Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced Wednesday, Oct. 23 that he has dropped charges of charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and aggravated indecent assault against Father Robert L. Brennan.
The charges stemmed from an allegation of sexual abuse by 26-year-old Sean McIlmail, who was found dead from a drug overdose. Williams said McIlmail died over the weekend of Oct. 12-13.
McIlmail reported the allegation of his abuse to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in January 2013 and the archdiocese immediately reported it to the district attorney’s office. That led to Father Brennan’s arrest Sept. 26.
The charges allege that Father Brennan began to abuse McIlmail when he was 11 years old in 1998 until 2001 at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Northeast Philadelphia.
While Father Brennan was featured extensively in the 2005 Philadelphia grand jury report on sexual abuse by clergy, McIlmail’s allegation was the only one to result in criminal charges against the priest. Thus with the young man’s death, the charges were dropped.
Since his arrest Father Brennan has remained free on bail in his home in Maryland. His faculties to minister or present himself as a priest have been suspended since 2005 and the canon law process continues toward his permanent removal from the clerical state, i.e. laicization.
As part of its policy, the archdiocese urged anyone with information regarding Father Brennan to contact the district attorney’s office at 215-686-8000.
Anyone wishing to make a report of any allegation of sexual abuse should contact a local law enforcement agency and/or the archdiocesan Office of Investigations at 1-888-930-9010. Those wishing to report a violation of the archdiocesan “Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries” may also contact the archdiocesan Office of Investigations.
The archdiocese said it recognized the news of Father Brennan’s arrest may be painful to victims of sexual violence, and offered support or assistance through the Victim Assistance Office of the archdiocese at 1-888-800-8780.
Father Brennan, who was ordained in 1964, has served at the following parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia: St. Pius X, Broomall (1964-1970); Our Lady of Calvary, Philadelphia (1970-1974); Stella Maris, Philadelphia (1974-1981); St. George, Glenolden (1981-1986); chaplain, Archbishop Prendergast High School, Drexel Hill (1986); St. Helena, Philadelphia (1986-1988); St. Ignatius of Antioch, Yardley (1988-1989); St. Eleanor, Collegeville (1989); St. Mary, Schwenksville (1989-1992); leave of absence (1992-1993); Resurrection of Our Lord (1993-2004); chaplain, Camilla Hall (2004-2005); ministry restricted and faculties removed (2005).
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: