A retired County Antrim priest arrested for allegedly molesting a learning-disabled teenage boy in a New York public bathroom is to appear in a Long Island court next week to face sodomy charges.
Nassau County Police said former parish priest Father Andrew Millar, who is 69, was caught a three weeks ago trying to molest the 15-year-old boy inside a bathroom stall at Tobay Beach in Long Island.
Police said the boy had been enjoying a day at the beach with his family when he went to the bathroom by himself. There, they said, the boy was confronted by Millar, who then alleged sodomized the youngster.
While he waited outside, the father became concerned because his son was taking a long time to return. When the father went to investigate, he discovered the ex-priest inside the stall with his son, police said.
"The father pushed his way into the stall, Millar fled and the father caught him and called the police," said Det. Lt. Arthur McLoughlin, commanding officer of the Nassau Police Department’s Seventh Squad.
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McLoughlin said Millar has no previous arrests or criminal record.
"It seems that this was a crime of opportunity. He just happened to go in there and it happened. He wasn’t stalking this boy or hanging around," the detective said.
Millar spent the night in jail and was released on $15,000 bail after being arraigned on third-degree sodomy charges, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s office. If convicted, Millar faces up to four years in jail. The ex-priest will appear in court again on June 15 for a pre-trial hearing.
The priest’s New York attorney did not return calls seeking comment.
Ordained in Antrim in 1958, Millar moved to the U.S. in 1964. He served nine parishes in the suburban Nassau and Suffolk County areas near New York City. The priest retired last year and he was not involved in diocese education, a Rockville Centre Diocese spokeswomen said.
"This is the first time one of our priests has been arrested for a crime like this," said spokeswoman Joanne Novarro. "We’re very sad and are trying to get Fr. Millar the help he needs and reach out to the family, too," Novarro said.
Millar has left the retirement home for priests where he had been staying while he waits to enter into a mental and psychiatric evaluation unit, she said.