July 22, 2005

Holy Cross not renaming center

Telegram & Gazette


WORCESTER— The College of the Holy Cross will not change the name of the Millard Art Center on campus, a college spokeswoman said yesterday.

Patricia A. Cahill, a Lancaster, Pa., resident and the niece of the late Rev. Daniel E.F. Millard, a 1947 Holy Cross graduate for whom the building is named, alleged in an interview this week that her uncle sexually abused her when she was between the ages of 5 and 13. She said the abuse occurred during the 1950s while she was growing up in New Jersey.

The art center, which opened in 1993, was built in Rev. Millard’s honor through a bequest from his brother, the late Charles Millard Sr., who served as a college trustee. Marylou Millard Ferrara, Charles Millard’s daughter, said this week that she and her seven siblings never saw any hint of sexual misconduct by her uncle and they don’t believe Ms. Cahill’s accusations.

Ellen M. Ryder, college spokeswoman, said the college understands “that any allegation of sexual abuse must be taken seriously. We have been in touch with Ms. Cahill and members of the family of Charlie Millard, who donated the funds to renovate and name the art center.

“The family disputes the claim and opposes the name change,” Ms. Ryder added. “Given what we know in this case, the name of the campus building will not be changed.”

Two Catholic priests said yesterday they know Ms. Cahill and believe her.

Holy Cross should live up to its “honored name” and hear Ms. Cahill’s case, said the Rev. Kenneth E. Lasch of New Jersey, a church canon lawyer who has been a consultant to Ms. Cahill. “I am confident in the truthfulness of Patricia Cahill’s testimony.”

The Rev. Robert M. Hoatson, also of New Jersey, founder and president of Rescue & Recovery International Inc., said he also believes Ms. Cahill’s allegations.

“She has bravely confronted the effects of her abuse …” the priest said.

Posted by kshaw at July 22, 2005 07:57 AM