Defrocked Philly Priest Robert Brennan disgustingly said, ‘Absolutely Not’ Sorry Before Sentencing

(For Immediate Release March 31, 2022) 

A defrocked Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Robert Brennan, was sentenced today in federal court to four counts of making false statements to the FBI. The 84-year-old former cleric now lives in Maryland. Brennan was arrested on these charges in September 2019. Brennan received a sentence of 5 years probation with the first two on house arrest.

SNAP’s Board President Shaun Dougherty and SNAP advocate Sheamus Bonner were present in the courtroom in support of the McIlmail family. The McIlmail’s lost their son Sean just days before Brennan's preliminary hearing on charges that he sexually abused Sean as a child.

An exclusive report from Philadelphia CBS3 asked Brennan at the courthouse entrance,


Eyewitness News: Are you sorry?

Brennan: Absolutely not.

That’s what Robert Brennan told Eyewitness News as the defrocked Catholic priest rushed into the federal courthouse Thursday to hear his fate for lying to FBI agents.

Eyewitness News: Why all the lies?

Brennan admitted in court last year he lied to the FBI during an investigation into sexual abuse by clergy back in 2019, falsely saying he didn’t know one of his 20 alleged victims.

We stand with the McIlmail family, who are pillars of strength and provide support and hope to many clergy abuse victims. While the terms of the sentence may not be the outcome that was hoped for, some level of justice has been served. Mike McIlmail, Sean’s father, told reporters outside the courthouse “Apparently it’s OK to lie to the FBI.” 

To us, it is important for the community in which Brennan lives to know of his past. We know that there is no magic age at which a child abuser stops. In fact, when perpetrators are older, parents or youth-serving professionals may view them as less dangerous and be less vigilant. We believe that communities are safer because of the outcome of this case.

We hope that this news will show survivors that their outcries matter and will encourage victims, whether abused by Brennan or any other bishop, priest, deacon, brother, nun, or church staffer, to come forward and make a report to law enforcement. We also hope that those survivors will find healing and support from support groups like ours.

CONTACT: Michael McDonnell, SNAP Communication Manager ([email protected]), 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)

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