Father Eugene Nickol has resigned as pastor of Our Lady of the Fields in Millersville, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The action occurred last week during a meeting with archdiocesan officials concerning a recent audit of the Anne Arundel County parish’s financial and child and youth protection records, and was announced at the parish Oct. 30. According to the archdiocese, the “audit showed a lack of appropriate controls to ensure compliance” with archdiocesan policies in both areas.
Father Nickol had served as pastor of Our Lady of the Fields since 2003.
According to the statement, the audit followed an anonymous tip to the archdiocese about suspected financial improprieties.
Among the concerns noted in the audit’s findings were those related to: oversight and management of offertory funds; payments to vendors and employees; and compliance with human resources and child protection policies pertaining to safe environment training and the maintenance of required documentation for all employees and volunteers.
According the statement, Auxiliary Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski and several archdiocesan staff members met with employees and parishioners of Our Lady of the Fields at the parish Oct. 30, to announce Father Nickol’s resignation and inform them of the audit’s findings.
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore,” the statement noted, “holds responsible stewardship in the highest regard and expects that all employees of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, clerical or lay, will strictly adhere to the archdiocesan fiscal policies and practices.”
In 2006, according to the statement, the archdiocese established an “EthicsPoint” program to ensure the proper stewardship of the temporal goods of the church by providing parishioners, volunteers, employees and others with a way to confidentially report concerns about the conduct of church activities. The EthicsPoint hotline is 1-888-572-8026.
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore,” the statement added, “is committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse. We urge anyone who has any knowledge of any child sexual abuse to come forward, and to report it immediately to civil authorities.
“If clergy or other church personnel are suspected of committing the abuse, we ask that you also call the archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection Hotline at 1-866-417-7469. If you have any other information relevant to this matter, please contact the archdiocese Office of Child and Youth Protection at (410) 547-5599.”