Aug. 27 – FORT COLLINS – A Massachusetts man who joined The Brethren two years ago appeared in Larimer County District Court on Wednesday and said he wants to fight extradition to his hometown.
Earlier this month, Fort Collins police arrested Patrick Rooney, 24, on an outstanding larceny warrant in Wilmington, Mass.
His parents had tracked Rooney to Fort Collins, where they tipped off police to have their son arrested. It was a desperate effort to reclaim Rooney from The Brethren, authorities said.
Rooney dropped out of California’s Humboldt State University in October 1996 to join the group, then cut ties with his family and began traveling to recruit others.
Since his Aug. 10 arrest, Rooney has been held at the Larimer County Detention Center.
Police said he will be extradited to Massachusetts for investigation and prosecution on the larceny warrant.
But through a public defender, Rooney told Larimer County District Judge Arnaud Newton that he wants to fight return to his hometown. He said he does not understand the basis for the arrest warrant. Rooney has refused to talk to his parents, Mickey and Dorothy Rooney.
Yet he has met with other members of The Brethren, who regularly visit Rooney at the Fort Collins jail. “I have encouraged him to be strong, to hold fast to what the Bible says and to love the Lord, our God, with all his heart, soul and strength,” said Daniel Garcia, one of four members camped near Fort Collins.
As he awaited his court hearing Wednesday morning, Rooney sat among other inmates in orange jail garb, bowed his head and closed his eyes in prayer.