July 26, 2005

Catholic diocese paid for counseling for priestís niece

Telegram & Gazette


WORCESTERó A spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Camden, N.J., said yesterday the diocese paid for counseling for the woman who has asked College of the Holy Cross officials to rename the Millard Art Center because, she alleges, the center is named in honor of a priest who sexually abused her during her childhood in New Jersey.

Andrew Walton, spokesman for the diocese, said Patricia A. Cahill of Lancaster, Pa., came to them two or three years ago and made her allegation of abuse against her uncle, the Rev. Daniel F.M. Millard, who died in 1973.

Mr. Walton said the diocese responded to the allegation by paying $6,000 for counseling for the alleged abuse.

Diocesan policy, he said, on receiving an allegation involving sexual abuse of a minor by clergy is to report the allegation to law enforcement and then to remove the priest from service.

In this case, the priest had been dead for many years, he said.

Holy Cross administrators last week said that the college takes very seriously allegations of sexual abuse.

However, they declined to change the name of the art center because family members adamantly dispute the allegation and oppose the name change.

The brother of Rev. Millard, the late Charles E.F. Millard Sr., a former Holy Cross trustee, was a major contributor to the art center and was a college benefactor.

Ms. Cahill said she wanted the college to either rename the art center or at least to remove the bronze plaque that bears the priestís name and likeness.

She alleges that she was sexually abused by Rev. Millard from ages 5 to 13.

Children of Charles Millard have said there was never any hint of wrongdoing by their uncle and have questioned Ms. Cahillís motives for bringing up the allegations some 40 years after the abuse was supposed to have occurred.

Two Catholic priests in New Jersey, the Rev. Robert M. Hoatson and the Rev. Kenneth E. Lasch, a canon lawyer, said they know Ms. Cahill and believe her account.

Posted by kshaw at July 26, 2005 07:18 AM