PHILADELPHIA— Less than a month after police arrested him at his Perryville home, prosecutors have announced that they will dismiss their case against a former Philadelphia priest who allegedly sexually abused an altar boy numerous times more than a decade ago because the victim died recently, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
Perryville Police Department officers arrested Robert Lee Brennan, 75, on Sept. 25 after Philadelphia authorities contacted the agency and informed officials of the outstanding arrest warrant naming Brennan.
Brennan remained in the Cecil County Detention Center briefly on the sole charge of fugitive from justice in Pennsylvania before he was taken to Philadelphia, processed and then released on bond, prosecutors said, adding that he has since returned to Maryland.
Because of the death of 26-year-old Sean McIlmail – the alleged victim and the key witness for the prosecution – Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams had no choice but to drop the case against Brennan, explained Tasha Jamerson, director of communications for that office.
“The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office will be withdrawing the charges against Robert L. Brennan at his next court listing, which is scheduled for Nov. 14. Brennan is out on bail and, according to his attorney, is currently in Maryland,” she reported in a press release.
Williams expressed emotion during a press conference last week after learning that McIlmail had “unexpectedly passed away” earlier this month, according to his office.
“I can not say enough about the bravery Sean displayed in coming forward to bring these crimes to light. His courage should serve as an inspiration to us all,” Williams reportedly said.
Brennan, who has living in Perryville since 2005, was named in a grand jury report on sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, prosecutors said.
There, prosecutors added, Brennan is charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and aggravated indecent assault – all of which are scheduled to be dismissed on Nov. 14.
Brennan allegedly sexually assaulted McIlmail, an altar boy at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Northeast Philadelphia, from 1998 through 2001, beginning when the boy was 11 and continuing until he was 14, according to prosecutors.
Brennan, who was 60 to 63 years old then, was the assistant pastor at the church during that three-year period, he noted.