Philly DA drops charges against priest in sex assault

DA Seth Williams holds up victims picture

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has dropped charges against a priest accused of sexually abusing a child because the only defendant in the case has died of a drug overdose.

The case against Robert L. Brennan was based primarily on Sean McIlmail, 26, who died last week from an overdose, Williams said.

“Sometimes there will be additional evidence, sometimes there’s the statement of the defendant, sometimes there are photographs or other witnesses,” Williams said Wednesday. “In this situation, we thought there was not enough independent evidence — circumstantial or direct — to continue with the successful prosecution of Father Robert Brennan.”

Williams, surrounded by McIlmail’s family, called the young man a champion for other abused victims.

“Like many victims of child sexual abuse, unfortunately, Sean, who did not get counseling until it was too late, found his own way of self-medicating, which ultimately unfortunately led to his early death,” he said.

The urged all victims of sexual abuse to tell their stories to authorities who are there to help them.


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