News From


Diocese Settles Molestation Case; Victim Retains Right to Speak

Telegram & Gazette, May 11, 1996

A Jamaica Plain man who accused a local priest of sexually molesting him has accepted a settlement offer from the Worcester Diocese.

Philip Saviano, 44, said the settlement was for $12,500 and that he will receive 60 percent of that.

Saviano said he had been offered $3,000 more but refused to accept the terms of that settlement because it included the stipulation that he no longer talk publicly about the case.

The accused priest, Rev. David A. Holley, 68, was a priest at St. Denis Church in East Douglas when the alleged offense occurred.

Holley is serving a 275-year prison term in New Mexico stemming from a conviction involving sexually abused children at the St. Jude Mission Catholic Church in that state. He was a priest in the Worcester Diocese from 1958 to 1969.

Saviano was the last remaining plaintiff in a civil suit filed against Holley three years ago. He alleges Holley made him perform oral sex in the church basement.

The diocese had been adamant as recently as last October that no settlement would be offered without a confidentiality provision.

In an Oct. 12 letter to Saviano's attorney, Joseph E. Boyland of Boston, diocese attorney Frank S. Puccio wrote, "if he chooses to maintain his position, a condition of our offer has not been satisfied and Mr. Saviano can try his case."

"The end result," Saviano said, "is that the diocese has finally agreed to drop all confidentiality provisions and I have, reluctantly, agreed to settle the case out of court."

Diocesan Communications Director Raymond Delisle refused to confirm or deny the settlement figure or whether a settlement had been reached.

"I'm in no position to make a comment on this," Delisle said. "The diocese has no comment."

Saviano, who suffers from AIDS, has maintained that the monetary figure was not as important as his being able to retain his right to talk about what happened.

He said he is being treated for his condition.

"I've made a rather dramatic recovery after being seriously ill for several months last year. I've been back to work and to the gym for a few months now," he said.

"The new drugs really do work, although for how long is anybody's guess," he said.

Copyright (c) 1996 Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp.

Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests