Catholic Priest

Robert J. Brague

Diocese: Diocese of Scranton

From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

On August 20, 1979, Father Robert J. Brague requested a leave of absence from Bishop J. Carroll McCormick. Brague stated that he had had doubts about continuing in the active ministry for several years.  McCormick granted his request.

On March 24, 1988, Bishop James C. Timlin received an anonymous letter from a parishioner advising that rumors were circulating about Brague and a high school female. On June 16, 1988, that same anonymous parishioner sent a second letter to Timlin, advising that the relationship between Brague and the teenage female was still continuing. The parishioner stated that it was assumed that Timlin had disregarded the previous letter and further suggested that Timlan did not have very much control over his priests.

On August 29, 1988, Timlin received a letter from the sister of the high school female. She advised that Brague had had sexual relations with her sister at age 17 who became pregnant. She further advised that Brague had had at least two other affairs.

On September 6, 1988, Timlin responded to the letter by stating that as soon as the matter was brought to his attention, Brague was removed from office. Timlin noted that it was better to say as little as possible about the circumstances surrounding his removal rather than cause greater scandal through undue publicity. In the letter he further noted that, “Father Brague and your sister have a long, difficult road ahead. . . What has happened is their responsibility and certainly Father Brague will take care of his obligations.”

On December 1, 1988, the Reverend Neil Van Loon, Chancellor for the Diocese, sent a letter thanking Monsignor Henry Mansell of the Archdiocese of New York for his assistance in helping Brague secure a priestly assignment in his Dioecese. On December 7, 1988, the Archdiocese of New York notified Van Loon that the approval was not finalized, however.

In April, 1989, the victim gave birth to a baby boy.

On August 25, 1989, Timlin sent a letter to the Reverend John Nevins, Bishop of Venice, Florida, wherein he advised that Brague would no longer be able to exercise his priesthood in the Diocese of Scranton due to circumstances that had been discussed with Father Moretti. Timlin wrote that he wholeheartedly approved of Brague exercising his priesthood in Venice and highly recommended Brague.

On January 19, 1990, Brague was appointed Parochial Vicar of St. Ann’s church in Naples, Florida, effective immediately.

On July 24, 1996, the victim requested that the Diocese cover the cost of tuition, or eliminate the tuition charge altogether, in order for her son to attend St. Agnes School in Towanda.  On August 6, 1996, the victim was notified that her son would be able to attend the school, even though enrollment numbers were rather high for the following year.  She was further advised that the school was willing to arrange for a scholarship for him.

Additional information regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania and the systemic cover up by senior church officials is compiled in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victim’s Report published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General following a two-year grand jury investigation.  A complete copy of the Report is available on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website.