September 14, 2004
Priest To Go Before Parole Board
The Associated Press
LOS LUNAS A former Roman Catholic priest convicted of molesting eight boys was scheduled to go before the New Mexico Parole Board Tuesday.
David Holley admitted to molesting the boys in Alamogordo in the early 1970s and pleaded guilty in 1993 to eight counts of molestation.
He was sentenced to 275 years in prison. He is serving the sentence at the geriatric unit of the minimum-security state prison at Los Lunas.
Holley, 77, was granted parole May 26, but the decision was rescinded because victims were not notified of the hearing or parole.
Gov. Bill Richardson removed Bob Martinez as director of the Parole Board over the board's failure to notify victims of the hearing.
Richardson said the board violated the state constitution and breached the public trust.
Robert Curtis, an Albuquerque attorney who was one of the victims in Alamogordo, said he planned to testify before the parole board Tuesday along with at least one other victim.
"He's just a very pathetic person who preys on weak children," Curtis said of Holley.
Curtis said Holley has had five parole hearings since 1993. Curtis said he has only been advised of two hearings.
"He had so much power," said Phil Saviano of Boston, who in 1996 settled a lawsuit against Holley for molesting him in the 1960s in 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."
Saviano founded the New England chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP.
He said the relationship started very innocently. Holley began showing the 11-year-old card tricks and asking him to help move boxes.
Then the cards used for tricks had black-and-white photos of naked women on them. Then there was a deck of cards with photos of couples in sexual positions.
Saviano said it eventually led to episodes of sexual abuse.
"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," he said.
While being treated at the Servants of the Paraclete in New Mexico in 1971, Holley was cleared to work weekends at needy parishes. St. Jude Mission in Alamogordo was one of those parishes.
"They thought he was cured, and that's when I met him," Curtis said.
Curtis said Holley also used the decks of cards to introduce him to the abuse.
Tim Kline, Parole Board chairman, said he and other board members were convinced of Holley's remorse and satisfied that stringent conditions were to have been imposed.
Under the previous parole conditions, Holley would have to be accepted to a six-month intensive sex offender program at the Las Vegas Medical Center. Holley also would have had to wear an ankle monitor, register as a sex offender and refrain from being around minors.