Former Priest and Serial Abuser Arrested in Philadelphia on Federal Charges

A priest who has been accused of abusing children since the 1980s was just arrested in Philadelphia on federal charges. We are grateful for this move and know that it will keep children safer.

Defrocked priest Robert L. Brennan was arrested for allegedly lying to federal investigators about his relationship with the family of one of his accusers. We hope that this arrest signals that law enforcement officials in the FBI are looking closely at cases of clergy abuse and finding opportunities to keep potentially dangerous men off the street.

Brennan may be old, but 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 as a result of this arrest.

On behalf of many survivors in our area and fellow SNAP members, I'm grateful to the McIlmail family for always being there despite their loss,” said Philadelphia SNAP Leader Mike McDonnell.

We hope that this news will show survivors that their reports matter and will encourage others, 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 secular therapists, trusted friends and family, and support groups like ours.

CONTACT: Michael McDonnell, Volunteer Philadelphia Area SNAP Leader ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant