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Parole Rescinded for Priest

By Kate Nash
Journal Capitol Bureau
    SANTA FE— The State's Adult Parole Board is apologizing for failing to notify the victims of a parole hearing for convicted sex offender and retired priest David Holley.
    Otherwise, the board followed its regulations and procedures when it granted the parole to Holley in May, with stringent conditions, according to Bob Martinez, executive director of the board.
    The board rescinded the parole and Holley remains behind bars. It will hold a new hearing on Sept. 14 after notifying Holley's victims, Martinez said.
    Gov. Bill Richardson said Thursday he is outraged that members of the board granted Holley parole, and that they didn't notify Holley's victims about the hearing when the decision was made.
    "This sex offender was convicted, and I, like most New Mexicans, expect him to remain behind bars," Richardson said in a statement.
    Holley is being held in the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility near Los Lunas.
    Holley, 77, once a Roman Catholic priest in Alamogordo, was convicted in 1993 of crimes against eight boys. He was sentenced to a minimum of 55 years and a maximum of 275 years after pleading guilty to charges of sexual assault, sodomy and aggravated sodomy.
    Martinez said a clerical error led to Holley's victims not being notified about the hearing. He said Holley's case wasn't included on a docket attached to the board's hearing schedule for May.
    "I most emphatically apologize for the misstep of my agency. They (the victims) were not notified of the hearing," he said.
    After the decision, Martinez received calls from victims and realized something had to be done. He said he informed Richardson about the situation, and the governor urged the board to hold a new hearing. State law requires victims to be informed of an inmate's parole hearing so they can testify.
    Martinez said two members of the parole board— Tim Kline and Lisa Enfield, both of Albuquerque— met in May and decided to grant Holley parole with "very stringent conditions," including being admitted to the Sex Offender Treatment Program in Las Vegas, N.M.
    Kline and Enfield couldn't be reached for comment Thursday evening.
    In addition to 15 standard conditions of parole and 20 additional parole conditions for sex offenders, including registration, additional conditions were placed on Holley's parole, Martinez said. They include not being allowed "to wear any priestly garb" and requiring him to be tracked by a global positioning system.
    Martinez said board policy allows two members to hear a request for parole.
    Holley was denied parole annually from 1999 to 2003, Martinez said. It was unclear whether the board members who heard the case had presided over a hearing involving Holley before.
    Three different members of the nine-member board will hear the case in September, Martinez said.
    Under his sentence, Holley was eligible for a parole hearing after serving seven years behind bars, Martinez said. Holley was sentenced under the state's old indeterminate sentencing laws, which apply to people who committed crimes before 1978, regardless of the year of conviction.
    Holley molested boys from 1972 to 1974 while he served at the St. Jude Mission Church, according to news accounts from 1993.
    Martinez emphasized that Holley isn't going anywhere and that the Corrections Department is waiting to hear whether he will be accepted to the Sex Offender Treatment Program in Las Vegas. If not, Martinez said, the department would have to come up with another plan.
    "He would have waited until Vegas made a determination on whether he was admitted. If they denied it, another plan would have been developed ... . He wouldn't have been a danger to the public."
    Donald Montoya, program director of the sex offender treatment center, said his office on Aug. 6 received information on Holley and would begin reviewing it to see whether he would qualify to be admitted to the inpatient facility.