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New Mexico Gov. Removes Parole Board Leader

By Kate Nash - Albuquerque Journal Capitol Bureau
Saturday, August 14, 2004

SANTA FE— Gov. Bill Richardson on Friday removed the executive director of the State Adult Parole Board for failing to notify victims of a parole hearing for sex-offender priest David Holley.

Executive Director Bob Martinez apologized on Thursday for failing to notify victims before the May hearing, when Holley's parole was granted. His parole has since been rescinded.

But Richardson fired Martinez on Friday, saying he was responsible for the oversight. "The Adult Parole Board's failure to notify victims about this hearing was a violation of the state constitution and a serious breach of public trust," Richardson said.

Also on Friday, State Parole Board Chairman Tim Kline defended his decision to parole Holley, saying he showed remorse for his crimes during a one-hour interview he and another board member had with him in May.

Kline, a former Albuquerque city councilor and former police lieutenant, said that he read Holley's file and became convinced that the stringent conditions placed on him were sufficient.

Holley, now 77, was sentenced in 1993 for molesting eight boys while he served as a priest at the St. Jude Mission in Alamogordo. He was sentenced to a minimum of 55 years and a maximum of 275 years for his crimes.

"With the number of restrictions we placed on him ... his age, his health, he was a (parole) candidate," Kline said.

"He talked about his remorse and the pain he had caused and how he had prayed for victims, knowing he wasn't going to be forgiven."

But Holley's victims weren't notified about his parole hearing in May, as required by law.

Kline on Friday apologized for the error. The parole board plans to hold a new hearing on Sept. 14.

"As director, Bob Martinez is accountable for the actions of the board and its employees, and this kind of error will not be tolerated," the governor said. "The public, especially crime victims, must have complete confidence in the system."

When asked for comment Friday, Martinez said "I serve at the pleasure of the governor."

Holley remains behind bars at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility near Los Lunas, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Friday.

Kline joined another board member, Lisa Enfield, in granting the parole. Enfield couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

Kline said at the time of the hearing he believed the victims had been notified and only learned of the notification error this week.

Holley's parole would have required electronic monitoring and intense supervision, Kline said, in addition to a curfew and being barred from contact with minors unless supervised.

However, Holley apparently considered the parole board's conditions too stringent. According to KOAT-TV, Holley sent a letter saying he did not want to take part in a sexual offender program.

Holley said he did not want to be electronically monitored or to be listed as a sex offender, saying those conditions "make living outside more oppressive considering my age and health."

Richardson, who has called for tougher sex-offender laws, said the board made the wrong decision.

"I'm outraged the board would grant parole to this offender given the seriousness of the crimes and the length of the original sentence," Richardson said in a statement issued Friday. "I will not stop working to ensure our criminal laws and sentences are enforced and the rights of victims are not abused or ignored."

Copyright 2004 Albuquerque Journal

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests