Victim’s Family Sues Philadelphia Archdiocese for Wrongful Death

Click here to read: “Overdose victim’s family sues Archdiocese for wrongful death,” by Joseph A. Slobodzian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 13, 2013.



The lawsuit contends that church officials’ failure to remove Brennan, a priest with a long history of complaints about misconduct with young boys, directly led to him molesting Patrick McIlmail from ages 11 to 14, beginning in 1998, when he was an altar boy at Resurrection of Our Lord parish at Castor Avenue and Vista Street in Rhawnhurst.

Archdiocesan officials had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, the third against the Philadelphia church involving allegations of child sexual abuse by Brennan.



The lawsuit contends that church officials’ failure to remove Brennan, a priest with a long history of complaints about misconduct with young boys, directly led to him molesting Patrick McIlmail from ages 11 to 14, beginning in 1998, when he was an altar boy at Resurrection of Our Lord parish at Castor Avenue and Vista Street in Rhawnhurst.

Archdiocesan officials had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, the third against the Philadelphia church involving allegations of child sexual abuse by Brennan.


34 thoughts on “Victim’s Family Sues Philadelphia Archdiocese for Wrongful Death

      1. There’s Bam with another hit and run..won’t stick around for a conversation just BAM..a cheap shot and he is on his way…

      2. Bam no….. but it will prevent others from going thru the same hell and do I think its worth it……….every penny of it. Maybe its time that corrupt priests and bishops start living like Francis of Assis just like the Pope seems to be advocating they live simply. One thing I admire about Chaput is a least ,he is not afraid to sell off the riches………paintings, manisons land etc time the church gets back to the basics saving souls not the money in their bank accounts. I lived in India we have so much excess in this country people don’t even know what real poverty is………During the end of St. Francis life there was a lot of arguing in his order because they didn’t want to live in the woods and live off the land like St. Francis did but St. Francis was a smart man he knew the soul should always comes first not material wealth. I pray the church knows true poverty that their souls maybe saved. That is true Christian charity…….not handing out money…..the church was not interested in saving this young mans soul…..did they even say a mass for him at the cathedral? Where is God in all this?????

      3. How brave you are when it is not you or one of your family members to make that comment, what is your remedy ?

      4. You sound reasonable, Bam, but I believe you need to convince your doctor to increase the dosage of your medication, because you seem awfully misplaced and seriously uniformed, but still… I’m thankful you were able to take this time away from your valuable day, which I’m sure consists of no more than scouring the internet for directions on how to jump rope and writing ignorant, insensitive comments on blogs dedicated to a serious epidemic of pain, tragedy, and injustice that occurs to innocent and defenseless children throughout the world. It couldn’t be anymore obvious to me that somebody diluted your parents’ gene pool with too much chlorine. Is it really all about money, Bam Bam, or are you just trying to stir the pot to elicit controversy? Whatever your intentions, I’m sure you’re a good Catholic and you’ll continue working hard every week in order to dedicate that stringent percentage of your household income you’ve been dumping into the collection plate for years. I’m sure you are just merely a listener and you believe everything you are told by supposedly “spiritual” politicians impersonating God on Earth.

        Obviously, you are not a victim of childhood sexual abuse, but it’s likely someone within your inner circle is a victim of abuse, or regrettably, someone else might be victimized, because there are so many of us out in the world and evil doesn’t seem to be fading away any time soon. There are so many more of us and too many people ignore this reality by closing their minds and that is the single biggest reason there will always be “too many people like me.” No victim would ever confide such personal turmoil to somebody like yourself, who trolls the Information Superhighway searching for the exact moment you can humiliate yourself on a public blog. You are a prime example of why I have such inherent distrust for strangers, and those strange enough to ignore the overwhelming evidence presented right in front of their own two eyes. The disease you’re suffering from is called “cognitive dissidence” and it’s toxic with a significantly harmful outcome. This disease of “turning one’s mind and heart to reality” is extremely contagious and it breeds ignorance when rubbed off on other uninformed good Catholics, and its results are traumatic, tragic and all too often, deadly.

        Do you actually believe that Deborah and Michael McIlmail are operating under the idea that money will fill in the giant gap left in their lives from losing their son? People all around the world file wrongful death lawsuits all the time, not because they are more interested in money rather than their loved one, but because sometimes lawsuits are the only avenue toward justice many legal systems map out to hold “murderers” (and their accessories) accountable! Were you just as forthright in you insensitive assessment when the family of Nicole Brown Simpson filed a wrongful death lawsuit against O.J.? Did you publicize your ignorance when the family of Treyvon Martin filed the exact same lawsuit against George Zimmerman for killing their son? Maybe you don’t even believe the facts of those two cases I referenced because your pastor told you it wasn’t O.J. or Zimmerman after all, “it was the bogeyman.” Or, maybe you just don’t care about those two cases or any others based on evil people destroying innocents by your forever-loving Catholic “Pro-Child Rape” Institution, because you tend to believe and side with the perpetrators and their accomplices of such crimes? Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked yourself, “What does that say about me?”

        Just reread that comment you wrote, and then admit to me that you actually do have some iota of what the hell you’re talking about and furthermore what facts are weighing in this case, and why Mr. and Mrs. McIlmail don’t deserve justice, which will always be unbalanced since we can never replace what was stolen from us, nor is there content in any justice available in a “civilized” world, or in most cases “not” available because of the SOL laws, because I know for myself that there is no measure of vengeance equal to the evil my abusers inflicted upon me when I was a little boy. A 26-year-old man (kid in my opinion) died from a drug overdose, and he died shortly after coming forward and reporting to authorities the abuse he suffered, along with many other “known” victims of Catholic priest Robert Brennan. Most rational, logical, and even stupid non-Catholic listeners would conclude that this victim turned to drugs as a way to dull the pain after suffering years of abuse at the hands of a scumbag priest and the darkness that lived on inside of himself after the “sexual” aspect of the abuse ended. I could have been just like Sean McIlmail, and I look back on life now and I realize how many seriously dangerous situations I put myself in over and over and over, and I can only conclude that through merely dumb luck, oddly enough I’m still breathing. Everyday is such a struggle, and in the worst periods of my life I would regret fighting with all I’ve got just to make it through the day, because I knew I would have to climb this uphill battle all over again the following day. It’s constant fear and it’s not even the unknowing of what tomorrow may bring for some of us, but it’s the fear residing in our hearts that “there will be a tomorrow.”

        I haven’t told anybody what I’m about to share except for the people who were there that night and know what happened. My neighbor just got home from nearly six years, on and off, in Afghanistan and Iraq and he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, though he would vehemently disagree with his already “clinically diagnosed” assessment. In the two months since he’s be back home, his wife or our neighbors have called the police close to two dozen times. He’s gotten physical with his wife, and on my 37th birthday of this year, August 29th, my partner received a text from this veteran’s wife that she was afraid and her husband had a gun and was threatening her and their two small children. I walked over and into their house hoping to calm the situation and when I opened the front door the .44 caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun he was pointing at his wife’s head while she held her kids behind her protecting them was suddenly being pointed at my head. Fortunately, while I was able to distract her husband with my head in his cross-hairs instead of hers, his wife and kids were able to get out of the house and over to my house. I remember what he and I talked about, but that’s between he and I and I won’t ever whisper a peep or one word about it. Within a few minutes I could hear sirens from several police cars pulling into our cul de sac and some time shortly after that I heard a man identify himself as a police officer through a loud speaker or bullhorn, but I can’t remember what else he said. Before I even knew the situation was escalating instead of calming down, my neighbor pulled the trigger and not a single thought crossed my mind. I didn’t even flinch or pee in my pants. I had no reaction at all, not even when we both realized the gun was empty, and I saw a brief moment in which I tackled him and held him down on the floor and yelled for the police waiting outside. (His wife removed the bullets from all his guns the night before this incident.) The chief of police has been calling me non-stop, and it seems they even let loose a grief counselor from the county, who has been calling me everyday and she shows up at my front door uninvited. My partner thinks I’m in shock. The truth and moral to this story is that “I just don’t give a shit!” My main objective was to protect this woman and her kids. I wasn’t afraid while the gun was being pointed at me and I wasn’t counting my lucky stars when I exited the house alive either. I just have no feeling about it whatsoever, and that is what really scares the shit out of me. My absent emotion concerning my own life, I believe, is a direct result of having already experienced the much more horrifying and painful situations of being trapped with evil men who molested, raped, and tortured me as a child and all the memories, nightmares, panic, true fear, sadness, and rage that has lived and breathed inside of me since. Even after living through an experience that would surely be traumatic for most people, I can think of no experience worse than the abuse I endured as a little boy.

        My “takers” turned me into someone almost inhuman, or lifeless, and they took away from me those basic human traits they themselves lacked. I keep wondering what my purpose is in life and why I am still alive, and why courageous men like Sean McIlmail and Arthur Baselice III are not here.

        Maybe the answer is right here in this comment, or why I felt compelled to write this reply to your comment anyway. Maybe my job is to educate clearly misguided people. I am actually concerned and I really want to help out someone like you, Bam Bam, who has evidently hit rock bottom and has decided to continue digging. Maybe my purpose in life is to assure you that you have the right to think logically and you don’t always have to believe what your priest tells you.

        Also, this reply comment is not meant to be interpreted as a rude anecdote predicated upon the anger and rage I felt after reading Bam Bam’s initial comment, but rather a mission of my own to save someone so unsuspecting from ever feeling an ounce of pain we victims of childhood sexual abuse have been submitted to. There might be hope for you yet, Bam Bam, but your chances of ever recovering from your blindness significantly decrease when you seek out your priest for counsel instead of allowing your own heart to lead the way.

        (Post script – Do you know why I fear a Catholic priest most? Because when I was a kid, a priest said he would be nice to me if I worshiped him. No matter how hard I tried to please him, he was never nice.)

        Peace out!

      5. So I have a question. Did the embezzler that Chaput pressed charges against go to jail and or did she return all the money she stole? My point being he may never see all the money she took. That being said why did he bother to seek justice? One step further aren’t lives more important than money?

      6. Bam, This crazy business of having to shell out money to compensate for injuring and killing people’s kids really hurts the AD, doesn’t it -?!

      7. Bam, you’re short sighted. Those in charge must know the long term effects of their years of non action. Hit em where it hurts

  1. To Bam: So sorry that you have responded in such a “nasty” way to a family that is in such pain. You may see only a vey small picture of what is happening here like peering through the peephole in a door to see who is knocking. This family has suffer tremendously over so many years and the institutional church continues to spend millions of dollars to get the State Legislature to preserve the “Statute of Limitations (SOL) on cases of sexual abuse.
    The only way to the attention of the hierarchy is to hit them where they are vulnerable and that is in the “pocket book”. How many years has it taken to bring this issue to the attention of people in power? In Philadelphia this goes back to the first Grand Jury Report of 2002 and how many years before this has this “crime” been known and recognized and still hidden and swept under the carpet, and with payments with clauses of silence for the families of victims.
    Sorry Bam, I totally disagree with you. This is not about money. Clearly this is about challenging “the powers that be” to be responsible for their dereliction of duty in working with victims and handling this issue as a crime not some method of “protecting ” the people from scandal.

  2. Bam ‘in it for the money’. Spoken like a true Christian…… Disgusting response. Take a look at the contradictions in the church right now. Some full of money and new buildings/opulence …..others falling a part and closing. Those are material, replaceable things, not a persons life. This poor family will never be done dealing with their loss. It’s not about greed, but justice. Jerk.

  3. Members of this blog show that an individual is guilty until proven innocent. Has everyone forgotten that it is an alleged abuse.

    What has happened to innocent until proven guilty? Oh I forgot if you wear a collar then you are guilty.

    1. Bam good point. Thing is with this site is that we talk to each other and we don’t keep quiet…..many on this site have been informed he has other victims ….statue of limitations keep them from pressing charges….Bam it wasn’t til I started talking to people about the abuse and meeting survivors that I realized to my horror how many survivors must be out there not just concerning this priest but all the predator priests and especially the ones in the grand jury report that were stationed at my grade school and high school Brennan being one of them. See the AD knew and the survivors knew but now we know…..

    2. Rich pours his heart out and this is your response? Sorry, Rich, move on to the next one because this one ain’t gettin’ it….

      I believe the victims.

    3. Bam you might want to take a look at the 2005 Grand jury report concerning Fr Brennan. While we won’t know the guilt or innocence in this case of Sean because the charges are now dropped and Sean is deceased just take some time to look at who you are defending. I don’t condemn a person because they are wearing a collar..just read that section and let me know what you think.
      As for making assumptions, you have stated this family is in it for the money. What is your evidence of that? If you want to challenge others because you feel they make assumptions then check yourself and your statements also.

    4. I think it is better, even necessary, to deal with child sexual abuse as a “false positive.” I think it’s worth it to be wrong 10,000 times and apologize, rather than risking ignoring that 1 time when a child is truly being abused.

      Believe it or not, but I actually understand you Bam Bam. It’s easy for people to peer in from the outside and judge the situation while knowing few or no facts in the case. You’re just doing what you were taught and you’re obeying as a good Catholic. I was like you once, except I was still a little kid, often forced to bow to the authority adults and priests thought they had over me, and I tried desperately to prove I was also a good Catholic. It backfired though, because no matter how much effort I put forward in being a good Catholic, it only caused me to decent more from the abhorrent and evil institution that is the Catholic Church.

      I believe I have the right to weigh in on this conversation with my own two cents since I personally know several of Robert Brennan’s victims, and I have a very close relationship with one. Not unlike my own position, they don’t want money and 99.999% never claim they do. We just want to tell our stories and give a judge or jury a chance to decide our credibility and the facts in our cases. 99% of the time, it is the Catholic Church who throws the issue of “money” at victims and broadcasts what they believe we want instead of acting on behalf of Jesus and asking us how they can help. I believe the issue of money only arises from the hierarchy and people like yourself, Bam Bam, who, for whatever reason, worship gold and silver, or as I consider it “colored metal that won’t give me back the “personal” value taken from me and it won’t provide escape from my memories and nightmares.”

      Men aren’t guilty for simply being Catholic priests (even though I will admit it pains me to write that). Catholic priests are guilty when they rape children, and as I’ve stated clearly I’d rather be vigilant and wrong 10,000 times rather than being ignorant and willfully in dissent from truth, especially when presented overwhelming evidence for my own eyes to gander. I’m actually surprised that anyone, Catholic or otherwise, would argue that any priest is guilty automatically since the burden of proof always rests upon the victim’s shoulders. Do you think it’s shocking coincidence that time after time when a victim comes forward to legally and publicly accuse any adult of sexual abuse, shortly thereafter more victims of the abuser borrow the courage of that first accuser to come forward as well? Or, do you think they are “fakers” looking for a payday? I don’t think it’s even remotely possible to fake having been sexually abused as a child. Of course I am aware of false complaints, but that exists within other crimes as well, like the 500 people who claimed they were on a SEPTA bus when it crashed and they were injured, when it’s impossible to fit that many people on one bus, and surveillance video hidden on the bus later confirmed that the bus was empty and out-of-service at the time of the accident. Are you also a staunch critic advocating for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority? Where is your outrage for those criminals who tried defrauding Philadelphia’s institution of public transportation? Or I suppose you only express outrage when the accused wears a collar, correct?

      D o you also realize, Bam Bam, that in every case brought forth in criminal and/or civil trials against “any person” accused of sexually abusing children, authorities will investigate for corroborating evidence from other possible victims of the accused, and in my own case, along with most I have followed, every accuser rattles off the same story of grooming and the exact same methods employed by our abusers to trap us and the certain actions they physically and sexually committed upon us? Are you aware that nearly 100% of District Attorneys refuse to touch any sexual abuse case if there is only one accusing victim and nothing to collaborate that’s victim’s story? When I my story became public in mid-June 2009, 14 other men I had never met and all living their entire lives outside the states where I was born and later relocated to, came forward corroborating my own story nearly word for word. If a man accused is truly innocent I would think he’d be adamant in wanting to prove his innocence, but it’s only all too often that child rapists and those who are priests, shrink back and fade from the public eye and legal processes, and relocate to a third-world country, and other places where they believe they are anonymous and it will be easier for them to re-offend.

      What happened to former Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter Bill Conlin, who was identified as having sexually abused several children in the 70s and 80s? One accuser is an Atlantic County, NJ District Attorney? If anyone would know the legal ramifications of filing a false police report and defaming a person’s reputation I’m sure she’d be high on the list. As I recall, didn’t this coward, Bill Conlin, state that he would fight everyday, even it it takes the rest of his life, to prove he is innocent of these crimes? Where is Bill Conlin? Has he called you, Bam Bam? If you hear from him, could you tell him to write me? I have some pertinent questions I would like answered.

      Have you ever been molested, raped, sexually tortured by a Catholic priest, Bam Bam? Have you ever called the Catholic Church or a religious order for help after having been abused? I’m thinking most likely not, so you couldn’t have the slightest idea how horrible they treat us when they accuse us of lying right away, which is similar to my believing someone is guilty without hearing the facts just because he wears a collar. Hypocritical don’t you think?

      How about if you send me an email, Bam Bam, and we can exchange phone numbers and I’ll give you some time to explain yourself and I will use my time to enlighten you about the darkness. Deal?
      Peace out!
      Rich Green

      (Post script – Why not signed your name to your comments? I hardly believe your given name is “Bam,” unless perhaps your parents were die hard Flintstones fans and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to name their child after a four inch fictional cartoon character? But, if indeed it is truly your given name then maybe I can understand just a little why you are so miserable with yourself and your own life. Judging, insulting, and degrading others, whom you’ve likely never even met, is a common characteristic of people who feel inadequate about themselves in some or many ways, and need to degrade others to feel good about personal joy. I know the type well; I call them scumbag child-raping Catholic priests!)

    5. Let’s apply the same principle to the Victim(s) and give them the benefit of the doubt they are telling the truth.

      1. Skeletons in the closet. Where are the other victims now? More like blaming the drug abuse on an easy target. History to go along with a collar. Ignore the fact that the mother is a social worker and father is a high profile detective. What parent would not see the signs….

        1. Wow, some pretty hateful stuff here, Bam gallagher. Human decency and compassion dictate that such hurtful and mean-spirited comments are very painful for the family and all those that supported the very brave victim.

          Michael Skiendzielewski
          Captain (retired)
          Philadelphia Police Dept.

        2. Where are the other victims now? I would guess scattered around the local area unable to prosecute because of the statutes. “History” to go along with a collar..what does that even mean?
          Blame the parents Bam..blame the kid..blame everyone but Brennan and all that knew and did nothing. It is much easier to blame a family you don’t know ,than a Church you do know.

          Hateful does not even begin to describe your comments towards a family that lost a child..if that is Catholicism to you Bam then rock on.
          Rich he really does remind me of Bam Bam..didn’t that little kid take his bat and smack anything that came his way?

          1. Another unoriginal story. And I guess Marci is in it for justice too? What’s her cut for writing all family statements and joe s’ column?

          2. I agree with you Bam..the Brennan scenario is so unoriginal ..the old parish shuffle and a few stops at at St John Vianney and then back out to the unsuspecting kids and absolutely is unoriginal..we can agree on that much.

          3. Bam seems to me your either smoking crack or a narcissist….neither worth arguing with……..because you will not get anywhere. So please sober up or get some counseling………..and if this seems ridiculous good because that’s how ridiculous and outrageous and insensitive your remarks are……

          1. Mike.I think it is just a local guy who will always defend the church while if the shoe were on the other foot and he needed defense, the Church would say… “Who?”

  4. This brave young man was 2 years old when the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its leadership first learned of Father Brennan’s incidents of sexual abuse of children. They willfully, recklessly, carelessly and callously ignored the horrific warning signs and behavior and allowed Fr. Brennan to continue on his path of destruction of the innocence and lives of the youngest of Philadelphia Catholic parishioners.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

  5. My brother made comments in another forum about people alleging abuse for the money. He doesn’t even know yet that one of the priests for whom he was a altar server violated his own sister! it has taken me over 40 years to come forward and is still so painful to talk about this with anyone. My drug was an eating disorder which thankfully i have overcome before it killed me. I cannot begin to imagine someone fabricating a story of abuse.

    1. suzpt I am sorry for what happened to you and I am sorry for the “bams” out there and the comments they make

  6. Bam isn’t worth the time spent talking to. At Mass last Sunday, praying I confess to Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned………. I thought how can the abuser priests , bishops, cardinals etc pray this prayer knowing all of the covering up that has been done throughout the years?Do they really think they are beyond God’s Law? Really?? Bevilacqua, Rigali, Lynn, Avery, Chaput?Etc… The crimes committed against innocent children, moving the pedophiles from parish to parish, only to continue on and on assaulting our children. I victim of sexual abuse is 1 to many. I will stand behind any victim who has the courage to come forward. Ive met some of the survivors, parents of children who were abused, and commited suicide, it pulls on my heart………….
    I know who Jesus is, and my faith grows every day. I won’t leave the church. I am a Christian. I am a Catholic4Change.



  7. What “Bam” fails to realize, is that the RCC cares nothing and will do NOTHING unless you sue. Why? Because they only care about their coffers… thats it. Children are disposable to them and sadly they are losing the battle due to the waking of the people and finally seeing the sickening truth. Stay well and don’t feed the trolls like Bam, he/it only feeds from the attention.

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