Pa. family who lost son sues church in abuse case
PHILADELPHIA — An alleged priest-abuse victim who died of a drug overdose would be alive if the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had heeded previous molestation complaints about the cleric, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
The wrongful death complaint filed by the family of Sean McIlmail seeks at least $50,000 in damages. It names the archdiocese, the Rev. Robert L. Brennan and Monsignor William Lynn as defendants.
The family contends that church officials knew of multiple pedophile allegations against Brennan for about 10 years before McIlmail met him at a parish in the Rhawnhurst section of Philadelphia.
McIlmail recently came forward with allegations that the priest abused him for years, beginning at age 11 in 1998.
Prosecutors filed rape charges against Brennan in September, but dropped the case weeks later when McIlmail died at age 26.
McIlmail had been in and out of substance abuse treatment programs since graduating from college, and had not been able to hold down a job, attorney Marci Hamilton said.
A church spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit. Brennan's attorney in the criminal case, Trevan Borum, said previously that the priest had hoped to clear his name at trial.
Borum said Wednesday that it's not clear if he will represent Brennan in the civil case.
Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy, is serving a three- to six-year term for child endangerment for allegedly reassigning predator priests to unsuspecting parishes. He is appealing his conviction.
Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, said that he had not yet read the lawsuit.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.