Niece: Uncle-Priest a Pedophile
Woman Wants HC Center Renamed
By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette [Worcester MA]
July 19, 2005
WORCESTER— A Lancaster, Pa., woman has asked officials at the College of the Holy Cross to rename the Millard Art Center, alleging that the priest it was dedicated to was a pedophile.
Patricia A. Cahill told the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., college president, that the late Rev. Daniel F.M. Millard, who was her uncle, sexually abused her as a child. Rev. Millard, who died about 30 years ago, was a 1947 graduate of Holy Cross.
Ms. Cahill, 52, said yesterday that she was sexually abused by the priest, who at the time weighed 500 pounds, from the time she was 5 until she was 13. She said the abuse occurred at home and in Catholic churches in New Jersey.
Marylou Millard Ferrara, daughter of Rev. Millard's brother, Charles E.F. Millard, said last night that her cousin's allegations are completely untrue. She said that after she learned of the accusations she contacted her seven brothers and sisters, who all agreed that Ms. Cahill's complaint was baseless.
"The family is quite sympathetic (to Ms. Cahill), but we believe this is a matter best addressed in a psychiatrist's office, not in a newspaper," said Mrs. Ferrara, a Hopewell, N.J., resident. "It's a very sad situation."
She said she is about five years younger than her cousin and that she never saw or heard of anything suspicious concerning her uncle's relationship with Ms. Cahill. She was 15 or 16 years old when Rev. Millard died, she said.
Ms. Cahill said she reported the abuse to the Camden, N.J., Diocese within the last three years and met with diocesan officials. No action was taken by the diocese, Ms. Cahill said.
Ms. Cahill said in a telephone interview yesterday that she questioned Bishop Joseph Gallante, of the Camden Diocese, on whether he considered Rev. Millard to be a priest "from the waist up" and to be her uncle "from the waist down."
"We have no reason to question what she is saying." said Ellen M. Ryder, spokeswoman for Holy Cross. College administrators are taking her request "very seriously," Ms. Ryder said yesterday. She added that there have been discussions, but no decisions have been made regarding the art center.
Mrs. Ferrara, however, said it was Rev. McFarland who yesterday informed her of her cousin's allegations. The college president strongly suggested that very little credence was being given to the complaint, she said.
Rev. McFarland could not be contacted for comment last night.
The Millard Art Center was dedicated in 1993 and the building contains a bronze plaque bearing the name and a likeness of Rev. Millard. A major benefactor was Mrs. Ferrara's father, Charles Millard of the class of 1954. The former president, CEO and chairman of the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New York died in 2003 after a lengthy term as a Holy Cross trustee. Holy Cross Magazine, in marking his death, noted that Mr. Millard was a "generous benefactor" to the college.
Ms. Cahill said other allegations of sexual abuse involving Rev. Millard have been made, but she declined to discuss them. In a July 8 letter to Rev. McFarland she referred to Rev. Millard as "a serial pedophile."
She said in the interview that Charles Millard wanted the building dedicated to his brother because in traditional Catholic families it was an honor to have a family member in the priesthood.
"One of the first things that I wish to be addressed is the bronze plaque at the entrance of the Millard Art Center that prominently displays the caricature of Father Millard. This plaque should never have been installed and must never again be viewed by Holy Cross students, staff and supporters who claim to pursue the ideals of Catholic education in the Jesuit tradition," Ms. Cahill told the college president. She also asked that the name of the building be changed.
Ms. Cahill said she remained silent about the abuse for years, but finally has decided to start speaking about it. She said she is helped by her "support network" of friends and others who have helped her come to grips with what happened.
When the girl decided to seek help, she went to a member of the Sisters of Charity who also allegedly abused her. The religious order made an out-of-court settlement with Ms. Cahill.
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