Former altar boy allegedly molested by priest dies of overdose

Oct. 18, 2013 at 1:42 AM

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The case against a former Philadelphia priest is being reconsidered following the drug overdose death of a 26-year-old alleged victim, prosecutors said.

District Attorney Seth Williams said Thursday he expects to announce next week whether the prosecution of the Rev. Robert Brennan will continue, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Investigators believe Brennan, now 75, molested at least 20 boys at parishes in the Philadelphia area, the newspaper said. But he is protected by the statute of limitations in most of those cases.

Williams paid tribute to the 26-year-old former altar boy, who told investigators last year that Brennan, then at Resurrection of Our Lord Church in Philadelphia's Rhawnhurst neighborhood, began molesting him when he was 11.

"The decades-long demons and scars the victim in this case endured ended this weekend, when he was found dead by Philadelphia police detectives," Williams said. "This young man's courage should serve as an inspiration to us all."

The medical examiner's office said the man died from an accidental drug overdose.

Marci Hamilton, a lawyer representing the young man's family, said they want to grieve in private.

"He was a wonderful young man doing everything he possibly could to pull himself out of this darkness," Hamilton said.

Brennan, who had moved to Maryland, was arrested last month. The alleged victim decided to come forward after Monsignor William Lynn was convicted last year of covering up for abusive priests.

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