Worcester Diocese named in New Mexico child sex abuse suit

  • Lawsuit focused on convicted former Diocese priest David Holley

    Chancery of the Diocese of Worcester

    The Chancery of the Diocese of Worcester (Courtesy of Worcester Sun)

    The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester is one of several named as defendants in a New Mexico lawsuit focused on child molestation committed by former priest David Holley.

    According to a story Friday in the Albuquerque Journal, the suit alleges the Diocese was among those who “allowed Holley to prey on boys within the Alamogordo parishes during his time in New Mexico in the 1970s.”

    In 1993, Holley was convicted in New Mexico of sexually abusing and raping eight boys there. According to a 2004 article in Telegram & Gazette,  he was sentenced to 55 to 275 years in prison.

    He died in 2008, according to the Journal.

    The suite, according to the Journal, “places most of the blame on Holley’s home diocese: the Diocese of Worcester in Massachusetts.”

    The Telegram & Gazette reported in 2004: “Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan in 1971 decided that one reason the Rev. David A. Holley should go into the care of Servants of the Paraclete in New Mexico or some other location operated by the order was because they would be able to find a placement for him after he completed treatment, the bishop said in a letter written at the time.”

    According to the Journal, “The Servants of the Paraclete operated a rehabilitation center initially for priests with substance abuse issues before it admitted priests with psycho-sexual disorder, which was what Holley had, according to the complaint.

    “According to the complaint, Holley and another priest, Wilfred Diamond, who also lived in the house, showed the plaintiff and other boys pornography before what the complaint terms as “sexual crimes” were committed.

    “Other allegations are that Holley took pornographic photos of boys and sexually assaulted them weekly for about three years.”

    Others named in the suit include Servants of Paraclete, the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, Diocese of Las Cruces, the Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Jude Parish, the Journal reported.

    1997, the Dallas Morning News wrote extensively about Holley in a feature headlined "Documents show bishops transferred known abuser."