two incidents. Maybe I am wrong but you labeled him a ‘child molester’ in this blog and that is just false.

  16. Sylvia says:

    I think for your own peace of mind you need to order the transcripts John.

  17. Grant His says:

    John W. Barton:
    This man is a predator. I can assure you I know him extremely well and I know his past. He WAS forced to leave Scotland and eventually forced to leave the Priesthood….he is a PREDATOR and an extremely dangerous one at that, preying on the weak.

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