The Archdiocese of Philadelphia settled a claim of sex abuse brought by the family of Sean McIlmail, a 26-year-old former student at Resurrection of Our Lord parish in Northeast Philadelphia. Shortly before he was to testify in a criminal case against Father Robert L. Brennan, the former altar boy died of a heroin overdose in 2013. McIlmail said the now-defrocked priest molested him for four years – beginning at age 11.
According to the family, it’s the largest payout made by the Philadelphia Archdiocese. While the amount is secret, it won’t cover the cost of McIlmail’s life. It might only serve as a potent reminder and motivator for meaningful changes in policy and practice.
“In the 2005 grand jury report, city prosecutors painted Brennan as a repeat offender who kept striking anew as the church shuttled him from parish to parish, lying to parishioners about his stays in a church-run treatment facility in Chester County. The parishes were told that Brennan was “on retreat” or sick with Lyme disease.
In all, Brennan abused more than 20 youngsters in four parishes, including Resurrection, according to the grand jury report. Brennan, 80, was removed from active ministry soon after the report was released and defrocked last year. He has been living in Maryland for several years.”
Legal challenges continue to delay the release of a Grand Jury Report conducted by the PA Attorney General’s Office. Their investigation details abuse and alleged cover-ups in several other Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses. State laws continue to work against victims and child protection.