Father Joseph Brennan was an icon in the small North Dakota town of New London between 1953 and 1973. As the head of the town’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish and its associated boarding school, he amassed supporters with his show of dedication to the school. By recruiting elite coaches, Brennan built a high school sports empire that won state championships and strengthened a sense of pride among the town’s one thousand residents. But alongside the success story, another much darker tale was being written and ruthlessly suppressed.
Sexual assault, theft, drug distribution, and blackmail ran rampant in Brennan’s secret life. Those who aimed to expose his actions were threatened into silence as Brennan built a fortune with stolen money and destroyed the lives of those around him, all while church leaders turned a blind eye to his horrific transgressions. As Brennan’s supporters and victims clashed, the town of New London was brought to its knees.
Roman Collar Crime is based on the controversial true story of one priest who held an entire community hostage for twenty years and the curious sportswriter who finally exposed two decades of heinous actions in small town America.
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The pride of a small North Dakota community is the Our Lady of Perpetual Help School. With its elite sports teams and brand-new facilities, it’s a shining beacon of success in a town of fewer than one thousand people. The school’s accomplishments are veiled by an air of innocence and righteousness. Rumors emerge, as they do in small towns, but they never quite flourish.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help has just secured the 1970 state basketball championship, and sportswriter Frank Nash sits down for an interview with the man behind it all—Father Joseph Brennan. But as Nash digs further into Brennan’s work in the town, he begins to peek behind the veil, and he finds that something sinister awaits.
Nash’s story on a winning basketball team contorts into a shocking tale of sexual assault, corruption, and the trusted man who terrorized an entire town for years.