|Abusive NM Priest
Has Parole Hearing
By Joline Gutierrez Krueger-Albuquerque Tribune Reporter
September 14, 2004
A Roman Catholic priest sentenced to 55 to 275 years in prison
for molesting eight boys got another chance at parole today.
The parole board for the Rev. David Holley made a decision
this morning, but it won't be released to the public until
Holley is notified in writing, said Cindy Aragon, chairwoman
of Holley's parole board today.
Aragon said that is standard procedure, and the decision
would likely be public by Monday.
Victims of Holley here and across the country said Monday
they planned to do everything they could to stop his parole.
"He's just a very pathetic person who preys on weak
children," said Robert Curtis, an Albuquerque lawyer
who was one of the boys Holley admitted to molesting in Alamogordo
in the early 1970s. "He's just trying to get out of jail
to do it all over again."
Holley, 77, had already been granted parole May 26, but the
decision was rescinded, and Robert Martinez, the executive
director of the New Mexico Adult Parole Board, was fired by
Gov. Bill Richardson for failing to notify Holley's victims
of the hearing.
Curtis said Holley has had five parole hearings since pleading
guilty to eight counts of molestation in 1993. Curtis said
he has been advised of only two of the hearings, including
the one today at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility
in Los Lunas.
Curtis said Monday he wouldn't miss this one.
"I get five minutes to make a statement," he said.
In those minutes, he and at least one other Alamogordo victim
likely tried to condense a lifetime of betrayal, pain and
shame caused by a man they once believed to be one of God's
"He had so much power," said Boston resident Phil
Saviano, who in 1996 settled a lawsuit against Holley for
molesting him in the 1960s at a parish in East Douglas, Mass.
"This was the guy we believed was able to perform miracles,
change wine into blood, forgive sin. He was so well-respected
by adults, I felt that I was to blame."
Holley, then the assistant pastor at St. Denis Church in
the small Massachusetts town, charmed Saviano, then 11, with
his attention, his humor and his card tricks, said Saviano,
who founded the New England chapter of Survivors Network of
Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, as a result of the abuse.
"I felt very lucky," said Saviano, who delivered
newspapers each day to the rectory just up the street from
his home. "He started very innocently with me, asking
me to stay after catechism, move a box for him, re-arrange
things in the choir loft."
Two or three months later, the deck of cards Holley pulled
out for his tricks now had black-and-white photos of naked
women on them, Saviano said. A separate deck had color photos
of couples in sexual poses, he said.
"I had not yet gone through puberty, and I was curious
to see the pictures," he said. "It was our secret.
I had absolutely no sense of what was coming next."
Discussions of sex came next, followed by what Saviano calls
very unpleasant episodes of oral sex and masturbation that
40 years later are still vivid and disturbing.
"What I still don't understand was how I couldn't explain
why I didn't want to do this; why I never had it in me to
scream and kick," he said. "I couldn't go to any
adult, my parents, my Italian Catholic family. So I kept it
to myself and tried to stay out of his way."
At least four times, records show, church officials who knew
of Holley's sexual deviance sent him for treatment at church-run
rehabilitation centers, including the Servants of the Paraclete's
West Side location in Albuquerque in 1971.
While being treated there, Holley was cleared to work weekends
at needy parishes, including St. Jude Mission in Alamogordo.
"They thought he was cured, and that's when I met him,"
Like Saviano seven years before, Curtis was an 11-year-old
paperboy living just down the street from Holley's new parish.
And, like Saviano, Curtis said Holley groomed him as a victim,
again with the deck of cards.
"Quite frankly, Father Holley is a master manipulator,"
Curtis said. "He can appear contrite, apologetic. All
through his career, he's convinced church officials that he's
OK. But he's not OK."
But state Parole Board Chairman Tim Kline said he and other
board members were convinced of Holley's remorse and satisfied
with the stringent conditions that were to have been imposed
"These were not easy conditions," said Kline, a
former Albuquerque city councilor and police officer.
Under the previous parole conditions, Holley would have to
be accepted to an intensive sex offender program at the Las
Vegas (N.M.) Medical Center. The wait could have been two
to three months, and the program itself would have lasted
from six months to a year, Kline said.
If Holley had successfully completed the program, he would
have to submit an acceptable placement plan, Kline said. Holley
would also have to wear an ankle monitor, register as a sex
offender, and refrain from being around minors or working
in a capacity that would allow him to come in contact with
minors, he said.
Kline said he and the board members who made the decision
to grant Holley's parole would not hear today's case because
of Richardson's displeasure with Martinez, the parole board's
former executive director.
Saviano said he hopes victim pressure will be enough to keep
Holley behind bars.
"If parole is granted to David Holley, thousands of
people - from victims, to police, to prosecutors - will feel
that their trust in the system has been violated," a
letter sent by SNAP to the parole board states.
SINS OF THE FATHER
1958: David Holley ordained as Roman Catholic priest.
1962-64: First assignment to Worcester Diocese, Massachusetts.
Sexual allegations arise but are not publicly addressed.
1968: Sent to Seton Psychiatric Institute in Baltimore because
of allegations related to 18-year-old male hospital patient.
1968-71: Church officials cannot find parishes willing to
accept "the possibility of his having another relapse,"
a Wilmington, Del., bishop writes.
1971: Sent to Servants of the Paraclete's Pius XII Villa
on West Side and therapy at Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque.
1972-76: Weekend ministry at St. Jude Mission Church, Alamogordo,
initially still under Paraclete care.
1975-76: Assistant pastor, St. Raphael parish, El Paso. More
1976-82: Pastor, Sacred Heart Church, McCamey, Texas. Also
associate pastor, Our Lady of the Valley, El Paso.
1979: Returns to Paraclete.
1982-84: Pastor, St. Lawrence Church, Garden City, Texas.
1984-85: Assistant pastor, St. Joseph's Church, Amarillo,
Texas. Left when accused of making advances to another priest's
nephew. Ordered back into counseling.
1985-87: Chaplain, St. Joseph's Hospital and Vista Sandia
1987-88: Assistant chaplain, St. Anthony Hospital, Denver.
Forced out after allegations of sexual incident with adult
1988: Retired, Denver.
DECEMBER 1992: Sued on allegations of molesting St. Jude
boys in Alamogordo. Checks in to St. Luke Institute in Suitland,
JANUARY 1993: Arrested on eight sexual abuse charges concerning
eight Alamogordo boys.
MARCH 1993: Pleads guilty to all eight charges.
APRIL 1993: Four Massachusetts men file suit against Worcester
Diocese for Holley's alleged abuse of them.
JUNE 4, 1993: Sentenced to from 55 to 275 years in prison
for molesting the eight Alamogordo boys.
OCT. 4, 1994: Settlement filed in Alamogordo abuse lawsuit
for undisclosed amount of money. By now, there are 17 plaintiffs.
MAY 26, 2004: Granted parole with stringent conditions after
serving 11 years; awaiting opening at a sex-offender program
in Las Vegas, N.M., when decision rescinded because victims
were not notified of the parole hearing.
TODAY: Reconvening of parole hearing in Los Lunas.
Sources: Dallas Morning News; New Mexico District Court;
Archdiocese of Denver; Phil Saviano; Robert Curtis; Boston