Because the alleged victim in a recently charged clergy sexual abuse case has died, the future of the case is now in doubt.
This week district Attorney Seth Williams told the press that the alleged victim in the rape and assault case against Father Robert Brennan passed away at the weekend.
'It is with great sadness that I have to announce that the victim in the rape and assault case against Robert Brennan passed away unexpectedly,' Williams reportedly said.
'The decades long demons and scars the victim in this case endured ended this weekend when he was found dead by Philadelphia Police Detectives. I cannot say enough about the bravery this young man displayed in coming forward to bring these crimes to light. This young man’s courage should serve as an inspiration to us all.'
Robert Brennan, 75, is accused of sexually assaulting the deceased young man over a period of four years. Brennan is facing charges of rape, involuntary sexual intercourse and aggravated indecent assault.
A preliminary hearing for Brennan had been set for Friday, but has now reportedly been rescheduled.
Marci Hamilton, a lawyer for the family of the victim, told CBS that the victim had died on Sunday after a drug relapse.
'I have every hope that this young man did not die in vain,' she said.
According to Hamilton the victim dealt with substance issues in the years following the alleged abuse. He had reportedly gotten clean when he brought the charges and had remained so throughout the investigation.
'To see someone who had such a good heart be defeated in the end by the abuse and the cover-up, is just, it’s really devastating,' she said.
Hamilton now hopes that other victims of Brennan will come forward and seek justice.
Brennan's own defense attorney has declined to comment, but he has previously said he would fight the charges and that Father Brennan would plead not guilty.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia released the following statement:
'The Archdiocese offers its prayerful condolences to the family of this young man during this time of sadness. May he rest in the peace of the Lord and may God grant comfort to his family, friends and loved ones.'
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is expected to release a decision on the status of the prosecution next week.