Priest sexually abused me for years and N.J. diocese knew he was a danger, woman says in suit
By Anthony G. Attrino
February 28, 2020
|The Rev. Daniel F. Millard|
A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Camden accusing a priest of sexually abused her decades ago when she was a child while church officials allowed it to happen.
Patricia Cahill, 67, of Bergen County, claims the Rev. Daniel Francis Marks Millard, sexually abused her from 1957 to 1965, according to the suit, filed Feb. 4 in Camden County Superior Court.
While NJ Advance Media does not typically name victims of sexual abuse, Cahill been speaking publicly about the alleged abuse for years. The lawsuit is another in the flood of litigation against churches and other groups since a two-year window opened on Dec. 1 under a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy that expanded the amount of time that victims of sexual assault may bring a lawsuit.
The abuse began when Cahill was age 5 and ended when she was age 13, the suit alleges.
Cahill, who was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family in Ridgewood, participated in youth activities and “developed great admiration, trust, reverence, and respect” for the church and Millard, the suit states.
The diocese placed Millard “in positions where (he) had access to and worked with children as an integral part of his work,” the lawsuit states.
“(The diocese) knew or should have known that Father Millard was a danger to children before Father Millard sexually assaulted plaintiff,” the suit states.
Mike Walsh, a spokesman for the diocese, on Friday said a thorough review of Millard’s personnel file and record, along with statements from Cahill’s relatives, “prompted the conclusion that this accusation could not be determined as credible.”
However, the diocese in the past has paid for Cahill’s professional counseling. “The Diocese of Camden assists anyone who claims to have been abused to receive pastoral care and obtain counseling services, without regard to whether the claim is determined to be credible,” Walsh stated in an email.
Millard died at age 50 in 1973. According to BishopAccountability.org, Millard was moved six times from 1953 to 1969 to churches in New Jersey. His name has not appeared on the list of credibly accused clergy released a year ago.
In April 2019, Cahill told the Huffington Post that Millard’s abuse set her up for an inappropriate and sexually charged relationship with a nun who worked with a congregation based in Morris County.
The nun is not mentioned in the lawsuit. However, NorthJersey.com reported Cahill received an out-of-court-settlement from the Morris County congregation in 1994, along with a stipulation that she not discuss the case.