November 03, 2005

Holy Cross protest resumes

Telegram & Gazette


WORCESTER— Several members of a Boston-based group called Speak Truth to Power joined the Rev. Robert M. Hoatson yesterday in another demonstration outside the gates of the College of the Holy Cross in their quest to have the name of the Millard Art Center changed.

Rev. Hoatson, a Catholic priest in the Newark, N.J., Diocese, is representing Patricia A. Cahill of Lancaster, Pa., who said she was sexually abused as a child by the priest for whom the center is named. She said the late Daniel F.M. Millard, her uncle, abused her. The Diocese of Camden, N.J., agreed to pay for counseling after she reported the abuse to officials there.

Rev. Hoatson said that Ms. Cahill received a personal apology from Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden for the abuse.

The Millard family, which was responsible for the art center, has steadfastly denied the allegations made against Rev. Millard, and Holy Cross has declined to make the name change. The family of Rev. Millard is being joined in its defense of the late priest by Frank Marshall Sr. of Tiverton, R.I., who was Rev. Millard’s roommate at Holy Cross.

The Millard family has also found another ally in the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., a nationally-known priest who is active in peace and social justice issues.

Rev. Hoatson, president of Rescue & Recovery International, said he believes Ms. Cahill was abused by Rev. Millard and supports her quest to have the name of the center changed. He has vowed to hold regular demonstrations outside of the college gates until the name is changed.

Ruth Moore of Hull, who is active with Speak Truth to Power, organized a small group to come out from the Boston area to support Ms. Cahill and Rev. Hoatson. Joined by Paul Kellen of Medford, Eileen Doherty of Hingham and Richard Arroreo of Boston, she said they have been traveling around the Northeast to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse. They recently demonstrated in Albany, N.Y., and have been to Portland, Maine, and Manchester, N.H.

The group was started in 2002 to demonstrate at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston after the sexual abuse scandal erupted there. George “Skip” Shea of Uxbridge, who is active with Worcester Voice of the Faithful, also joined the group, along with Mary T. Jean of Leominster, who runs the Worcester Voice Web site.

“Business As Usual Means more Abused Children,” read the sign held by Mr. Kellen. He said the church needs to do more to ensure the safety of children.

Mr. Marshall said his friendship with the late Rev. Millard goes back to the 1940s when they were classmates at St. Joseph High School in Paterson, N.J. They both went on to Holy Cross and were roommates, he said. “When you share a room with a man for two years you get to know him pretty well,” Mr. Marshall said.

Mr. Marshall said he never heard “even a hint” that Rev. Millard abused girls until reading news articles about it beginning last July when Ms. Cahill announced that she wanted the art center name changed.

He said Rev. Millard was a member of “a prominent New Jersey family” who was “accustomed to the good things in life.” But after ordination he asked to be assigned to a ghetto parish in Camden, N.J., Mr. Marshall said. He added that when the priest died in 1972 after 21 years the churches were filled with people for his wake and funeral. “How could a man labeled ‘serial pedophile’ by one of his detractors ever have inspired such love and respect? It’s simply not in the cards,” he said.

Rev. Berrigan told Rev. Hoatson by letter that “a knowledgeable and trusted friend” from Camden investigated the allegations. “He could find nothing of what you are pleased to call ‘Daniel’s abusive nature,’ ” he told Rev. Hoatson.

Posted by kshaw at November 3, 2005 06:34 AM