Father Donald Mills
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Leave of Absence: 1999-2006
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Donald Mills:
Father Donald Mills’ name was not disclosed in the 2005 grand jury report, nor does it appear on any list of credibly accused priests published by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. His name first surfaced during the criminal prosecution of Msgr. William Lynn, the former Secretary for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in 2011.
In 1996, another priest raised concerns about “troubling conduct” by Mills at the time he was supposed to be transferred to a new parish, St. Andrew, in Newton. The priest, who was already assigned at St. Andrew, had heard “disturbing information” about Mills and was concerned about his danger to people in the parish – and that most of that information had come from fellow priests, including Mills’ former pastor. The priest, who testified during the criminal trial of Msgr. William Lynn, the former Secretary for Clergy, said that he was punished for speaking up about Mills. He says Lynn dismissed the reports as “hearsay” and “rumors,” and recommended that the priest raising the concerns be disciplined.
Cardinal Bevilacqua, then the Archbishop of Philadelphia, ordered the priest to apologize for questioning his placement decisions and then sent the priest on a two-week retreat to reflect upon his disobedience and “ruining the reputation of Father Mills.” He almost lost his pastorate. He would not be given any more associate priests to assist in his busy parish, only a seminary student. The priest then waited 15 years before he was promoted to Monsignor, much longer than many of his seminary classmates and most other parish pastors. Lynn reportedly told him at the time of his promotion, “everybody deserves to get out of the penalty box at some point.”
Mills went to a new assignment, albeit not at the same parish as the priest who reported concerns, in 1996. His ministry was unrestricted.
In 1997, he was transferred to another parish, where the pastor soon raised concerns (more than once) that Mills was engaging in inappropriate sexual relationships with adult parishioners.
In 2005, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received a report from a man who said he was sexually abused as a child by Mills in 1982. As Mills’ name does not appear on any list of credibly accused priests published by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, it would seem the Archdiocese’s internal review board deemed the allegation untrue.
Mills died in 2006 of cancer. He remained a priest in good standing at the time of his death.
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